Wild Atlantic Way

Wild Atlantic Way

The Wild Atlantic Way is a world-famous coastal route that spans seven of Ireland's counties, taking in some breathtaking scenery along the way.

From Donegal to Galway, Kerry to Cork, the sights and sounds of the Wild Atlantic Way will stun your senses and reinvigorate your soul.

Right in the heart of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, Mayo embraces the Atlantic Ocean with many of the County’s unforgettable landmarks dotted along its coastline – majestic Croagh Patrick, Clew Bay, Achill’s unmistakable cliffs, the Stacks of Broadhaven and Dun Briste. Mayo’s Atlantic coastline is a playground for those with an adventurous spirit, offering world class deep fishing, surfing, coasteering, kayaking and kite surfing. For something a little more low key, Mayo North is a haven for walkers, anglers and golfers alike, with Ballina’s Ridgepool on the Rive Moy renowned worldwide for its salmon angling, the Foxford Way walking trail and championship links golf in Carne Golf links and nearby Enniscronne Golf Club.

While the Atlantic Ocean has played a significant role in shaping the physical personality of the coast through the centuries, it has had a massive impact on creating the personality of the people living on this outpost of Europe. They are fearless, doggedly determined, quick thinking and witty – all traits necessary for survival – even today! – Along this Wild Atlantic Way.

 

Signature Points in Co Mayo

 

Keem Strand – Achill Island, Co. Mayo

 

Keem Beach is a rural and sheltered beach surrounded by cliffs on Ireland's largest island - Achill Island. It can be found at the head of a valley between the cliffs of Benmore to the west and Croaghaun Mountain on the east on Achill Island. Follow the Atlantic Drive before turning north towards the Golden Strand. Sheltering under Slievemore Mountain, you can wander through a strange unnamed linear settlement, known simply as the Deserted village.

 

Keem beach is very popular for water sports and there are surfing schools in the local area. The beach is lifeguarded during the bathing season and more information can be found on the notice boards located at the beach.

 

Killary Harbour – Delphi, Co. Mayo

 

Killary Harbour/An Caoláire Rua is a fjord located in the west of Ireland in the heart of Connemara which forms a natural border between counties Galway and Mayo. It is 16 kilometres long and in the centre over 45 metres deep. It is one of three glacial fjords that exist in Ireland, the others being Lough Swilly and Carlingford Lough.

 

On its northern shore lies the mountain of Mweelrea, Connacht's highest mountain, rising to 814 metres. To the south rise the Maumturk Mountains and the Twelve Bens. The area contains some of Ireland's most awe-inspiring and dramatic scenery.

 

There are two minor settlements nearby. On the southern side near the mouth of the fjord lies the hamlet of Rossroe while Leenaun lies inland to the east. Close to Rosroe there is an old building which now houses a hostel. This building was formerly a modest house which was used by Ludwig Wittgenstein, the famous philosopher, as a quiet place to write shortly after World War II. A plaque acknowledging this was unveiled by President Mary Robinson in 1993.

 

Nearby lies the so-called Green Road, a rough road running along the side of the fjord back east towards Leenane at the head of the fjord. It stretches for approximately nine kilometres and was part of the famine relief program during the 19th century. Aquaculture is important locally with a salmon farm based at Rossroe while mussel rafts are a common sight more to the east.

 

Downpatrick Head – Ballycastle, Co. Mayo

 

Downpatrick Head is located 3 miles north of Ballycastle village standing 126ft above the sea with fantastic views of the Atlantic, the Staggs of Broadhaven and high cliffs along the shore. The small stone building at the top of Downpatrick Head is now used to view the many species of birds on 'Dún Briste'.

 

The ruins of a church, a holy well, and a stone cross mark the site of an earlier church founded by St. Patrick. Pilgrims visited Downpatrick Head on the last Sunday of July - 'Garland Sunday'. Mass is now celebrated on Downpatrick Head on this day. The old statue of St. Patrick was erected here in 1912 and this was replaced by a new statue in the early 1980's.

 

Secrets of the Wild Atlantic Way – Mullaghamore Head to Keem Strand

 
1. Clew bay and the islands:
Clew Bay has, according to tradition, 365 islands, one for every day of the year. It’s probably the most beautiful bay in Ireland, and the views of it from all around Westport are spectacular. The biggest, Clare Island, guards the entrance to the sheltered bay and is home to 130 people. With its Blue Flag beach and many historical and archaeological sites, Clare is a must-see island for the visitor willing to take a short ferry ride. Most of the others in the bay are are uninhabited, although a few brave souls cling to the age-old tradition of living on a small island all year round. The islands in Clew Bay are partly drowned drumlins, which are elongated, steep-sided hills, sometimes described as whale-backed, that were formed when glaciers reshaped the landscape in the last ice age. Many of the hills on land around the bay are similar drumlins. The bay is surrounded by some of the best Blue Flag beaches in Ireland perfect for many water sports.
 
