Situated on the edge of Connemara and mere minutes from Galway city, Glenlo Abbey is still a world away from the everyday, seamlessly blending history with contemporary elegance in a haven of 5-star luxury. Glenlo Abbey is nestled in 138 acres of grounds, with beautifully maintained lawns, historical walled gardens and stunning views of the surrounding landscape and Lough Corrib. There are plenty of amenities and activities to be enjoyed around the estate itself, but for those looking to add a bit of culture and adventure to their itinerary, the Connemara countryside and the vibrant Galway city are both right on your doorstep.
Here, we’ve put together 6 experiences to be enjoyed during your stay at Glenlo Abbey. For some, you won’t even have to leave the grounds of the hotel while, for others, adventure awaits a little further afield. To appreciate the best of Glenlo and Galway, we recommend a 3 day stay, which will also allow for plenty of peaceful rest and relaxation.
Unique Experiences to enjoy at Glenlo Abbey Hotel
Take a Culinary Journey
The most famous train in the world has travelled throughout history, film and literature to finally come to rest in the grounds of Glenlo Abbey Hotel. The Pullman Restaurant is set aboard two original carriages from the Orient Express. Beautifully restored and in keeping with the aesthetic and ambiance of the original train, with gleaming mahogany panelling, white lace curtains and gentle background music of the time.
Guests can step aboard and dine in style, looking out over the serene Irish countryside and Lough Corrib. This must be one of the most unique dining experiences in the country, but if you were worried that the food couldn’t possibly live up to the dramatic setting, you can put those fears to bed. A 5-star team have worked to create a menu that showcases the finest local ingredients, served alongside a stellar wine list.
Whatever the Weather
There’s something undeniably romantic about the turbulent weather on Ireland’s west coast, particularly if you're cuddled up comfortably indoors while the wind howls outside.
Rain is a probability rather than an inevitability in Ireland, but should the sky suddenly darken during your stay at Glenlo Abbey, rest assured that there are more than enough activities to keep you entertained indoors, and maybe even make you glad that you can’t venture out. The Glenlo Abbey private movie theatre has a wonderful selection of Irish films and classics, including, of course, Murder on the Orient Express.
Sink into plush velvet chairs and lose sense of place and time for a few hours in the cosy surroundings of this luxury, intimate screening room.
A Bird in the Hand
Ireland’s history of falconry dates back hundreds of years to the arrival of the Normans in the 12th century. While the sport of falconry originally involved using highly trained birds of prey to hunt wild game, today the attraction of the sport lies in the experience of close contact with these magnificent natural predators. For guests looking for a cultural and awe-inspiring experience, make sure to make time for Glenlo Abbey’s exhilarating falconry experience.
Taking place within the walled gardens, which are something to behold in themselves, an expert guide will be on hand as you get up-close and personal with Amber the Indian Eagle Owl, Brianne the European Eagle Owl, Ghost the Golden Barn Owl, Odin the Golden Eagle, Seamus and Franz Ferdinand the Harris Hawks, and Angel the Gyr Falcon. Each of these stunning birds has its own personality and its own unique skills and hunting style.
Glenlo Abbey Hotel is open year-round. Call directly on + 353 91 519600 for more information and bookings, or visit https://www.irelands-blue-book.ie/houses.html/glenlo
3 Unforgettable Experiences you won’t want to miss in County Galway
Sounds of the City
Make sure to take some time to visit the colourful bohemian city of Galway, a true hot bed of Irish charm and culture. Stop and enjoy the buskers and street performers along Shop Street, or get your toes tapping to some traditional Irish music at one of the many pubs and bars. Head for the city’s Latin Quarter, and you’re sure to hear the rhythmic beat of the Bodhrán and the lively tones of the Uilleann Pipes permeating from a pub doorway or two.
Head further up the coast to the Salthill Promenade and clear away the cobwebs with a brisk walk or stop in to one of the many cafés or bars.
Connemara is famous worldwide for its dramatic beauty. The Connemara region itself includes most of western County Galway, extending northwards towards County Mayo, but to see the landscape at its best, head an hour north of Glenlo Abbey to Connemara National Park. The Park comprises 2000 hectares of mountains, bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodland.
Head out on one of the various marked trails or organise a guided tour and learn more about the history of the region. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the herd of Connemara ponies that call the park home.
An Island Adventure
A visit to the Aran Islands, made up of Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr, is the perfect opportunity to experience an unspoiled Ireland, where cars are rarely seen, the Irish language is commonly heard, and sheep are in abundance!
Take the short ferry journey over from Rossaveel in Galway or Doolin Co. Clare and on arrival, rent a bicycle to see the best of what each island has to offer.
On Inis Mór, the largest of the island trio, make sure to visit the Worm Hole and the Clifftop Fort. Go seal spotting at the lookout, and visit the old church ruins
On Inis Oírr, take a pony and trap tour with a local guide – one way to ensure a wealth of information on the island and its history. Visit the shipwreck, O’Brien’s castle, and climb down into the sunken church, a ruin from medieval times.
Inis Meain is the least visited of the Aran Islands, but if you fancy getting even more off the beaten trail, then this might be considered an added bonus. The main village consists of one pub, one church and one shop. There are numerous secluded trails to traverse, ocean views to enjoy and wonderfully preserved stone forts and church ruins to explore.