Things to do in County Mayo

Choosing how to spend your time in Mayo could be the hardest part of the trip…aside from leaving that is!

You’ll find Mayo to be a wild and unspoilt county steeped in religious and historical significance, not to mention some highlights of coastal Ireland.

Savour Mayo’s Great Western Greenway

Top of our things to do in County Mayo? The area’s magnificent 42km Greenway. The route promises an idyllic adventure with almost entirely traffic-free countryside to yourself for walking or cycling.

With three distinct sections (Westport – Newport @ 12kim, Newport – Mulranny @ 18km and Mulranny – Achill @ 13km) the Greenway follows much of an old railway line closed in the 1930s.

You’ll discover picturesque villages and stunning coastal views.

You can even hire a bike to take in even more of the Mayo countryside. Our kind of adventure.

Head for Mayo’s Festival Town

The town of Westport is, in itself, an attraction there for the exploring.

Want to add an extra something to your time in Mayo? Head to one of numerous festivals in Westport, such as the Westport Food Festival, the Pirate Queen Festival, the Bluegrass and Folk Festival and many many more.

You’ll find Westport a good place to plan your adventuring as that Great Western Greenway is nearby, you’ll have your choice of fine beaches and a choice of family activities and playgrounds.

Beaches and Island Living

Sample Mayo Island Life..with a Difference

If you’ve read our article recommending Achill Island we’ll be preaching to the converted with this one!

But when to visit? If you can plan your trip at just the right time – June 7th – June 10th, to be precise – you can benefit from Achill’s Give It A Go event. This allows huge discounts on taster sessions of surfing, kayaking, hillwalking, seaweed baths, pitch-and-putt and even entry to the Achill Experience aquarium and visitor centre.

Visit Mayo’s New (Yes, New!) Beach

How could we not include this: in 2017, local people in Achill woke each morning to find that – over a period of weeks – a little more of a beach last seen 30 years ago had appeared.

The historic beach – Graham Greene is said to have written parts of The Heart of the Matter there during its last appearance – is a very welcome (if bizarre!) addition to island life and one well worth visiting.

You can also visit one of five Blue Flag beaches including the superb Keem Bay.

Sacred Places of County Mayo

Experience Spectacular Croaghaun

In our introduction to County Mayo we took a look at Knock Shrine and, of course, Croagh Patrick mountain.

But there’s something very special, too, about Croaghaun thanks to its dramatic cliffs and breathtaking mountain walk of around 5km.

A truly sensory experience, the area was described by The Irish Times in glowing terms: “In spring and summer the musical accompaniment of the skylarks singing high above you will gladden your heart as you press on up to the ridge.

“Once up at about 450 metres you start to see out over the back of the mountain. Far out to the northeast the golden beaches around Belmullet become visible. Almost straight ahead two tiny islands, one housing a lighthouse, can be seen.”

Explore Country Life in Castlebar

Mayo’s county town of Castlebar is home to the Country Life centre of the National Museum of Ireland.

Here, you can discovery traditional ways of life in Ireland – including trades, crafts, farming, country pursuits and festivals – in one location.

Admission is free and, although closed on Mondays, the site is open on Sunday afternoons and boasts shops and cafes.

The stunning building is home to the National Folklore Collection, is a top visitor destination in the West of Ireland and offers four floors of exhibitions and interactive displays.

On the same site you can also visit the neo Victorian Gothic mansion Turlough Park House and three beautifully restored rooms.

Beach horse riding

A World-Renowned Site

Witness a Place of Huge Religious Importance

Whether your interest is for reasons of faith or curiosity, a change to see how Knock Shrine – the site of apparitions of Mary and two saints in the 1870s – has integrated with modern life and today’s church.

Not only has the importance of the site led to the development of a busy airport nearby, opened to help with the flow of pilgrims to the area, but a museum and shop can be found too.

Knock Shrine itself is open all year round, however the main season for pilgrims takes place from end April to mid-October.