  • Clew Bay Cruises, deep sea angling
  • Rolling Sun Croagh Patrick
  • Guided Trip up Croagh Patrick
2. Clare Island
Clew Bay, Co Mayo
Standing guard at the entrance to Clew Bay Clare Island’s spectacular cliffs are home to large numbers of nesting sea birds and its hills, bogs and woodlands make it ideal for hill walking. The largest of the Ireland’s offshore islands, Clare Island's complex history can be read through its landscape: from archaeological remains of the Neolithic and Bronze age, to rare medieval wall paintings in the 14th century abbey and the stronghold and burial place of Grainne Mhaol, the famous 'pirate queen'.
 
3. Inishturk
Inishturk (Island of the Wild Boar) is a small but beautifully formed island 14.5 km off the coast between Clare Island and Inishbofin. A tranquil island with cliffs and steep hills dropping down to the Atlantic, Inishturk, though small, is rich in archaeological sites, such as the old Napoleonic Signal Tower. Inhabited on and off since 4000 BC, the island's rugged pathways offer hill walkers plenty of opportunities while enthralling scuba diving and boat trips to neighbouring islands are only a chat away. The western side of the island has magnificent views of the Atlantic and now a new sculpture, ‘The Tale of the Tongs’, commemorating the past and present culture and community of the island unveiled as part of The Gathering 2013 project.  On the eastern side are the secluded Tranaun and Curran beaches, with fantastic clear blue waters, ideal picnic and swimming spots after a hike. Watch the sun go down on what locals claim to be the best views in Europe! For the full island experience, round the day off with a pint of porter and an hour or two of set dancing in the island's lively community centre. 
 
4. Killary Harbour/An Caoláire Rua
Is a fjord located in the west of Ireland in the heart of Connemara which forms a natural border between counties Galway and Mayo. It is 16 kilometres long and in the centre over 45 metres deep. It is one of three glacial fjords that exist in Ireland, the others being Lough Swilly and Carlingford Lough. On its northern shore lies the mountain of Mweelrea, Connacht's highest mountain, rising to 814 metres. To the south rise the Maumturk Mountains and the Twelve Bens. The area contains some of Ireland's most awe-inspiring and dramatic scenery. There are two minor settlements nearby. On the southern side near the mouth of the fjord lies the hamlet of Rossroe while Leenaun lies inland to the east. Close to Rosroe there is an old building which now houses a hostel. This building was formerly a modest house which was used by Ludwig Wittgenstein, the famous philosopher, as a quiet place to write shortly after World War II. A plaque acknowledging this was unveiled by President Mary Robinson in 1993. Nearby lies the so-called Green Road, a rough road running along the side of the fjord back east towards Leenane at the head of the fjord. It stretches for approximately nine kilometres and was part of the famine relief program during the 19th century. Aquaculture is important locally with a salmon farm based at Rossroe while mussel rafts are a common sight more to the east. 
 
5. Keen Bay 
Experience the edge of Europe at the top of the cliffs at Keem Bay. Climb past the lookout point and on to Achill Head - the most westerly point in Achill, as you begin the ascent to the top of the highest sea cliffs in Europe, Croaghaun. Peer over the edge and witness the wild atlantic as it meets land for the first time from three times the height of the Cliffs of Moher! Discover the wreckage of an RAF plane on the flanks of the mountain as you descend towards the homestead of Captain Boycott, responsible for the introduction of the word 'boycott' to the English language.
 
6. Dive into the Blueway
Dive into the Blueway! Learn to snorkel or kayak on the Wild Atlantic Way at one of Achill Island's Blueway trails. Experience the clear blue water at the Signature Discovery Point at Keem Bay, with a snorkel tour provided by professional guides. Take in the tropical colours of the waters along the west coast of Ireland, and get up close and personal with spider crabs, eels, basking sharks and other marine life. Take a kayak trip at the Dugort Blueway and visit the hidden seal caves of Achill's north coast, as you float on Blacksod Bay. Stay quiet and the residents of the seal caves might even make an appearance!
 
7. The Delphi Valley 
Many artists and photographers have attempted to capture the beauty of this wild and unspoilt valley of extraordinary beauty, it remains one of Ireland’s hidden treasures. Delphi valley running south from Clew bay to Killary Fjord, selected in the top ten scenic drives in Europe by the “Top Gear”.
 
8. Jackie Clarke Collection 
Tel: +353 (0)96 73508 
Web: www.clarkecollection.ie
The awarding winning Jackie Clarke Collection - one man, 100,000 items - spanning 400 years of Irish history. Located in a restored Victorian bank with a newly designed walled garden in the centre of Ballina. Special features of the attraction include interactive technology and a memory booth where you can record your own memories. 
 
