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#1. Coole Park
Entry to Coole Park is free and if you can convince your teen to go with you, it is a lovely day out for all the family.
The grounds are open to the public all year round and admission is free. There are nature walks through the forest on marked trails of different lengths, a walled garden that is perfect for picnics and deer in an enclosure. There are also lots of literary references so if they like their English class at school, or are in an exam year, this might interest them, especially the ‘autograph tree’, on which Lady Gregory invited her many famous literary guests to carve their initials.
There is also a tea rooms and information centre which is open seasonally, showing the history of Coole Park and Lady Gregory.
#2. River Bank & City Museum
You could visit the Galway City Museum, which is completely free. The museum has three floors of exciting exhibitions engaging visitors in the archaeology, history and sea science of Galway.
There is wall-to-wall culture and there are great views of the Claddagh from the upper floors. Down stairs there’s a cafe for post visit reward/bribery.
Getting to and from the museum there is a river bank walk which takes you from the museum all the way along by the river Corrib (keep the river on your left) and up to the Cathedral Church which is pretty impressive inside and worth a look.
#3. Corrib Princess
Hop on the Corrib Princess, which departs from Woodquay in the city centre (seasonal) and tour the Corrib river and lake.
See what Galway looks like from the water as you pass by the university on the left and go up towards the ruin at Menlo on the right. You can show them the NUIG student accommodation as you go past – it might inspire them to study harder so that they can leave home and live there!
Watch out for university rowers, swans nesting, salmon swimming or just watch the world go by!
#4. Galway playgrounds
Galway has dozens of great playgrounds for children of all ages, including older children.If you’re in the city centre you can pay a visit to the Millenium Park near the Cathedral. There is a skateboarding area for the older kids and you can watch others do their thing, even if you’re not taking part.
Doughiska Playground caters very well for older kids with a skate park, basketball courts and a large playing pitch, as well as a fitness circuit around the outside.
#5. Catch a Movie
Who doesn’t like a trip the cinema? You can go together as a family with kids of different ages if you pick something that’s age appropriate.
And if you have a surly teenager then just two of you going together is a good option. You can sit together for a couple of hours without a row! And afterwards you can discuss it, which might open up the lines of communication!!
Galway has a good selection of cinemas with the Eye Cinema, and the IMC Cinemas in Galway and Oranmore.
#6. Salthill Promenade
Join visitors and locals alike and take a stroll along the Promenade at Salthill. You can find your own way or follow our Family Trails.
There are several beaches to visit, views across to Clare and of course you can ‘kick the wall’ at the end of the prom in a time honoured tradition! If the weather is any way nice, the diving board at Blackrock is thronged with teens in the summer time, all jumping in or working on their tans!
If your teen is interested in science, you can also take in a trip to the National Aquarium and get some hands on experience with the fish!
Related: Family Walks Galway
#7. Go Shopping
Galway has a wealth of places for your teen to go shopping. The city centre is nicely compact with a great mix of interesting and quirky shops as well as the bigger names like Pennys, Topshop, New Look etc. There are a couple of great vintage stores for some unique fashion, such as Public Romance on Abbeygate Street. If your teen is into music, OMG Zhivago on Shop Street has a great record store in the back.
#8. Connemara National Park
In the heart of Connemara, the Connemara National Park is well worth the drive. If you have an teen who likes the outdoors, they will love it.
Admission to the Park is free. There’s lots to see and explore. Exhibition on the Connemara Landscape (multi-lingual), Audio Visual Show (multi-lingual), Connemara Ponies, Picnic Areas (indoor and outdoor), Nature Trails, Diamond Hill Walks, toilets, tea rooms and there is an excellent playground on the grounds too!
Nearby there are several lovely beaches to walk on, or the Avoca shop is a 5 minute drive if you want to reward yourself with a treat after all your walking.
If your teen is a history lover, then you should make the quick trip on the motorway to Athenry. With a restored castle, a playground and a ruined monastery all within 100 yards of each other, there’s loads to be discovered.
This lovely old walled market town has loads of history and the castle is well worth a visit – the ‘toilet’ inside the castle is a source of great amusement for kids of all ages.
After tiring themselves out finding out about the history of the town, they can dress up in medieval costume and try archery at the Athenry Heritage Centre.
#10. Galway Beaches
You’re never too old for the beach, and as a coastal county Galway has no shortage of beautiful beaches.
Whether it’s a city beach like the one in Salthill, or somewhere remote and quiet like Connemara, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Find a road that runs along by the sea and keep driving – it won’t be long until you find a beach you like! Pack up a picnic (or better still, get your teen to make it) and hit the road.
Related: Top Galway Beaches
#11. Try Some Watersports
Galway city is surrounded by water, with the sea on one side and Lough Corrib on the other, as well as numerous rivers and canals. As such, there is no shortage of water sports for your teen to try out!
Learn to canoe or kayak with Corrib Canoe Courses, or go scuba diving at Galway Dive School! Galway Bay Sailing Club is open to all ages and skill levels. At Rusheen Bay Windsurfing, your teen can try out a range of amazing water sports.
You might like to try some adventure sports with your teen, or even just going for a swim in the sea or in one of the many local pools, such as Leisureland or the Connacht Hotel, might be just what you need.
#12. Pick Up A Book
Visit your local library. The majority of the libraries in Galway have a teen section. Great for a rainy afternoon and sometimes there are free events and activities that take place. Check out library opening times before you make plans.
Charlie Byrne’s bookshop in Galway city is loved by everyone and you can get lost in there for quite some time (both literally and mentally!). They also have a book warehouse in Oranmore near City Limits which is open on Saturdays
#13. Arts and Crafts
Why not encourage your teen to get creative?
At Judy Greene’s Pottery Workshop on Kirwan’s Lane, they have pottery workshops where you can paint your own pot.
Galway Art School also offers art activities and classes suitable for both younger and older kids. Don’t worry about your skill level – their classes are made to suit complete beginners.
#14. Indoor Entertainment
For a rainy day, there is no shortage of great activities for teens in Galway.
The Planet Family Entertainment Centre at the Galway Shopping Centre, Headford Road in Galway, has teen bowling or laser tag available. The climbing wall at the Kingfisher at NUI Galway is a great way to test your indoor rock climbing abilities! At the Liosban Industrial Estate, Galway City Karting is the perfect place if your teen loves go-karting, and has a 20,000 sq ft indoor track.
Looking for more ideas? Check out our article with 50 Things for your Teen to do this Summer.
Do you have a favourite place to go in Galway with teenagers and older kids? Share it in the comments below.