I love County Mayo, as a tourist destination the team there are really on the ball at showcasing all that the county have to offer. There is something for everyone to do and it’s located on the Wild Atlantic Way so plenty of beautiful beaches to visit. Here are some photos from my visits that might inspire you to visit too.
The photo at the top of the page is Dun Briste – probably my favourite location in Ireland so far. This magnificent seastack is approximately 50 metres tall and stands just off Downpatrick Head. It’s just absolutely breathtaking watching the waves crash and listening to the sea birds cry at this very special place. If you are lucky you can get a bite to eat and a cuppa at Tea by the Sea – a quirky mobile cafe with a singing chef. You can find Downpatrick in Ballycastle, call to Mary’s Cottage Kitchen for lunch, and visit Ballinglen Arts Foundation to check out some great exhibitions.
Above is the River Moy in Ballina. Not only is Ballina a scenic town it’s great for shopping, there’s also a large Penneys and a lot of charity shops if shopping is your thing. If, like me, you hate shopping check out the Jackie Clarke collection to find out more about the history of Ireland – the garden is well worth a visit too.
The River Moy is known as one of Ireland’s finest for salmon fishing and if you want to explore it from the water and find out some of the history a kayak trip with Pedal and Paddle is a must. You’ll also get to see some of the beautiful Belleek Woods – which is well worth a walk around, it’s beautiful.
Check out the fantastic museum in Belleek Castle it’s well worth a visit. If you’d rather relax check out the Ice House Hotel Spa which overlooks the river. Check out the Ballina Salmon Festival which takes place in July, it’s a fantastic week long event and well worth a visit. Check out Mayo North for more information.
Westport is probably one of the best known towns in County Mayo, overlooked by Croagh Patrick Mountain and home to the beautiful Westport House. It’s a very special year for the town as they celebrate 250 years. You won’t be short of things to do in this town. I’d recommend a pint in Matt Molloy’s Pub, where you’ll find live music every evening. If you want to explore at your own pace hire a bike from Electric Escapes and go along the Great Western Greenway or take the road less travelled, you never know what you’ll see. Destination Westport is a great website for suggestions.
If you want a taste of the old Ireland a trip to Achill Island is a must. Lose yourself in the wilderness as you explore the remains of the stone cottages in the Deserted Village. What would those walls say if they could talk? Try a water sport at the spectacular Keem Bay, walk along Keel Beach or just enjoy the stunning drive along the edge of the Atlantic.
Visit Louisburgh, check out the pretty town – visit Books at One, and take a drive to Doolough. The name of Doolough comes from the lake, known locally as the “Black lake” or in Irish as “Dubh Loch”. Read more about it here.
Go glamping on a quiet island in Erris. Belmullet Coastguard Station is a little bit of heaven and if peace is what you are looking for this is the place. The wooden pods are located right in a working farm on the edge of the Wild Atlantic Way and are not at all like camping. They are warm and cosy and there’s nothing like the sound of the sea as you drift off to sleep.
Explore Erris from the water with WaveSweeper. If you want to be under the sea snorkelling is for you, it’s absolutely something else. If you prefer to be on the water try kayaking. For thrill seekers just jump right in to the Wild Atlantic Way with coasteering (which I have to say is my favourite adventure, even if I am scared of wetsuits!)
Visit the pretty seaside village of Killala between Ballina and the Ceide Fields. Check out the round tower that dates to the 12th century. Go to nearby Kilcummin Pier or go bird watching and seal spotting. If you want a really relaxing day Wild Atlantic Cultural Tours is the one for you. Denis is just brilliant, he knows so much about history and can also bring you foraging. The tour will be tailor made to your interests.
So that’s just a brief insight to Mayo. To find out more about locations and adventures check out the Wild Atlantic Way website.