9. Monasteries of the Moy 
Contact: Ballina Tourist Information Office 
Tel: +353 (0)96 72800  
Cycle or drive to some of the finest examples of medieval monastic buildings in Ireland along the banks of the river Moy. Rosserk Friary (1460 A.D.) and Moyne Abbey (1462 A.D.) are great examples of the era. Other Abbeys include the Augustinian Abbey (1427 A.D.) in Ballina and Rathfran Abbey (1274 .A.D.) Killala. Self-Drive or cycle route.
 
10. River Moy 
Contact: Ballina Tourist Information Office 
Tel: +353 (0)96 72800
 
Contact: Moy Fishery 
Tel:  +353 (0)96 21332
Email: moyfishery@fisheriesireland.ie
 
The River Moy is a world famous salmon fishing river which attracts fishermen from around the world. The river offers a wide variety of quality angling to suit all tastes and budgets. There are also a number of scenic walks and activities available on the river. 
  
11. Moy Estuary and Coast 
Contact: Mickey Killcullen (scenic trips) 
Tel: +353 (0)87 2446902
 
Contact: Judd Ruane (angling trips)
Tel: +353 (0)87 6736969
Email: judd@juddruane.com 
 
Take a cruise of the majestic river Moy Estuary and coast famous for salmon and sea trout. Fish for the day or just take in the views of Moyne and Rosserk Abbey, Killala Bay, bird life and a grey seal colony. Visit Bartra Island to catch views of Mayo, Sligo and Donegal.  
 
12. Killala
Tel: +353 (0)96 32166 / (0)96 72800.
 
A small, quiet and picturesque village, Killala, a seaside town with an ecclesiastical Round Tower and historic buildings offers old world charm, safe beaches, bird watching and more. A harbour offers on and off-shore fishing while it’s many pubs offer lively night time entertainment. 
 
13. Ross and Lacken Strand
Soft, golden sand, lapping waves and long stretches of uncluttered beach: Ross, a Blue Flag beach near Killala and the near-by Lacken Strand offer them all. Both are easily accessible with ample car parking while opportunities for safe swimming, surfing, walking and sun-bathing complete the ultimate seaside experience.
 
14. Downpatrick Head
Families
Downpatrick Head is spectacular headland with a striking 126ft high sea-stack, only 3 miles north of Ballycastle village. Storm-tossed and bathes by the ocean, this spectacular natural monument is only a short walk of a free carpark. Don’t miss the blow-hole, known as 'Poll na Seantainne' with a subterranean channel to the sea. Please keep a careful eye on your kids! 
 
Curiously cultural
Storm-tossed and lashed by the ocean, Downpatrick Head is a natural monument not to be missed. The spectacular headland with a dramatic 126ft high sea-stack, and the blow-hole known as 'Poll na Seantainne' with a subterranean channel to the sea, is only a short walk of a free carpark. From here, there are fantastic views over the stunningly beautiful landscape.
 
15. Céide Fields 
Contact: Greta Byrne 
Tel: +353 (0) 96 43325
Email: ceidefields@opw.ie 
Web: www.heritageireland.ie/en/west/ceidefields/
 
The remarkable neolithic site at Céide Fields in County Mayo, Ireland, contains the oldest known stone-walled fields in the world – dating back nearly 6,000 years. Céide Fields overlooks the mighty Atlantic Ocean which gently laps or vigorously pounds – depending on the weather! – against the cliffs below.  The landscape itself has been forged from the dramatic upheaval and movement of the earths crust over millions of years. Viist the Ceide Fields Interpretative Centre and coffee shop on your visit.
 
16. The Inis Gé Deserted Island Experience
Contact: Sean Lavelle, Dive West 
Tel: +353 (0)86 8365983
 
Experience the sheer beauty and ruggedness of one of Europe’s most westerly points - The Inishkea Islands (Inis Gé). Just off the coast, these islands are steeped in a mythology and history that will sweep the most modern thinking person back to the past. Once home to a whaling station that landed 800+ whales at the turn of the last century, the Inishkeas have a unique, if harsh, habitat for the 200 plant species and over 85 types of resident and migrating birds that been recorded. Let Seán, a direct desendant of the island, take you on experience you will treasure forever.
 
In 1946, French archaeologist Francoise Henry excavated evidence of a 7th century AD dye workshop on Inishkea North where the monks in an early Christian Monastery were producing it from the shells of the dog whelk. The dye fetched high prices at the time it was in high demand. One letter in the Book of Kells would take 500 shells to get enough colour to decorate it. Purple was very important because in early Irish laws only the royalty could wear purple. The tradition came from the Roman tradition, who took it from the Greeks, who borrowed that tradition from the Phoenicians. The dye from Inis Ge was  sent to Rome and used to robe the pope in purple attire.
 
