Weekend Adventures: Brigit’s Garden and Galway Atlantaquaria
Poster: Jamie Costello
The sun’s out, it’s a Sunday and it doesn’t look like it’s going to rain any time soon; this opportunity is a bit of a rarity. So… what to do? (It’s not like we get much practice at this)
Well, along with my friends Natalie and Wesley, we decided to make the most of the weather and spend the afternoon at Brigit’s Garden in Roscahill. This is a not-for-profit project created for the benefit of the community. It’s a trail through THE most beautiful and well maintained Celtic inspired gardens. The gardens themselves follow the story of the Celtic seasonal cycle which inspires visitors to unearth their imagination and perceive the beauty of this place beyond the tangible alone.
Although Brigit’s Garden hosts special events and interactive tours, we opted to grab a map and go exploring. The gardens are a mix of Celtic inspiration and contemporary flourish. Between the wide open spaces, where Ireland’s largest sun-dial resides, are childhood nostalgia inducing secret passageways through forests and foliage with secret fairy doors hidden in amongst the trees.
This setting suits all ages, from adults taking the weight off on benches by the lake to kids exploring through little “child-made” (as opposed to man-made) trails chicaning through the overgrowth. Exclusive sun-traps scattered around the gardens make for perfect viewing points to relax and take in the scenery.
My favourite little capsule of tranquillity was the garden based around the month of May. A kaleidoscope of colour hits you as you enter. The flowers and foliage accent each-other as the trees seem to have a life of their own. On closer inspection we discovered the blossoming leaves were something even more impressive.
When we found ourselves back at the visitor centre after our little expedition, someone suggested sampling the restaurant/café at Brigit’s Garden, it was a no-brainer. While we waited, we took a stroll through the gift shop and came across some little delights. A very cute little shop!
The food was fresh, colourful and organic with ingredients from the garden being made full use of. We dined al fresco on the patio while the sun was still shining. Our bellies full, we relaxed for a few short minutes before we slowly but surely made our way to back to the car, pretty content with having spent our afternoon outside and active in this beautiful setting.
Heading back to Salthill and feeling somewhat adventurous after our little escapade, strolling along the famous Prom we took a short detour across the road into Ireland’s largest aquarium, Galway Atlantaquaria.
With over 170 marine and freshwater species, Galway Atlantaquaria offers a hands-on experience allowing visitors to join in on guided tours. From feeding the hungry fishies to holding starfish and spider crabs in the palms of our hands it was an occurrence we considered ourselves pretty lucky to have experienced. A heads up about the splash pool just in side the door also, it definitely gave us quite the shock upon entry, in a good way!
The array of fish on show is impressive from the friendly looking eels to the beautiful koi fish to the more menacing looking creatures and even the fish that try not to be seen at all . The setting of the tanks and surroundings has some gems in there too!
Once you’ve seen all the real-life and living creatures, look up! Something that took me much longer to notice than it should have was the mammoth fin whale skeleton suspended right above my head. Claiming the entire airspace above on the first floor this spectacle gives you a real feel of the relative size of this enormous behemoth (and how easily it could swallow you)!
Something else for the kids is the audio visual room, a cute little den where movies like “Finding Nemo” are shown on the big screen. Parents and older ones can relax in the Arabica Coffee House or take a nosey around the gift shop.
Being from Galway I think we take these sorts of places for granted. We seem to consider them tourist attractions and not something locals are overly interested in. It’s almost as if we know what they are all about just because we live in the surrounding areas. They are tourist attractions, because, they are ATTRACTIONS! I’ll definitely be opening my eyes to more local activities and visiting with a more open mind in the future. Galway is full of little charms like these.
Jamie Costello is a Sales & Marketing Executive at Galway Bay Hotel.