Mayo Travel Guide: Top Things to do in Mayo

Get ready to be inspired by the endless possibilities of adventure and exploration in Mayo and beyond!

Discover the captivating beauty of County Mayo, located on the stunning west coast of Ireland! This guide is designed to help you make the most of your visit, with a variety of activities and attractions that cater to every interest. 

From hiking and biking through breathtaking landscapes to exploring charming coastal towns and discovering ancient ruins, there is no shortage of adventure to be had. Experience the wonder of Clew Bay, home to picturesque small islands such as Clare Island. 

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Westport, where stunning Georgian architecture and the legendary Westport House await you. For those seeking a spiritual experience, climb the iconic Croagh Patrick, a mountain steeped in myth and legend, and linked to the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick himself. 

Whatever your desires, Mayo and beyond have something special to offer every visitor. Get ready for a remarkable journey full of excitement and inspiration!

Westport House and Gardens

Westport House and Gardens

Westport House, considered one of the most stunning homes in Ireland, is a must-see when visiting County Mayo. This beloved attraction offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in both adventure and history while taking in unparalleled Irish beauty. 

This national treasure is one of the last privately owned historic houses in Ireland, built in the 18th century on foundations belonging to Grace O’Malley, the notorious pirate queen. With its fascinating history and rich culture, Westport House is truly a feast for the senses.

As you tour this 300-year-old home, set within 400 acres of unspoiled beauty, you will feel yourself transported back in time. Your guides, who are passionate and knowledgeable, will share hidden secrets and stories about the house and its previous inhabitants. 

From tales of kings and queens to stories of pirates and slave emancipators, you will be captivated by the incredible history of Westport House. Furthermore, the house also houses a 3,000-year-old Greek sarcophagus, as well as a collection of beautiful art, making it a true cultural hub.

Additionally, visitors to Westport House are invited to explore the enchanting Westport Estate. A walk through the gardens, along restored pathways, and immersing oneself into the wild natural landscape this estate boasts, allows one to fully appreciate the majestic grandeur of Westport House. In summary, a visit to Westport House is an unforgettable experience, filled with adventure, history, and unbeatable Irish beauty.

Great Western Greenway

Great Western Greenway

Looking to explore the stunning natural beauty of the West of Ireland? Why not rent a bike in the charming town of Westport and take a leisurely ride along the Great Western Greenway? 

This picturesque 49 km cycle track is completely traffic-free and follows the scenic route of the old Westport to Achill Island Railway. 

As you make your way through the stunning countryside, you will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the majestic Nephin Beg mountains and the sparkling waters of Clew Bay, which lead all the way to the iconic pilgrimage site of Croagh Patrick. 

The Greenway passes through delightful towns such as Newport, Mulranny, and Achill Island, before ending in the peaceful village of Cashel. Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or a complete beginner, pre-booked transfers are available to drop you off and pick you up at any stage, so you can tailor your perfect ride. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable way to experience the natural wonders of Ireland’s West Coast!

Clare Island and Inishturk

Clare Island

When venturing to the western part of the country, why not consider adding a day trip to one of Mayo’s hidden island gems? Offering a stunning backdrop of natural beauty and untouched landscapes, Inishturk and Clare Island should definitely be on your list of places to explore! 

Hop on a ferry from Roonagh Pier, located just half an hour away from Westport, and make your way towards the stunning blue waters of Clew Bay. Once there, be sure to wander along the pristine beaches and soak up the tranquillity of the surroundings. 

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for our feathered friends as you might witness puffins and peregrine falcons soaring above the northern cliffs. Clare Island is an absolute must-visit spot as well, with an abundance of exciting activities ranging from hiking trails to exploratory tours. 

In order to get a better understanding of this charming location, be sure to check out our article dedicated to Clare Island before packing your bags!

Achill Island

Achill Island

Achill Island is a beautiful destination located off the coast of Mayo, Ireland. It offers visitors a chance to experience various natural wonders such as cliffs, beaches, and blanket bog. Its rich history is evidenced by various megalithic tombs, castles, and the deserted villages of Slievemore and Ailt. 

The Island features the renowned 40km-long Atlantic Drive and the Great Western Greenway track for cycling, walking, and running enthusiasts. Visitors can also engage in activities like fishing, kayaking, and surfing. 

Throughout the year, the Island plays host to various festivals and markets, where art enthusiasts can explore and experience its distinctive craft shops and galleries. To visit Achill Island, one can take a car from the Corraun Peninsula and enjoy the beauty that the Island has to offer.

