Visitors interested in exploring Ireland’s rich history of spirituality will find the Mayo North region an ideal base to discover Ireland’s sacred past and connect with ancient and modern religions.
The international gateway to the area – Ireland West Airport Knock – is just miles from one of the world’s leading Marian shrines at Knock village where an apparition of Our Lady, St.Joseph and St. John the Evangelist was reported in 1879. Knock has been a centre of pilgrimage for over one hundred years and has a modern Basilica and a museum. Pope John Paul II visited Knock Shrine in 1979.
Further north in the Moy Valley Region, there is striking evidence to be found of the areas prominence as a centre for disciples of Celtic spirituality. In the environs of Ballina lies a fascinating trail of monastic ruins dotted along the River Moy. The Augustinian Abbey in the centre of Ballina dates from 1427 while Rosserk Abbey was built for the 3rd Order of the Franciscans in 1440.
Pagan Worship and Megalithic tombs
A short trip away to county Sligo is Carrowmore, the largest assemblage of megalithic tombs in Europe. Close by is majestic Knocknarea mountain, topped by a cairn reputed to hold the tomb of Maeve – the ancient warrior Queen of Connaught. Here the link between myth and reality blurs as it remains the largest unopened megalithic tomb in Ireland.
Ireland’s patron saint, the world famous St. Patrick, is said to have lived in Mayo and Ballina and has a shrine to make the place where he is believed to have preached. The town’s historic Leigue cemetery has an early Celtic cross and church ruins dating back to before the 8th century.
Did you know?
The majestic Moyne Abbey has the markings of shops carved into its wall from when it was a centre of learning for scholars from home and abroad.