Welcome to County Mayo Hotels Guide
Home Page | Mayo
County Mayo has a unique identity that is distinctive from other Irish counties, particularly in its scenery and its people who seem a world apart from Dublin and the busy tourist centre of Killarney. The course and rugged mountainous terrain of Mayo served as a barrier to English invaders in the past and is today the county's foremost attraction alongside its low population density. Bordering Sligo to the east and Galway's enchanting Connemarra Region to the south, County Mayo abounds in natural landscapes, secluded bays and fresh water lakes to engage in favourite leisure pursuits from course angling to water sports.
One of the most popular and frequented centres is Westport straddling the shores of Clew Bay in South Mayo. With its unique main street known as The Mall featuring a river running down the middle, this picture postcard resort consists of two districts, Westport Town and Westport Quay, providing an excellent holiday base for exploring the surrounding countryside and the various treasures that the town has at its doorstep. In Westport Quay, the most noted place of interest is the Clew Bay Heritage Centre, home to a fine array of historical documents and artefacts such as the spinning wheel given by Ballina's inhabitants to Maud Gonne, an influential political rebel who was much revered by poet and dramatist Yeats. It also includes a genealogical service to trace your ancestors of Mayo origin. On the outskirts of town is Westport House dating from 1730 and constructed on the site of a former O'Malley Castle. The former home of English aristocracy, the Brownes during the reign of Elizabeth 1, Westport House contains an exquisite collection of frescoes and ornate period features inside and a zoo within its grounds.
County Mayo is home to Our Lady's shrine in Knock, one of world's largest Marian shrines and is Ireland's equivalent to Lourdes in France and Fatima in Portugal. Annually drawing in more than one and half million visitors each year, Knock is an important pilgrimage for the Catholic faith, commemorating the site where local woman apparently witnessed the sight of Mary, Joseph and St John the Evangelist appearing in the light of the church's southern face, today known as the Church of the Apparition. Historic visits to Knock have included Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Mother Theresa in 1993, firmly confirming this once undistinguished village as sacred as the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem. A small regional airport serves the town with scheduled and charter flights from Dublin, UK and Europe as well as an excellent provision of accommodation and amenities catering for all budgets.
For outdoor aficionados and those seeking a peaceful sanctuary to escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life, Mayo is second to none for its tranquillity and enchanting beauty spots. A popular pilgrimage for trekkers is 765 metres Croagh Patrick Mountain situated to the southwest of Westport. According to legend, this is the mountain in which St. Patrick drove serpents out of Ireland. The busiest time of year is Reek Sunday, the last Sunday of July when the fully contrite embark on the trek along the 40km path from Ballintubber before ascending the mountain barefoot. The rivers and lakes in North Mayo are home to some of Europe's best-stocked salmon rivers, including River Moy where the best fishing can be found is from June to August. Marvel at spectacular wildlife such as grey seals and otters vying for their catch along the banks of this fresh water river as you fish near the coast. Equally, Lough Conn and Lough Cullin , south-west of the Ballina are home to a an abundant selection of fisheries and boat hire places to engage in course fishing or lough cruises amidst the backdrop of stunning mountainous landscapes.
Connected to the mainland by a road bridge, Achill Island is the largest of all islands off the Irish coast and is indeed one of the most sparsely populated for its size, home to only 3500 people. Largely untouched by tourism almost throughout the 20th Century, things are changing for this remote island community that was ravaged by famine in the 19th Century, resulting in depopulation en masse. The island has some stunning swathes of golden sands that have been awarded blue-flag status and normally deserted except in good weather in the summer months. Now firmly placed on the map, Achill Island is an excellent part of Mayo for activity holidays where you can enjoy scuba diving, hand-gliding, sea angling and of course trekking around its rugged terrain and cliff-top coastal scenery. Distinctively Irish and sustaining its Gaeltacht heritage and culture, Mayo is home to some of Ireland's most unspoilt scenery and beckons your visit at any time of the year. Sample the treasures of this magnificent county in Ireland's Atlantic Coast and experience the warmth of its people who assure to greet you with their distinctive Connaught hospitality.
© GNWS Ltd 2002 to 2011.