Salthill is a popular, old-fashioned seaside promenade and resort connected to Galway city, complete with a beautiful long, sandy beach along Galway Bay. The resort area still maintains traditional amusement arcades, a small fairground, cafes, pubs, eateries, hotels and B&Bs. On hot summer days, especially weekends or public holidays, the beaches can get extremely busy and, while there is a free car park, spaces are at a premium. Most other days, however, there is plenty of space for all, and one of the best times to enjoy Salthill is on a mild or warm morning or early evening. On other days, especially outside of summer months, it can be a bit windy here with the strong breeze coming of the Atlantic, and of course wet -- although that doesn't deter many of the walkers who like to come to Salthill for the fresh sea air.
I love this arty video of Salthill from The Red Ball Project
Referred to by locals simply as "The Prom", walking along some or all of this broad, sea-facing walkway is a favourite pastime of all Galway-dwellers. The Aran Islands are clearly visible in the distance from the Promenade.
The Diving Board
At one end of the promenade, there is a distinctive yellow diving board area, where brave souls from the local diving club -- and other enthusiasts -- plunge directly into the Atlantic ocean.
At Salthill, you will find one of Galway's most popular attractions, Galway's Aquarium -- the Atlantaquaria. A family-friendly aquarium, the Atlantaquarium has many different Atlantic species, and offers regular feeding sessions, and encourages handling in the pools, which makes it fun for kids.
The Big Wheel
Leisureland, an entertainment and fitness centre, is located along the Promenade. As well as a swimming pool and gym facilities, Leisureland has some fairground rides during the summer, with the stand-out attraction being its big wheel. It is a little pricey, however, at €3 euros per person (adults or children) for a ride on the wheel. Perhaps for that reason, it is not usually too busy.
Galway Bay Sunsets
Salthill, and the neighbouring area of Claddagh, which leads directly into the centre of Galway city, are famed for fabulous sunsets. Since Galway Bay is in the west of Ireland, the sun sets directly on the water here, and in summer months, daylight can stretch as late as midnight or longer. On warm or hot summer days (which in Ireland are unpredictable, but they do occur!) couples, or groups of young students can be seen sitting and watching the sunset on the beaches at Claddagh and Salthill. This is nothing new -- in the middle of the last century, these seaside areas provided the inspiration for the song Galway Bay, made famous by Bing Crosby. It also featured in the classic Irish movie The Quiet Man starring John Wayne. The first verse of Galway Bay goes as follows: If you ever go across the sea to Ireland, Then maybe at the closin' of your day You will sit and watch the moon rise over Claddagh And see the sun go down on Galway Bay
Blackrock beach and Salthill promenade at midnight. Image by Conor Luddy