Ballinasloe is the second largest town in Galway, and has come to be a real base for tourists to the area. Ballinasloe is known in Irish as Béal Átha na Sluaighe, meaning “ford mouth of the hosts”. The town was originally built around a ford that crossed the River Suck and was once a stopping point for chieftains, tribesmen and warriors from across the country. The rich history of Ballinasloe is still prevalent today in its beautifully preserved architecture and bounteous cultural scene. As well as being a beautiful and historical place to visit, Ballinasloe also has lots to offer in terms of leisure activities, museums and restaurants.
Ballinasloe for Equestrian Enthusiasts
If you have a passion for horses, then Ballinasloe is an excellent holiday destination for you. Ballinasloe maintains the equestrian heritage it was granted by its history as an ancient transport link. There have always been horses at Ballinasloe, and there continue to be.
If you’re interested in riding, there are stables and equestrian centres where horses can be rented, or riding lessons can be taken. Take a hack out across the beautiful Galway countryside that surrounds Ballinasloe. Perhaps you’d like a lesson with some of Galway’s leading equestrian experts. Or perhaps you just want a friendly visit to a stable yard, to stroke some noble noses. All of these options can be accommodated; have a look for hotels in Ballinasloe near to or including riding facilities.
If simply meeting the horses isn’t enough, there’s plenty of opportunity for equestrian education as well. Dartfield Museum in nearby Kilrickle is dedicated to illustrating the role of the horse throughout history, in transport, leisure and farming.
Ballinasloe for Museums
Visitors to Ballinasloe will not find themselves short for museums. There’s enough to fill an entire trip, so it’s well worth planning your museum itinerary in advance. As well as the above mentioned Dartfield Museum, there are plenty of options to make your trip to Ballinasloe both educational and entertaining. An Dún Transport and Heritage Museum showcases a large collection of classic and vintage cars, as well as a large model railway exhibit and cable car demonstrations.
The Galleries of Discovery, set in Birr Castle and Gardens charter the work of the great Irish scientists throughout the ages and their influence in the fields of astronomy, engineering, photography and botany. The Claypipe Visitors Centre in Knockcroghery, just a short trip from Ballinasloe, is another chance for some historical experience. Here you can learn about over 250 years of development of the pipe and tobacco industry in Ireland.
Ballinasloe for History
Birr Castle and Gardens is a site in Ballinasloe that’s not to be missed. The historic home of the Parsons family, the castle and gardens have a history that stretches back to the 17th Century. It has been an important site of cultural and scientific development. Clonfert Cathedral, Clontuskert Abbey and the monastic settlement, Clonmacnoise, also make incredible days out. Find a hotel that suits your historical itinerary, there are plenty of fantastic accommodation options available for your trip to Ballinasloe.