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Keel Beach

Keel Beach

If you are planning to visit the west coast of Ireland, don’t miss the stunning Keel Beach in County Mayo. Located on the northwest side of Achill Island, this beach is a magnificent 3.5km long stretch of shingle sand known as Trawmore Strand. 

The beach boasts low sand dunes and wetter areas of machair, which are home to various low-growing mosses. To the southeast, visitors can admire the rising hills covered in blanket bog and heath.

Keel Beach is a water sports haven, where visitors can indulge in various activities such as diving, snorkelling, scuba diving, canoeing, surfing, water skiing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, and, of course, swimming. 

For those who prefer a relaxing walk, a stroll on the beautiful beach with stunning views of Slievemore and the Mweelaun Cliffs is highly recommended.

The beach is safe, and lifeguards are on duty every summer from June to August. You can find their contact information on the noticeboard at the beach. Visitors can easily access the nearby villages of Keel, Dooagh, and Doogort, or drive towards Bunacurry and follow the signposts to the village of Keel. 

Keel Beach is a must-visit destination that guarantees a unique and unforgettable experience.

Wild Nephin National Park

Nephin National Park

Wild Nephin National Park is a must-see attraction for anyone who loves nature, breathtaking landscapes, and a serene environment. This stunning park sits majestically in the north-western part of County Mayo, sprawling over an impressive 15,000 hectares of unspoiled wilderness characterized by Atlantic blanket bog and mountainous terrain. 

Since its establishment in 1998, Wild Nephin National Park has quickly established itself as one of the primary tourist destinations in Ireland, and with good reason too. This natural wonderland boasts of one of the last intact active blanket bog systems in Ireland and Western Europe – a spectacle to behold! 

The park is dominated by the imposing Nephin Beg mountain range and the vast Owenduff bog, providing an unforgettable experience for hikers and nature lovers alike. 

The Visitor Centre, located in the picturesque village of Ballycroy, offers visitors a chance to learn about the park’s landscape and habitats, see different species of plants and animals, and enjoy a myriad of amenities like toilets, picnic areas, and a cafeteria. 

Visitors can still access the park’s famous trails and attractions during winter months, offering a unique chance to explore this maze of scenic wonders in their natural winter coats. For an even better interactive experience, try out the park’s interactive map that highlights different interest points within the park, making your visit even more memorable.

Keem Bay

Keem Bay

Nestled in a breathtakingly secluded location, there lies an irresistible gem of a beach, affectionately known as “Keem Bay.” Situated on the largest of Ireland’s numerous islands, Achill Island, this idyllic spot lies nestled in a beautiful valley, guarded by towering cliffs and mountains. 

Located in a magnificent setting between the imposing Benmore cliffs in the west and the majestic Croaghaun Mountain to the east, Keem Bay offers unparalleled access to a truly remarkable natural beauty.

For those who love to make a splash, Keem Bay is a must-see destination. It is an ideal location for thrilling water sports, and local surfing schools offer instruction tailored to all levels of experience. 

For visitors’ safety, especially during the swimming season, expert lifeguards keep a watchful eye on the beach and provide additional guidance on the notice boards. So why wait? Visit Keem Bay today and discover the magic this beach has to offer.

Barony of Erris

Barony of Erris

The Barony of Erris is truly a haven for any passionate fisherman, as it offers a wonderful array of fishing opportunities. This breathtaking region boasts vast and expansive sea coasts that are home to more than 40 different types of fish species, ensuring that all your fishing ventures are met with a bountiful catch. 

Not only that, but the strategic location of the barony also allows for serene inland waterways, such as rivers and lakes, that offer an eco-rich environment for culturally significant salmon and trout fishing experiences. 

The diverse landscapes that the barony offers are also a real testament to the unparalleled beauty of this Irish gem, with rugged coastlines and picturesque views that are guaranteed to take your breath away. So, whether you prefer sea fishing or shore angling, the Barony of Erris has all your ideal fishing spots covered- all for you to explore at your leisure.

National Museum of Country Life

National Museum of Country Life

This is an outstanding free museum! We’re delighted to share with you that this museum is so rich in experiences that it can take up a significant part of your day – of course, only if you want to savour every little moment of it. 

You’ll get a chance to travel back in time and experience life as it used to be for the countryside folks. The exhibits are captivating and showcase intricate details of their dress code, language, and how they kept their beautiful traditions alive. You’ll be awestruck by the depth of the knowledge that awaits you here. 

