We love discovering new places on this island! And Mayo was a great place to explore over half term.
County Mayo is at the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way (with emphasis on the Wild!)
Seacliffs, mountains, beaches- it’s all here to discover!
Most of our trips begin with coffee so we had to revisit Butler & Byrne in Cong beside Ashford Estate.
This little village was made famous by The Quiet Man film starring Maureen O’Hara & John Wayne in 1952?! There’s a statue commemorating the film in the centre of the village.
It’s just a short walk up the tree-lined avenue to Ashford Castle, built on the shores of Lough Corrib. It’s free to visit Mrs Tea’s Bakery & Boutique in the grounds. But it costs 10 euro to venture over the bridge for a closer view of the castle & it’s gardens (where celebrity weddings like Rory McIlroy’s are held!)
Cong Camping is close by. It looks good & is open all year. We’ll maybe stay there next time.
Drive passed Lough Mask to the bustling town of Westport. Stone bridges cross the Carrowbeg River. You’ll find cafes, traditional music, pubs & sweetshops. Stock up on supplies & provisions in SuperValu or in the large Tesco at the edge of town.
It’s a great starting point for following the zigzags of the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) signposts-North toward Mayo or South toward Galway.
If you’re into cycling, the Great Western Greenway offers 42km of almost entirely off-road cycle paths from Westport to Achill
The road takes you passed Newport’s bridges (Smell the turf!) to Mallaranny . Drive to the pier & stop with a view over Clew Bay to Crosgh Patrick. The shore is lined with distinctive pink pebbles.
Mayo has been designated a Dark sky park– this weekend is the Dark Sky Festival. Hopefully it’ll be a clear night for stargazing!
We followed the road less travelled to Achill Sound with beautiful view of the Island of Clare. The only other ‘traffic’ was sheep!
We crossed the small bridge onto Achill to get some essentials (Diet Coke & peanut M&Ms!)
Achill Island is Ireland’s largest island. It boasts 5 blue flag beaches & needs another trip west to see it properly!
We drove back to the N59 north.
You can park with a view & walk along the boardwalk at Claggan mountain coastal trail
Ballycroy National Park is a gateway to Nephin Beg Mountain range & there’s a boardwalk here too.
Get some supplies & provisions in Bangor Erris & stop for a while at Carrowmore Lake.
Céide fields is a Stone-Age farm landscape, older than the Pyramids of Egypt. Just across the road from the carpark there’s an impressive viewing platform on the cliff edge 110m above the Atlantic waves.
Drive to Ballycastle & follow signs for Downpatrick Head.
It was awesome to stand on the cliffs overlooking Dun Briste- a 45m sea stack.
According to legend, a Druid Chieftain, named Crom Dubh, lived there. He refused to convert to Christianity, Saint Patrick struck the ground with his staff. The stack was separated from the mainland, leaving Crom Dubh to die on the top.
There’s also a viewing gallery round Poll na Seantainne – a spectacular blow-hole with subterranean channel to the sea.
On the Head, there’s also a statue of St Patrick, a lookout & ‘Eire64’ stone aerial markers from World War 2.
As you drive along, stop with a view at Kilalla Quay
On a rainy day visit the Irish Museum of Country Life in Turlough near Castlebar.
To stay over,Beleek Park campsite in Ballina is open all year round.
Or stay in a Hobbit Hut at Mayo glamping
For more ideas for your trip to this amazing part of Ireland, read the Mayo Bucket list
☘️Keep on exploring!
coinnigh ort ag iniúchadh☘️