Achill Island is the largest island off the Irish coast popular with tourists joined to the Curraun Peninsula by bridge, wild beautiful scenery, ruined Slievemore deserted village, Slievemore mountain (2205 feet) which has a dolmen and two stone circles on its southern slopes, Croghaun and Minaun mountains, Keel Strand with wind distorted rocks called the Cathedral Rocks, Keem, Dugort, Diooega, Dooagh and Dooiver sandy beaches, Carrick Castle tower, high cliff walks, fishing, rock climbing, windsurfing, surfing, campsites, accommodation, pubs.
Founded by the King of Connaught, Cathal Crovdearg in 1216, the impressive Ballintubber (or Ballintober) Abbey in North Mayo is still in use, but has many original features from different centuries including animals and foliage carvings. The abbey was founded beside a holy well dedicated to Saint Patrick who came came here after his fast on Croagh Patrick. The full Reek Sunday pilgrimage to the holy mountain traditionally starts from the Abbey.
Beaches in County Mayo
Old Head and Silver Strand deserted beaches near Louisburgh, Bertra Strand near Murrisk, scenic Killadoon beach near Cregganbaun, sandy beaches on Clare Island and Inisturk Islands, Long Mallaranny Strand near Mulrany town, clean sandy beaches on Achill Island, sandy beaches, sheltered sandy Lackan Bay beach at Downpatrick Head. Downpatrick Head also has a cliff puffing hole or glory hole.
Belmullet town, Irish speaking area, scenic views from Blacksod Point, Doonamo Point, Doonaneanir and Portnafrankach promontory forts (Doonamo at the edge of the cliffs is the most impressive), sandy Mullaghroe beach, Elly Bay Adventure Centre.
Benwee Head Cliffs
820 feet high cliffs with views to Donegal near Pollatomish
Ceide Fields (Achaid Cheide) off the R314 near Ballycastle in North Mayo is a well preserved ruin of a 5,000 year old 24 square miles megalithic farming settlement which was swallowed up by the bog, buildings, fields walls and all and was only recently uncovered by archaeologists. Ceide Fields is the oldest enclosed landscape in Europe and the most extensive Stone Age site in the world. The interpretative centre has exhibitions on the site, geology and botany and has a viewing platform which looks down on the site.
Boats to Clare Island in Clew Bay run from Westport and Roonagh Quay near Louisburgh, ruined tower castle of Grace O’Malley the Pirate Queen and her grave outside a ruined Cistercian Abbey carries her family motto ‘Invincible on land and sea,’ sandy beaches, Mount Knockmore, scuba diving, wind surfing and angling from the Bay View Hotel
Large ruined 12th century Augustinian Abbey founded by High King of Ireland and King of Connaught, Turlough Mor O’Connor, with attractive Romanesque, gothic and medieval carvings and beautifully restored cloisters and Monk’s fishing house in a scenic positions near the small town of Cong
The Pigeon Hole, Ballymaglancy cave which has stalactites and stalagmites, Captain Webbs Cave, Kelly’s Cave, Lady’s Buttery and Horses Discovery caves in the vicinity of Cong town are mostly accessible. The Giant’s Grave cave near Cong was a megalithic burial chamber and nearby at Nymphsfield there is one of a number of stone circles in the area.
Some of County Mayo’s most beautiful rugged scenery surrounds the awe-inspiring peak of Croagh Patrick. It was from on top of this 2513 feet high mountain that Saint Patrick drove all snakes from Ireland after fasting during the forty days of Lent in the year 441. Hundreds of Irish people still climb the holy mountain for penance, often in their bare feet, on Reek Sunday, the last Sunday in July. Some pilgrims start their walk from Ballintubber Abbey nearly 22 miles away, following the route of Saint Patrick’s Causeway, but there is a car park at Murrisk from which its takes around two to three hours to climb to the plateau on the summit.
Boats to Inishturk Island from Roonagh Quay (or Cleggan pier in County Galway), sandy beaches,
Boat trips on Lough Corrib from Ashford Castle to Inchagoill Island which has the ruins of 5th century Saint Patrick’s Church and 12th century Church of the Saint. There is also good sea trout and brown trout fishing on this, Ireland’s second largest lake.
Michael Davitt Memorial Museum and Grave
Museum with exhibitions on the Fenian and founding member of the Charles Stewart Parnell Land League Michael Davitt (1846-1906). Davitt’s grave is in the adjacent church graveyard near Straide, near Castlebar. The house of one notorious land agent whose name gave rise to the term boycott still stands on the shore of Lough Mask. The Land League started a policy of ‘moral Coventry’ by getting the local community to ignore and isolate people such as Charles Boycott.
Nephin Beg Mountains
It takes around two hours to climb Mount Nephin near Crossmolina and Lough Conn, which stands at 2644 feet high
North Mayo Family History and Research Heritage Centre
Research centre for tracing family roots in North Mayo, displays of old farm machinery and household items
North Mayo Sculpture Trail
Route of 15 outdoor sculptures based on Mayo’s beautiful countryside along the R314 from Ballina to Blacksod Point commissioned from sculptors from all over the world to celebrate 5,000 years of Mayo history.
River Moy and Lough Conn Fishing
The River Moy is one of Mayo’s best salmon rivers and you can see them leaping at the weir in Ballina on their way up to spawn. Boats can be hired from Pontoon for brown trout angling on Lough Conn and Lough Cullin. There is also good sea trout and brown trout fishing on Lough Corrib, Ireland’s second largest lake.
Rockfleet Castle (Also known as Carrichanowley)
Castle of Grace O’Malley the pirate Queen of Connaught, near Newport, from which legend says she divorced her second husband Richard Burke, by bolting the gate against him. She also repulsed attacks by the English Army.
18th century stately home built on the site of the O’Malleys’ castle, small zoo, campsite, children’s dungeon centre, pony trekking.