Great to be back on the road with you all again and delighted to be exploring Mayo this week, another Irish treasure trove with it’s wealth of beautiful beaches, majestic mountains and fairytale castles. Let’s start with it’s best known peak;
1. Croagh Patrick
From the Irish Cruach Phádraig, meaning “(Saint) Patrick’s Stack”, Croagh Patrick stands at 2057 feet, 5 miles from the bustling town of Westport. Mayo’s 3rd highest mountain but undoubtedly it’s most famous and holiest. Legend has it that it was from here that St Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland and fasted for 40 days as penance. To this day, flocks of pilgrims from all over the world gather at the mountain on the last Sunday in July. As penance, some pilgrims climb the mountain bare-footed to truly follow in the steps of Ireland’s patron saint. The views over Clew Bay at the summit are breathtaking.
2. Ashford Castle
The time now for a castle visit and this is certainly one of Ireland’s finest. Ashford Castle is a classic example of a medieval castle with all the charm and grandeur you would expect from such a stunning building. Situated in Cong, the first castle to be built on this site was in 1228 by the Anglo-Norman House of Burke. It was later owned by the Guinness family and gifted to the Irish Government in 1939. Today it is one of the Leading Hotels of The World where you can enjoy the finest 5-star luxury. Our cousins in America account for 60% of the guests today-you guys really know how to do it in style! Famous guests include Oscar Wilde, John Lennon and Princess Grace to name but a few. It’s first class sophistication and elegance is second to none.
Speaking of sophistication, the stunning Ashford Table Set by Galway Crystal shares it’s named with Ireland’s much-loved castle and as you would expect, it exudes classic, timeless elegance. It takes your dining experience to a whole new level.
3. The Quiet Man
Staying in Cong, we simply have to visit the setting for one of Ireland’s much-loved movies, The Quiet Man. Full to the brim of Irish charm, this classic romantic comedy starring John Wayne and our very own Maureen O’Hara is a heartfelt, nostalgic tribute by director John Ford to his Irish roots.
3. Foxford Woollen Mills
We can’t leave Mayo without a visit to an Irish craft institution and one of my favourite makers at The Irish Store. In the heart of County Mayo on the banks of the River Moy, stands the renowned Foxford Woolen Mills, Ireland’s oldest working mill and the makers of world famous woven rugs and scarves. Here’s one of my favourites from our Irish blanket collection.
5. Achill Island
Time for a little Irish Island-hopping now as we cross the bridge from the mainland at Westport and step onto Ireland’s largest island, Achill. Marvel at the towering sea-cliffs, gorgeous beaches and awesome mountains. The air is clean, the welcome is warm and you can really get away from it all and discover a real sense of peace and tranquillity here.
6. Céide Fields
Time to step back to Neolithic times with a visit to Ceide Fields. This archaeological site near Ballycastle boasts the oldest field system in the world dating back some 5500 years! It’s an amazing insight into our Stone Age ancestors and how they lived and the award-winning visitor center shines a fascinating light onto this ancient Irish way of life.
7. Mulranny Beach
Let’s finish with a nice invigorating walk on the beach. And what a beach! Golden sands, Atlantic waves and a rare saltwater marsh nearby. Pure bliss!
Well, that’s all from me. I really enjoy our jaunts together and look forward to continuing our journeys around our beloved island.
In the meantime, why not indulge in a little retail therapy and shop the very best of Irish with a 10% discount sitewide. Just use the code BLOG10 at the checkout.
Slán go fóill!
The Irish Store Founder