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Your summer in Ireland: 5 must-see sites in Mayo

Take our challenge and tick off as many glorious sites as you can this summer.

Statue at Downpatrick Head
Statue at Downpatrick Head
Image: Shutterstock/MatGo

EVERY CORNER OF Ireland has something unique to showcase – but how much of it have you seen?

TheJournal.ie has been chatting to heritage officers in every part of the country to compile their top five picks that they think you might enjoy visiting this summer.

Heritage includes monuments, archaeological or architectural objects, seascapes, wrecks, geology, inland waterways, gardens and parks.

We are publishing recommendations for every local authority area over the course of a fortnight, along with the details you need to know to plan your visit. Get motoring!


1. Moore Hall Estate and Forest Park

The estate here dates back to the late 1700s and was home to the Moore family.

Today visitors can visit the ruin of the house and enjoy the forest park walk which overlooks Lough Carra.

Amenities: There are toilet facilities and a car park as well as picnic tables. The majority of the site is wheelchair accessible.

Opening hours and costs: The park is FREE to visit and open daily from 7am-9pm.

shutterstock_753926527 Lakes at Moore Hall Source: Shutterstock/Aloneontheroad

2. Foxford Woollen Mills

Founded in 1892, authentic techniques are used here that have been passed down through generations in the west of Ireland.

An interactive tour of the mills provides visitors with an insight into how the mill is run.  You can also walk through the working factory to see weaving in action.

Amenities: There is a restaurant on site, parking and toilets. There is full wheelchair access.

Opening hours and costs: The mills are open on weekdays from 10am-4.30pm. Tours are in operation daily and cost €6 per adult, €5 for seniors/students and under 16s are free.

151 Fabric at the mills

3. Belleek Castle, Ballina 

The castle was built in a neo-gothic style in the early part of the 1800s on the site of a medieval abbey.

Today the castle is restored and visitors can explore the vast grounds and take a tour of the castle to hear the history and see the interiors, such as private dining rooms and the medieval banquet hall.

There is also the Marshall Doran collection, which includes a large display of fossils, armour and antiques.

Amenities: There is a restaurant, toilets and parking facilities. The castle has wheelchair access.

Opening hours and costs: The castle is open daily from 11am-4pm and tours are at 11am, 2pm and 4pm. The tour costs €10 for adults, €7.50 for children and a family ticket is €30. 

Belleek Castle Museum Belleek Castle

4. Dun Briste at Downpatrick Head, Ballycastle 

The sea stack is 150 feet tall and was formed around 350 million years ago.

The isolated stack is home to wildlife such as black backed seagulls, kittiwakes and puffins.

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The stack can be viewed from Downpatrick Head where there are archaeological monuments such as forts, church ruins and ring-barrows from the Bronze Age.

Amenities: There are no facilities on the site and wheelchair access is limited. There are nearby facilities and parking.

Opening hours and costs: The sites are FREE to visit and open daily. Online donations are welcome.

shutterstock_656577778 Dun Briste at Downpatrick head Source: Shutterstock/Hugh O'Connor

5. The Tale of the Tongs, Inishturk 

A US architecture architecture professor, Travis Price, has been building mythological portals in remote areas of Mayo and other, further flung, parts of the world since the start of the century.

This eight foot high sculpture represents the past and present of the culture and community of the island.

Source: Mark Kerrins/YouTube

Thanks to Mayo County Council tourism office for recommendations.

TOMORROW: Top 5 must-sees in Meath.

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