Visiting this museum is truly an essential and exhilarating experience that you shouldn’t miss out on! So come on in and join us for an enriching journey through time!

Céide Fields

Céide Fields

Discover the fascinating geology, archaeology, botany, and wildlife of North Mayo at the renowned Céide Fields Visitor Centre located on the Belderrig road (R314) near Ballycastle. 

The Centre offers an immersive experience through audio-visual presentations and exhibitions that passionately showcase the region’s natural wonders. The distinctive pyramid-shaped building, with a glazed lantern apex, is a combination of limestone and peat cladding. 

In 1993, it was opened by the Office of Public Works and later awarded the Irish Building of the Year award, jointly organized by The Sunday Times and the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI). 

The Céide Fields is a 1,500-hectare archaeological site containing stone walls, field systems, enclosures, and tombs dating back 5,000 years, making it the most extensive Stone Age site in the world. The bog is also home to a diverse range of flora, which holds international significance and is surrounded by remarkable rock formations and cliffs, specific to Ireland.

Downpatrick Head

Downpatrick Head

Nestled just a few brisk kilometres to the north of the quaint and picturesque Ballycastle village rests the wondrous and windswept outcrop – Downpatrick Head. This hidden gem boasts of its astounding coastal walk that will tantalise your senses and leave you rejuvenated. 

The undulating terrain offers a magnificent panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean, which is the perfect companion for your beachside stroll.

Downpatrick derived its name from the legend surrounding Saint Patrick. A church founded by St. Patrick once stood on this small peninsula, and the ruins of this ancient church building stand prominently even today, alongside a stone cross and a glistening holy well. 

It was believed to have been one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations during times of yore. Garland Sunday – the last Sunday in July, still sees throngs of devotees gather at this holy site to hear Mass and bask in the tranquil aura of this sacred place.

Fast forward to the recent years and Downpatrick Head became a lookout post during World War II. Today, you can still feast your eyes on the magnificent stone building that served as a lookout and aerial marker – Éire 64. 

This stone marker was instrumental in guiding pilots and letting them know they were flying over the emerald isle. A true testament to the rich history that Downpatrick Head harbours.

Croagh Patrick

Croagh Patrick

Croagh Patrick, located in County Mayo, Ireland, has a rich history and is revered by many as a sacred site. It’s a place where St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is said to have endured a fast for forty days and forty nights. 

This gives the mountain a special significance, making it a traditional pilgrimage destination for many. This pilgrimage is taken by thousands of visitors each year.

Apart from the spiritual aspect, Croagh Patrick is a beautiful and picturesque mountain with stunning views from all angles. As you approach the mountain from the road, you can’t help but be awed by its natural wonder. 

Its imposing presence beckons you to explore. As you climb, you will experience the breathtaking views of the town of Westport and the surrounding countryside. Be sure to take your camera with you to capture the magnificence of the scenery.

All in all, Croagh Patrick is no ordinary mountain. It is a special and significant destination, a place of pilgrimage, a place for adventure, and a place to connect with nature. It is truly one of the top things to do in Mayo, Ireland, and a must-visit for anyone traveling to the Emerald Isle.

Visit the village of Cong

village of Cong

Must-see attractions in County Mayo

If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, why not embark on a journey to the charming village of Cong in County Mayo? This peaceful, picturesque location is not only steeped in beauty but also rich in cultural history. 

As a matter of fact, Cong served as the backdrop for the iconic 1952 Oscar-winning movie, “The Quiet Man,” featuring the legendary John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.

Once you arrive in Cong, make sure to schedule a visit to the magnificent Ashford Castle. This wondrous estate boasts some of the most splendid grounds in the land, and gives you the opportunity to get up close and personal with birds of prey! It’s also home to Ireland’s oldest school of falconry, where you can learn all about the ancient art of falconry.

After your session, why not take a leisurely boat ride on the shimmering waters of Lough Corrib? This spectacular lake is Ireland’s second-largest and promises an unforgettable experience every time you visit. With all this and so much more to explore, Cong is an adventure you won’t want to miss!

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Discover Irish Isle offers a range of resources to help visitors plan a trip to Ireland. Our blog post highlights the best things to do in the area and provides insider tips to ensure visitors have an unforgettable experience. 

We encourage you to explore our social media channels as well, where you can find additional information and travel inspiration. Trust our team of experts to guide you through the planning process and provide you with the tools you need to fully immerse yourself in the culture and attractions of Ireland.