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Everything We Love About Bearna, Co. Galway

Thinking of heading West? Where you can live life at a different pace, in a place of inspiring natural beauty and a real sense of community, but also close to one of the most vibrant cities in the country?

A place where you really can have the best of both worlds: the tranquillity of coastal village-living alongside more of that increasingly rare modern commodity – time – married with the bountiful and bustling offerings of Galway city, just 9km away. If so, the charming village of Barna is your answer.

With a cosy little population of 2,000, Bearna (or Barna) has all your immediate needs covered: a well-stocked SuperValu, bakery, fish market (its fresh local fish will have you hooked!), health food store, pharmacies, hair and beauty salons as well as several cafes, pubs and award-winning restaurants. O’Grady’s on the Pier and Donnelly’s are renowned for their seafood and exceptionally good chowder, while Mulberry’s offers excellent family-friendly fare. If you’re looking for a tasty breakfast, a mid-day bite or a sweet treat and coffee, the cheerfully decorated Nourish cafe will simply knock your socks off. Also, The Twelve in the heart of Barna is a contemporary four-star boutique hotel that was meticulously designed by a local developer with the local neighbourhood in mind, and even welcomes pets.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The sandy beach of Silverstrand, with its safe shallow waters, rockpools and compact size, is ideal for young families and offers striking views of Galway Bay and out over the Atlantic. All you need are a couple of buckets and spades, along with a picnic, and the children will be entertained for hours. Often, it’s the simple pleasures which bring the most joy. And, of course, there is nothing like a stroll along the shore, and an invigorating sea breeze, to clear the head. It really is one of nature’s greatest, soul-reviving therapies. Being located on the Wild Atlantic Way, you’ll find no shortage of beautiful coastal attractions to explore. Salthill, with its long promenade, beaches and bustling village is just a stone’s throw away.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you, occasionally, tire of sand in your shoes (and car) or just feel like a change of terrain, you can head to Barna Woods for a ramble through its criss-crossing paths, and where the last natural growing oaks in the west of Ireland are to be found. A wide variety of flora and fauna thrive in the woodland, making for interesting chatter with the kids. They can also keep their eyes peeled for the little fairies that have been spotted fluttering about close to the holy well, near the entrance to the wood. After exploring the forest, trot across the coast road to Lough Rusheen – something of a birdwatching sanctuary. At the end of summer, a large flock of migrating sandwich terns gather before travelling south to Africa.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If golf is your bag, Bearna Golf Club, built on Connemara moorland, and overlooking Galway Bay, the Clare hills, the Burren and the Aran Islands, will not disappoint. Utmost attention to detail went into the course design, striving to respect and showcase the ancient natural environs, heritage and folklore of its expansive 250 acres.

If you’re an equine enthusiast, it really doesn’t get much better than Connemara!  Clifden, just over an hour away, is synonymous with the region’s very own iconic breed – the handsome Connemara Pony.  The Connemara Pony Festival takes place in August and is well worth the visit, in addition to seeing the animals up close and personal you’ll find arts and crafts, Irish dancing, and a traditional market on the streets of Clifden.  And, if you fancy a flutter on the horses and a great day (or two) out, then the annual Galway Races in Ballybrit is not to be missed.

Galway city hosts a multitude of wonderful festivals throughout the year, most notably, the Galway Arts Festival and Film Fleadh, the Oyster Festival, the Comedy Festival, the Cúirt International Festival of Literature, the Babaró Arts Festival for Children and the Macnas Halloween Festival.  The rich cultural scene of the city is perhaps its biggest draw; little wonder that Galway was nominated the European Capital of Culture for 2020. Its long musical tradition resonates throughout the cobbled streets of the Latin Quarter and Quay Street, pouring out of its timeworn pubs, be it live trad, rock or country gigs.  St Nicholas’ Church hosts concerts for a wide range of genres and civic carol services at Christmastime.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Town Hall and Black Box Theatres stage an extensive and interesting mix of theatre, concerts, dance, comedy, film and family entertainment.  And the Galway City Museum incorporates a gallery space with a history museum exploring themes of archaeology, history and seafaring.   

Finally, when it comes to Galway’s cafes, restaurants and bars there is something for each and every palate.

When you’ve had your fill of the city, simply head back to Bearna and the soothing murmurs of the sea.  There is no place like home, all the more so when home is a dream come true. For more information about An Maolán home view our houses and site plan

The comfort of home....

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