Start/End Point: Coach Station, Forster Street, Galway city.
Duration: Approximately 1 hour 5 minutes
Elevation: 55.1 feet
Terrain: Flat and mostly suitable for people of all abilities (no access to the beach forthose with disabilities).
Surface: Mainly Paved or tarmac with trail to beach rocky and rough.
Parking: Public transport is advisable to get to/from the Coach Station, but ample car parking is available at the Coach Station
Toilets: Available at the Coach Station; no toilets available along the route.
This loop of Lough Atalia is a beautiful hour-long walk that brings you into contact with many aspects of the blue and green of nature, beginning and ending in the city centre. While most of the walk has very little elevation and is ideal for those of all abilities, there is one segment of the trail, leading onto Dead Man’s Beach, which is currently gated and unsuitable for those with mobility difficulties or disabilities. The walk around the Lough itself is paved and suitable for all abilities.
The walk begins at the Coach Station on Forster Street, a short distance from Eyre Square and the main train and bus station in the city. This makes it an ideal walk for those waiting for these transport options and have the time to explore a hidden natural environment in the heart of the city. Leaving the entrance to the Coach Station, walk south-easterly and carefully cross the busy Lough Atalia Road at the traffic lights. In addition to a pathway along the edge of the Lough, many walkers find themselves on the grass verges closer to the water where a variety of seabirds can be observed all along the shoreline. Just a short distance walk along the edge of the Lough, the St Augustine’s Holy Well is celebrated by locals for its healing power, in particular for those with eye problems. As the holy well is situated in a tidal zone, at times it may be hard to locate at full tide.
Walking further along the shoreline, a feature of this end of Lough Atalia are the traditional plots that many local people used to grow their own vegetables and other produce over many years. In more recent times and in some places, this has given way to a variety of exotic trees and flowers that continue to be maintained by the community in this area. A short distance away is the first of two children’s playgrounds on this trail.
Continuing along the walkway, at the north end of the Lough an abundance of silver birch trees is evident on your left and the wild shoreline expands to the right. The local community college at Moneengisha (Móinín na gCiseach) have begun a significant rewilding project on this south-western shoreline of the Lough. Continuing down along the Lough walkway, behind the Department of Defence, under the railway line and at the edge of Dun Ui Mhaoliosa (Renmore Military Barracks), a locked gate prevents those with mobility difficulties entry to the trail to Dead Man’s Beach.
Dead Man’s Beach is one of Galway’s hidden gems with great views of Galway Bay and is the site of a training school for sailing for young people. Continuing along the beach and shoreline, the walker enters the docks area with views of Nimos Pier and the Claddagh, and Galway Bay and the Burren in Co Clare. This is also a great site to spot seabirds amongst the activities of a busy docks area. Walking through the docks and back to Eyre Square and the Coach Station, watch out for Forthill Cemetery and other signs of a heritage that goes back to the 15th century.
Click here to access the MapMyWalk trail map.
Note: The author of this trail is Mike Hynes. He has called the route after his beloved dog who died the month (July 2021) it was posted on our website. This was Belle’s regular walk.