17. Wavesweeper Sea Adventures
Contact: David Tyrell, Wavesweeper Sea Adventures  
Tel: +353 (0)87 2312989
Web: www.wavesweeperseaadventures.com
 
Offering a host of different experiences for families and groups of all sizes and ages. Activities include Island tours, sightseeing tours and thrill rides. Try snorkelling in one of many secluded bays for an exciting adventure into a whole new world. Go sea kayaking and experience Erris from a new perspective, learn a new skill and enjoy a great day on the water. Not for the faint hearted, coasteering around Erris’s rugged coastline offers a new high. If reef fishing is what you are into, or, you fancy chasing something bigger, go  to the marks only known to the locals. Both Blacksod Bay and Broadhaven Bay are home to 39 different species of fish including blue shark and tope.  
 
 
18. Golf Carne Golf Links
Tel: +353 (0)97 82292 
Email: info@carnegolflinks.com
 
The orginal 18 holes at Carne Golf Links were designed by Eddie Hackett and built on a shoestring budget.  A new nine hole course was opened in July 2013 so no Carne "has twenty seven of the most dramatic, natural duneland holes in the world" according to Robin Hiseman.
 
19. Doohoma Sandybanks Golf club
Contact: Micheal Holmes 
Tel: +353 (0)86 8336242
 
A nine-hole Par 3 Golf Course in the picturesque village of Dumha Thuama (Doohoma) Situated beside the beautiful Atlantic Ocean.
 
 
20. Ballycroy National Park
Tel: +353 (0)98 49888 
Email: ballycroyvisitor centre@ahg.gov.ie 
Web: www.ballycroynationalpark.ie#
 
Blanket bog / walks / interpretation / Claggan discovery point / tea rooms  Ballycroy National Park was established in November 1998, it is Ireland’s sixth National Park and is located on the Western seaboard in northwest Mayo. It comprises of 11,000 hectares of Atlantic blanket bog and mountainous terrain, covering a vast uninhabited and unspoilt wilderness dominated by the Nephin Beg mountain range. Between Nephin Beg and Slieve Carr, at 721 metres above sea level, the highest mountain in the range, lie the Scardaun Loughs. To the west of the mountains is the Owenduff bog. This is one of the last intact active blanket bog systems in Ireland and Western Europe and is an important scientific and scenic feature of the National Park. 
 
21. Inishbiggle 
Contact: Micheal Leneghan  
Tel: +353 (0)98 45513 / (0)87 1269618
 
Sailings to Innishbiggle Island from Doran's Point. Inishbiggle, or Inis Bigil, is home to a traditional community where small farming and fishing are time worn traditions. Located between the mainland and Acaill Island in County Mayo, this unspoilt haven has stunning panoramic views of west Mayo.  Inishbiggle, is a bastion of traditional life and the tranquil atmosphere, old world customs and glorious scenery are beloved by walkers. Its tiny population speak both Irish and English. For day trippers this is an idyllic island for walking and exploration. Inis Bigil Festival is normally held every August and has been a popular outing for those from the mainland. 
  
22. Bangor Erris Sea Angling
Contact: Seamus Henry 
Tel: +353 (0)97 83487
 
Bangor Erris Angling club was established in 1970. The Club waters, including a stretch of the Owenmore River - which runs through the town of Bangor Erris - and also Carrowmore Lake - located just outside the town of Bangor Erris, have without doubt become one of the most productive salmon and sea trout fisheries in the Island of Ireland.The club promotes fly fishing for salmon and seat trout primarily, though spinning for Salmon is allowed up until the end of March on Carrowmore Lake.The fishery is very unique because it offers fantastic angling opportunities for both advanced and beginner anglers who can choose from either Carrowmore Lake or the Owenmore River depending on which suits their abilities best.
  
23. Uisce
Tel: +353 (0)97 82111
 
UISCE is a centre where adventure, watersport and learning Irish are interwined.  Overlooking the clear waters and golden sands of Cuan Oili (Elly Bay), its perfect for corporate team building events or surf safari weekends
  
24. Ionad Deirbhile Heritage Centre
Contact: Jacqui O'Mongain 
Tel: +353 (0)97 85727 
Email: eolas@ionaddeirbhile.ie
Web:  www.ionaddeirbhile.ie
 
Ionad Deirbhile is the Heritage Centre in An Eachléim situated at the heart of the Mayo Gaeltacht and an area of high emigration in times past. You canlearn about James Hack Tuke's assisted emigration scheme in 1883, when over 3,300 people left blacksod Bay on steamships.  Visit the centre and the commemorative garden - it will leave youfeeling impassioned and inspired, whether or not you have ancestors from Erris.
  
25. Aras Inis Gluaire
Tel: +353 (0)97 81079 
Web: www.arasinisgluaire.ie
 
Áras Inis Gluaire in Béal an Mhuirthead is the vibrant, bilingual arts centre for Erris. It programmes music, theatre, dance and has a beautiful art gallery & café
  
26. Boat Trip to Inishglora Island
Inishglora is associated with a celebrated fable in Irish mythology, 'The Children of Lir' doomed to wander the waters of Ireland for 900 years as enchanted singing swans, spending their last 300 here before regaining human form and withering to dust.
  
