North Mayo – Top Things To Do – (Ballycastle-Belderrig-Céide)

Posted in Connect on September 9, 2019.

The clifftop regions of Céide, Ballycastle and Belderrig provide some of the most staggeringly beautiful views on the Wild Atlantic Way, looking out onto the Atlantic Ocean & beyond. Home to some of the oldest settlers to Ireland, it is an area steeped in the traditions of the West of Ireland. An undisturbed landscape rich in native flora and fauna, the area is ideal to escape the rush of everyday life and find what inspires you!

1. Experience the panoramic views & bracing sea air at Downpatrick Head, where you can see the stunning Dún Briste sea-stack from the edge of the cliffs. Here, you’ll also spot a number of promontory forts, the remains of a church, and a WWII lookout post & EIRE land-marker.

2. Beneath the wild boglands of Mayo North lies the Céide Fields, the most extensive Stone Age monument in the world, consisting of field systems, dwelling areas and megalithic tombs over 6,000 years old. Learn the fascinating story of the world’s earliest farmers, and of their discovery by a local school-teacher.

3. Enjoy beautiful exhibitions at the renowned Ballinglen Arts Foundation, which plays host to local, Irish and international artists.

4. Explore the spectacular coastline of Mayo North by bicycle. Whether you prefer road racing or off-road cycling, you can take in the stunning scenery of these surroundings at your own pace and freedom.

5. Marvel at the ancient history & heritage of the area, which is rich in archaeological evidence from the Mesolithic era. Check out the Doonfeeney Standing Stones (the second highest in Ireland), see the Norman castle ruins in Ballinglen, or see if you can count how many court-tombs there are here (Mayo North has the highest concentration in Europe).

6. Have a go at turf-cutting! Find out how peat was traditionally cut with turf spades and learn about the Neolithic & Bronze Age farms in Belderrig.

7. Check out the wild Atlantic Ocean! Go swimming in Belderrig’s natural sea pool, or go paddling at the beach in Ballycastle. Or keep your feet on the rocks, and go fishing – see what you can catch!

8. Discover the Early Christian heritage of Mayo North. You’ll find the ruins of a church at Downpatrick Head. One of the oldest church buildings currently in operation in Belderrig’s St. Teresa’s Church (dating from 1869). Also, St. John’s Church of Ireland is one of the oldest buildings in Ballycastle.

9. Take to the trails: lace up your boots and enjoy a walk to Ballycastle Beach, or take the Sralagagh Loop Walk – a beautiful trail starting from Ballycastle. Or hike a section of the famous Western Way (which stretches all the way to County Galway).


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