Galway, Ireland's second-biggest county, is home to some of its most stunning landscapes, offering the perfect blend of natural and urban life.
It is also home to a number of different adventure sports and adventure centers, ensuring that tourists will always have something to do.
Our trip to Galway started with a visit to the relatively new Wildlands adventure center in Moycullen, around 10 minutes from Galway City.
Opened by the Bohan family in August 2020, Wildlands offers something for people of all ages and interests.
For thrill-seekers searching for a high-octane adventure, Wildlands' Zip 'n' Trek is the one for you, offering a thrilling obstacle course 40 feet above the ground.
There is also a Zip 'n' Trek Junior for young children who are not quite ready to take on the intimidating heights and obstacles.
For families, the newly-opened Celtic Challenge Rooms provide the perfect day's entertainment. With 24 fun-filled rooms, the Celtic Challenge Rooms provide a blend of mental and physical tasks and are fun for all the family.
Challenge rooms are nothing new, but what sets Wildlands apart is its focus on Irish mythology. The 24 Celtic Challenge Rooms all center around famous Irish myths and legends, from Fionn McCool and the Salmon of Knowledge to the Brown Bull of Cooley, offering visitors a fun-based opportunity to learn about Irish folklore.
We rounded off our trip to Wildlands with lunch in their spectacular Olive Tree restaurant and were simply blown away by their stunning pizzas.
Having lived in New York for a year, I like to think that I have tried some of the best pizza the world has to offer, but I can truthfully say that few, if any, have ever come close to the one I tried at Wildlands.
After Wildlands, it was an hour-long drive across Connemara to Delphi Adventure Centre on the border of Mayo and Galway.
Driving through Connemara is a simply unforgettable experience, with stunning vistas situated around every corner.
The drive along the Connemara Loop into the small village of Leenane is particularly stunning, providing spectacular views of Killary Fjord and the surrounding countryside.
Delphi, like Wildlands, is an ideal location for any thrill-seekers, offering activities for people of all ages, while its beautiful accommodation guarantees a perfect night's sleep.
From a range of water activities including kayaking and surfing to bog expeditions and ziplining, Delphi really does have it all.
We had the pleasure of taking mountain bikes around the beautiful 200-acre Delphi Forest, sampling a variety of different trails from moderate to difficult. We were rewarded with a series of stunning views at the end of each trail, with clouds hanging to the nearby mountains in an almost mystical fashion.
Afterward, we tried our hands at abseiling, experiencing the thrill of lowering ourselves from a 40-foot tower.
Nothing, however, will compare to the thrill of taking on Delphi's 200-meter zipline, which hurtles delighted guests through Delphi Forest at breakneck speed.
For those who are not adventure-inclined, Delphi offers an award-winning spa and a variety of beautiful walks.
Delphi's 814 Restaurant also offers a splendid dining experience, with a variety of delicious meals sourced from local produce, while the restaurant's terrace offers jaw-dropping views of the surrounding countryside.
What sets places like Delphi and Wildlands apart is the staff. Since adventure sports are somewhat niche, you will find that instructors at both centers absolutely love their jobs, which has an immeasurably positive impact on visitor experience.
After Delphi, we moved further west to Clifden, again crossing the magnificent Connemara landscape.
The renowned Kylemore Abbey is located roughly halfway between Delphi and Clifden and is the perfect pitstop for anyone who wants to visit the abbey and its walled gardens or simply take a snap of the beautiful surroundings.
Dubbed the capital of Connemara, Clifden is a beautiful coastal town that embodies everything good about rural Ireland, offering visitors an authentic experience of a rural Irish town.
A wide variety of traditional pubs and artisan restaurants are littered throughout Clifden, while the town is literally surrounded by stunning walking, driving, and cycling routes.
Are you planning a vacation in Ireland? Looking for advice or want to share some great memories? Join our Irish travel Facebook group.
We spent the night in the extremely comfortable Station House Hotel before renting bikes from Clifden Bike Shop in the center of the town.
Starting early in the morning, we cycled the highly-recommended Sky Road Loop - a moderately difficult cycle that takes cyclists along one of the most picturesque routes in Connemara.
Situated on the Wild Atlantic Way, the Sky Road is a 16km circular route that offers unrivaled views of the Atlantic Ocean, Clifden Castle, the Mayo coastline, and the nearby islands of Inishturk and Ardmore.
The route, which can be tackled by cyclists and motorists alike, takes tourists along country roads and offers several places to stop and take pictures before finishing at the majestic Eyrephort Beach.
Unfortunately, due to our early start, an unseasonable July mist hung over the scene, somewhat spoiling the majestic views below as we made our approach to the beach.
However, the clouds had been burned away by the time we began our return to Clifden, revealing a simply breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean and the distant Mayo coastline.
Our return to Clifden marked the end of our trip and all that was left was to drive home to Dublin, once more traveling through the stunning Connemara countryside.