27. Tir Saile Sculpture Trail 
Contact: Erris Beo
 
Tír Sáile - The North Mayo Sculpture Trail is the largest public arts project ever undertaken in Ireland. It entailed the putting in place of fourteen site specific Sculptures along the North Mayo Coast. The trail is supplemented by an exhibition site at which the work of guest sculptors or temporary exhibitions are accommodated.Since its inception the Sculpture Trail has heightened the scenic beauty and wealth of cultural heritage. The Trail is further complemented by the preceding Céide Fields interpretive centre which in its self provided the impetus for this undertaking.
Fundamental requirement of the artistic undertaking was the use of natural materials in sympathy with their surroundings. The unique strip of North Mayo's rugged coastline allowed for the exploration of a variety of different sites and possibilities. The sites themselves varied from a disused quarry, small fields and sand dunes, to stony ground and agricultural land 'The interaction of artist with the natural environment by way of imagination and physical endeavor achieved the primary aim of Tír Sáile which is to celebrate the past, relish the present and embrace the future'
 
 
28. Wavesweeper Sea Adventures 
Contact: David Tyrell 
Tel: +353 (0)87 2312989 
Web: www.wavesweeperseaadventures.com
 
Different experiences  on offer you can  try theWild Atlantic Snorkelling Experience :  Join David and his team as they invite you to venture into and under the waters of Erris, exploring some of the most beautiful, undisturbed shores along the Irish coast. Cliff faces, caves, kelp forests and sandy coves await you, or  Hop on board “Wavesweeper 2” at Ballyglass Pier. Brave the big swells of Broadhaven Bay as we power to Ballyglass Lighthouse and witness cormorant, seagulls, gannets and puffins in their natural habitat.  Catch a glimpse of a curious seal or cast a line if fishing tickles your fancy. Explore the rugged cliffs keys and see stacks around Kid Island, a testament to the strength and relentlessness of Mother Nature.  Maybe the INIS GÉ ISLAND EXPERIENCE Hop on board “Wavesweeper 2” at Blacksod Pier and prepare to tackle the Atlantic swells on the route to Inis Gé South.  Experience the crystal clear waters surrounding an island rich in history and heritage. David and his team will guide you and let you walk in the footsteps of those who called this remote Island home and visit the ruins of their ancient dwellings. 
 
 
29. Turas Siar Language & Culture Research Centre
Contact: Patrick and Kathryn Murphy 
Tel: +353 (0)97 85011  
Email: turas.siar@yahoo.ie
 
Turas Siar is a Language and Culture Research Centre situated in the beautiful village of Cartron Turas Siar – meaning journey back in time, aptly explains what you will encounter on your visit. Patrick and Kathryn Murphy dedicate themselves to providing a warm and homely atmosphere, an open fire where you can sit around and talk about the local history, culture and traditions of the area and discuss the genealogy and ancestry of the people who live and lived on the peninsula.
Kathryn with her background in genealogical research and Patrick a native Irish speaker, local historian (and previously a fisherman in the bay beyond their door) share their stories of changing times and the lives of people on the coast.  You will have the opportunity to browse through the many photographs of local people, places and past events. There is also a substantial collection of books on the general area, a large collection of 1937/8 children’s school folklore, local crafts and artefacts. Your joy is that you can take as long as you please to browse this Aladdin’s Cave of local history.
 
 
30. Ceathrú Thaidhg Guided Walking Tours
Tel:  +353 (0)97 88082 / +353 (0)87 1251642
 
Ceathrú Thaidhg, a place where stunning coastal backdrops are visible at every turn. A day spent in the region will leave you yearning to return, to catch glimpses of glistening or tumultuous seas (depending on when you visit), magnificent sea stacks, Iron age promontory forts on rising headlands and hidden inlets and where many ships faltered along the craggy coastline in years past. The area is rich in history and the geology of the region references the coastline of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland with the spectacular sea stacks (Stags of Broadhaven) 1.6 billion years old. The series of planned and way-marked walking routes enables you to take in this splendour whether a seasoned walker or a novice. With distances between 5kms and 13 kms on the routes ranging from moderate to difficult you can choose a walk to suit you.  Treasa Ní Ghearraigh dunchaochain1@eircom.net
  
31. Gaol Siar
Contact: Barbara Heneghan 
Tel: +353 (0)87 2169625 
Email: eolas@gaolsiar.com
 
Gaol Siar is Gaelic for 'connecting  west'. Barbara will take you on a Celtic Heritage Tour  which will transport you back in time through the ancient Celtic sites which pepper the Blacksod peninsula.   Or take Gaol Siar’s Guided Lighthouse Tour which takes you out to the far tip of the Blacksod peninsula where Ireland meets the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Barbara tells the story of the Blackrock and Eagle Island lighthouses and their keepers, one of which was her own father. The Lighthouse visit is followed by a guided walk along Deirbhile’s Loop (Luib Deirbhile) which includes ancient Celtic and Christian sites and the local folklore and mythology that surrounds them. You will leave the day with a new-found understanding of the role of these key buildings and their continued relevance to people who live on and at the ocean’s edge. 
 
