We had a magical start to our journey to the Inishkea Islands from Blacksod. Shortly after leaving the harbour, we were joined by a school of playful dolphins swimming alongside and in front of the boat escorting us into the broad waters of the bay. The dozen or so dolphins whizzed through the waves at […]
Mayo Heritage Sites
Some of the most important heritage sites in Ireland are located in Co Mayo. From the 5000 year old Neolithic Céide Fields to the Round Tower in Killala, the history of Co Mayo is recalled in its man-made structures, landscape and folklore. The Monasteries and Abbeys of Mayo are among the best persevered in Ireland, recalling the period between the 4th and 10th centuries when Ireland gained its reputation as the Island of Saints and Scholars. Ballinrubber Abbey, Moyne Abbey and Burrishoole Abbey are prime examples of these monastic settlements that are well worth visiting. There are many holy wells in Co Mayo dating from early Christian times that are still visited by local people. Every parish in Co Mayo has at least one ancient ruin that is a reminder of the locality's rich history and heritage.
The words hauntingly beautiful perfectly describe the Doolough Valley, evoking the natural wonder of this remote glacial scene of towering mountains and brooding lake that is forever scarred by the memory of the men, women and children who were left to die there during the Great Famine. When I first passed through the Doolough Valley […]
If there was a competition for the most beautiful wall in Mayo surely it would be hard to beat the dry stone wall at the entrance to Enniscoe House and Gardens nature trail when the fairy foxglove turns the structure into a vertical flower garden in early summer. The lengthy dry spell we have enjoyed […]
When James Henry Casserly who was the first Station Master in Killala Railway Station was leaving in 1894, the people of Killala and Ballycastle came together to present him with a pocket watch as a token of the high esteem in which the community held the Galway native. Now 125 years later, the pocket watch, […]
It’s early March and Nephin is snow-capped once more. But just a few days ago February borrowed from early summer to present us with a delightful week of warm sunshine. Turlough Park looked magnificent – shafts of light streaming through the bare trees bringing a warm glow to the plentiful clumps of shaded snowdrops, daffodils […]
The Crescent moon hung over Ballina to the south sinking between Venus and Jupiter both planets bleached out in the creeping light of a new dawn. In those magical minutes between darkness and daylight, the sky on this frosty late January morning was that deep blue that heralds a new dawn. Completing the serene scene, […]
Cong Wood is one of Mayo’s temperate rainforests – typical of lush, green and mostly deciduous woodlands found along the wet and mild Atlantic coastal counties of Ireland and the UK. These beautiful native and ancient woodlands are commonly known as Celtic Rainforests where nature abounds.
The newly-opened Ballina and Killala sections of the Monasteries of the Moy Greenway, the 10km walking and cycling trail, partly follows the route of the old railway line that once linked the two north Mayo towns.
I’m sad to say that I have taken one of the great natural wonders of Mayo for granted – and until last week I didn’t realise that it is under threat.
Blanemore Forest Archaeological Walk near Moygownagh is another gem in Mayo’s treasure chest of extensive Neolithic sites – the best known of which is the Ceide Fields near Ballycastle.
It’s hard to believe that Palmerstown Bridge, the main artery linking Mayo’s remote north-west corner to the rest of the county, dates back to the decade before the 1798 Rebellion.
The ferns, nettles, bushes, and briars now hide much of what was once a 19th-century village on the slopes of the Ox Mountains.
One of my abiding childhood memories of family journeys to Erris was stopping off at the Musical Bridge in Bellacorick to run a stone along the parapet to hear it draw musical notes from the bridge.
Ballina’s Salmon Weir Bridge looks splendid at night and especially in the days around St. Patrick’s Day when the footbridge over the River Moy is illuminated in green.
On arrival at the Michael Davitt Museum, you are greeted by the imposing bronze statue of the Land League founder in front of the restored 17th century Straide Church which houses the magnificent museum in honour of the man who helped free rural communities from the yoke of landlordism.
Lying largely in ruins, the ancient Augustinian Abbey in Ballina has never attracted the same attention as the other abbeys of the Moy, at Rosserk, Moyne and Rathfran – all of which are mostly intact. Nonetheless, Ballina’s Abbey has an interesting story to tell – stretching all the way back to a golden age in our Celtic past.