 
32. Wild Atlantic Tours Erris - Agatha Hurst
Contact: Agatha Hurst, Wild Atlantic Tours, Erris 
Tel: +353 (0)87 6482793
 
Giants like Ciortán, Caochán and Dómhnall;  Erris boasts many myths and legends of 'larger than life' characters who once roamed the land. (and you might even meet a modern one on your travels!)
- The Inis Gé Islands hold a wealth of Early Christian remains. Also still to be seen here are the shells (Purpura) that were once used to make a special purple dye that travelled as far east as Byzantium. In 1946, French archaeologist Francoise Henry excavated evidence of a 7th century AD dye workshop on Inishkea North where the monks in an early Christian Monastery were producing it from the shells of the dog whelk. The dye fetched high prices at the time it was in high demand. One letter in the Book of Kells would take 500 shells to get enough colour to decorate it. Purple was very important because in early Irish laws only the royalty could wear purple. The tradition came from the Roman tradition, who took it from the Greeks, who borrowed that tradition from the Phoenicians.
 
Erris is a bird-watchers' paradise with rare and wonderful birds like the Corncrake, Phalarope and Snowy Owl who may be spotted if you know where to look!
-There are many beautiful beaches, coves and cliffs along the Erris coast where I have spent much of my life exploring and looking out to sea from. It is always a great pleasure for me to share some of these secrets and pass on my knowledge of our local environment and the importance of protecting it for future generations.
-There are many Gaeilgeoirí (native Irish speakers) in Erris who have the most beautiful  canúint (dialect) in Ireland. Come on a turas (journey) with me and use your cúpla focail, or learn more as I am  qualified múinteoir Gaeilge (Irish teacher).There are many more little treasures hidden around Erris and it would be a shame to spoil the fun of exploring without an expert guide.
  
33. Lúnasa Handmade Crafts
Contact: Rosaleen Bond 
Tel: +353 (0)83 1339797
 
Lúnasa Handmade Crafts is a craft shop and workshop space in Belmullet town. Featuring an inviting range of both traditional and contemporary crafts combined with regular craft workshops Rosaleen Bond (originally from the UK) has returned to her ancestral home to develop her business. She is passionate about reviving traditional crafts and in ensuring participation in craft-making regardless of skill level. She has developed a series of experiences which ensure that you leave Lúnasa with something made by your own hands, from crocheting and decoupage to glass decoration and ceramic painting, the craftsperson in you will be inspired. 
  
34. Duvillaun Horse Riding Centre 
Contact: Margaret & Pat Geraghty 
Tel: +353 (0)97 85811
 
A experience not to be missed, galloping on horseback along the blue flag beaches on the Erris Pennisula. The spray of the wild atlantic in your face, an experience for riders of all levels. 
  
35. Element Kite Surfing
Tel: +353 (0)86 2463358 
Web: info@elementskitesurfing.com
 
Erris is exposed to the rolling Atlantic waves and adrenaline water sports junkies love to challenge themselves here! Kitesurfing is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world. Learn how to glide along the water at high speeds with experienced instructors from Elements Kitesurfing. 
  
36. Lighthouse Drive
Contact: Errisbeo
 
There are four lighthouses in Erris - Ballyglass, Eagle Island, Blackrock and Blacksod. Blacksod Lighthouse is unusual because it is a square building (one of only two in Europe) and it is on the mainland. Having four lighthouses in one area is unique and this is symbolised by a sculpture in the heart of Béal an Mhuirthead [Belmullet].
  
37. Claggan Island Self Catering 
Contact: Laurence Howard 
 
Belmullet CoastGuard Station,Luxury self catering accommodation on Claggan Island,aggan island is a beautiful, scenic island which is connected to the mainland via a causeway. It is ideal for people who want to get away for a peaceful holiday. The island is 150 acres approx and offers some amazing views of Achill & the Mullet peninsula. The Island offers some beautiful walks along miles of sandy beaches. A walk around the North side of the Island is a must, where Seals and Otters can be spotted from the cliff top. Various birds can also be observed. Rock fishing is a relaxing way to pass an evening. Caves can be explored at low tide (seek local advice before setting off) 
 
38. Clew Bay Bike Hire ‘Greenway to Seaway’
Discover the Wild Atlantic Way from sea and shore. Cycle 30km from Westport to Mulranny on the ‘Great Western Greenway’. Enjoy a well-deserved lunch with local award-winning produce while overlooking Mulranny’s Blue Flag beach and causeway, all the while keeping an eye out for the fishing boat which will take you on a scenic tour of Clew Bay. With majestic Croagh Patrick as your backdrop, keep an eye out for dolphins and seals and perhaps try a spot of angling. The boat delivers you back to Westport Quay. 
 
39. Achill Smoked Salmon
Gerry Hassett 
 
Gerard and Julie Hassett started smoking Wild Atlantic Salmon as well as Mackeral, Herring, Cod and Pollock in 1985, in their Smokehouse based in Pollagh, Achill Island.
As demand grew, stocks of Wild Salmon declined and a gradual switch to farmed Salmon occurred, especially as the highly rated Clare Island Salmon is on our doorstep.
With the abolishment of drift-netting for Wild Salmon, production is now totally from "Irish Salmon" farmed by Marine Harvest Ltd. and Clare Island Organic is the premium product in our range which also includes Oak-Roasted BBQ Salmon.
Keem Bay Fish Products has developed from a cottage industry supplying locally to a successful agri-fisheries business supplying international customers. They have sold in Ireland, Europe and further afield. We pride ourselves on our quality and customer service and are proud to have lots of repeat custom. All of our stock is freshly prepared and guaranteed to meet all quality standards.
 
40. Seaweed foraging
Explore the shoreline of Achill Island with Annette O'Leary, a true forager. Learn about the shoreline ecosystem, find your own feast of sea vegetables and learn how to get the best out of your stash, from cosmetic uses to cooking.
 
41. Slievemore protestant colony
One of Achill's most famous historical sites is that of the Achill Mission or 'the Colony' at Dugort. In 1831 the Protestant Reverend Edward Nangle founded a proselytising mission at Dugort. The Mission included schools, cottages, an orphanage, a small hospital and a hotel (now the Slievemore Hotel). The 'Colony' was very successful for a time and regularly produced a newspaper called the 'Achill Missionary Herald'. The Reverend Nangle expanded his mission into Mweelin, where a 'school' was built. The Achill Mission began to decline slowly after Nangle was moved from Achill and was finally closed in the 1880's. Edward Nangle died in 1883.
 
42. Heritage on horseback with Island View Riding Stables & Eithna’s by the Sea
Mullaghmore, Co Sligo
Contact: Eithna O’Sullivan
Tel: 00 353 (0)86 8515607
Email: eithnaosullivan@gmail.com
Web: www.bythesea.ie
 
Leave behind all your worries and taste the salty sea air on super friendly horses and ponies as you visit hidden golden beaches below Classiebawn Castle, Mullaghmore. Work up an appetite for delicious shellfish and surprising seaweed dishes, served in ‘Eithna’s by the Sea’ an award-winning, cosy seaside restaurant where everything from the decor to the warm welcome is generated by Eithna’s commitment to place, community and excellence through food and local heritage. Simple local food cooked gloriously with tales to tell about the area from which it comes. 
 
43. History as told by the local historian
Mullaghmore, Co Sligo
Contact: Joe McGowan
Tel: +353 (0)87 6674522
Email: joemcgowan@sligoheritage.com
Web: www.sligoheritage.com
 
The legendary Joe Mc Gowan, historian, author, and dedicated preserver of Ireland’s and Mullaghmore’s disappearing traditions and customs, happily shares his knowledge of local lore, in his own unique way, whilst taking you through a journey in time to the Mullaghmore of today gathered around the tables at Eithna’s, or touring through the village.
 
 
44. Flora and Fauna and mariners tales
Mullaghmore, Co Sligo
Contact: Trudy Lomax
Tel: 00 353 71 91 66124
Email: Tlomax@eircom.net
 
Let Trudy Lomax, enthusiastic wild flower and wild orchid expert, opens your eyes to the beauty beneath your feet, ensuring you step carefully with new found knowledge. Rodney her husband takes pride in showing you around his well-preserved traditional timber boat building yard, one of the few still in existence in Ireland, hidden at the back of his small marina where the more modern yachts come to moor over winter.
 
45. ‘Seaweed Days in Sligo’
Streedagh, Co Sligo
Contact: Prannie Rhatigan
Email: rhatigandoc@eircom.net
Web: www.prannie.com
 
Prannie shares her passion and knowledge for seaweed with her interactive seaweed guide book, ‘The Irish Seaweed Kitchen’ and ‘Seaweed Days in Sligo’ which links Streedagh Beach and Mullaghmore. Join enthusiastic seaweed lovers as they forage along the shore enjoying Prannie’s demonstrations and share tasting plates of seaweed in dishes produced at Eithna’s by the Sea. The Seaweed Tasting Plate is most popular as is Eithna’s Wild Atlantic Seaweed Pesto.
 
46. Seals at Play
Sligo Boat Charters, Rosses Point, Co Sligo
Contact: Daryl Ewing
Tel: 00 353 (0)86 8913618
Email: darylmaceoin@gmail.com
Web: www.sligoboatcharters.com
 
Sligo Bay boasts an impressive variety of sea life and the large grey seal colony on the Seal Rocks is a definite highlight. Seal Rocks are located a short boat ride from Rosses Point and the grey seals here can weigh up to a massive 660lbs.  The friendly, knowledgeable skipper will answer all your questions when you get there and if you’re lucky the seals might come right up to the boat. There are also occasional sightings of dolphins, porpoises, sunfish, basking shark and whales. The trip passes by the famous ‘Metal Man’, Oyster Island and Coney Island and through the picturesque inner Sligo Bay. Trips are weather dependant so booking is essential.
 
47. Innishmurray monastic island
Sligo Boat Charters, Rosses Point, Co Sligo
Contact: Daryl Ewing
Tel: 00 353 (0)86 8913618
Email: darylmaceoin@gmail.com
Web: www.sligoboatcharters.com
 
Inishmurray Island boasts one of the best examples of early Christian settlement in Ireland and beyond. Founded In the early 6th century by St Molaise, and inhabited until 1948, it remained until recently a pilgrimage destination and preserved examples of ancient oratorys, clochans, churches, cross slabs, bee hive cells and other ecclesiastical buildings can be seen in the impressively walled main cashel area. Attacked by Vikings in 807 and boasting strong links to saints and patrons such as St Colmcille, the island remains one of Sligo's hidden gems and is only accessible by boat in favourable weather. Come equipped with a picnic and good walking boots. Guides and map provided. Booking is essential.
 
48. The Split Rock
Easkey, Co Sligo
Contact: Cliodhna Gilligan, Discover Enniscrone
Email: discoverenniscrone@gmail.com
Web: www.discoverenniscrone.com
 
13km from Enniscrone is the surfer village of Easkey. Outside the village, in the townland of Kileenduff, is where you will find the Ice Age boulder known locally as ‘Split Rock’. Local legend tells that the rock was split during an argument between two giants, one of whom was Fionn MacCumhaill,  on the Slieve Gamph mountain’s (Ox Mountains). Legend has it that if a person walks through the rock three times the rock will close. 
 
49. Enniscrone Castle
Easkey, Co Sligo
Contact: Cliodhna Gilligan, Discover Enniscrone
Email: discoverenniscrone@gmail.com
Web: www.discoverenniscrone.com
 
Enniscrone Castle, scene of battles, treachery and sieges now lies in ruins. Built in the late 14th century by the O’Dowda, rulers of north Connacht, it was captured by the Burkes of Mayo in 1512, only to be besieged and demolished by the O’Donnell’s of Donegal. The O’Dowda rebuilt the castle and subsequently it was occupied by Mac Donnells’, the Croftons’ who remodelled it to a more turreted house style, and the Nolans’. During the 1641 rebellion it was commandeered by a David O’Dowd but was recaptured by parliamentarian troops led by Sir Charles Coote in 1645. Through the Cromwellian Settlement, the castle and 65,000 acres of land were granted to Sir Francis Gore. The Gores’ were succeeded by the Orme family but the castle became dilapidated and fell into ruin. 
 
50. Coastal Walk in the footprint of General de Humbert
Easkey, Co Sligo
Contact: Cliodhna Gilligan, Discover Enniscrone
Email: discoverenniscrone@gmail.com
Web: www.discoverenniscrone.com
 
One can look out over the bay towards Killcummin Head (Benwee) where the French troops of General Humbert’s army first landed on August 22nd, 1798 to assist in the Irish rebellion against the English. With only 1,100 troops and local support, Humbert secured a number of spectacular victories, including the taking of Castlebar. However, the rebellion had been more or less put down elsewhere in Ireland and Humbert was soon surrounded and forced to surrender on September 8th. More French ships arrived in the bay later that month but realising they were too late headed home.
 
51. Wild Atlantic Butterfly Route
Contact: JJ O'Hara
Tel:  +353 (0) 86 0716968
Email: usgireland@gmail.com
Web: www.leitrimBandb.com
 
An amazing trip the most hidden places in Ireland’s north west with breathtaking views of counties Leitrim, Sligo, Cavan and Fermanagh – an  ancient landscape full of heritage with a mythical, magical past that is a feast for the senses. Locals will share their stories describing their favourite places on the tour with a real passion and a love of the area. The tour includes restaurants, activities, attractions, accommodation, arts and crafts so  plan your journey in advance or, take a lane less travelled while viewing your app or taking advice over a cuppa in a local coffee shop.  The iconic attractions on the route include: Parke’s Castle,Dromahair, Co. Leitrim, Hamilton’s Castle, Manorhamilton, WB Yeats grave, Drumcliffe, Co. Sligo, Glencar Waterfall, Co. Leitrim Fowley’s Falls, Rossinver,Co. Leitirm The Burren, Blacklion, Co. Cavan, Marble Arch Caves, Co. Fermanagh
 
 
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