A collection of Irish material comprised of over 100,000 items that span 400 years, the Jackie Clarke Collection is the most important private collection of Irish historical material in public hands. Witness a dramatic narration from an original 1916 Proclamation of Independence or browse the vast collection which includes the tricolour cockade taken from the hat of Wolfe Tone by his captors in 1798 and letters from Michael Collins, Douglas Hyde, Charles Gavan Duffy, Michael Davitt and O’Donovan Rossa. As well as rare books, posters, political cartoons, pamphlets, handbills, maps, hunger strike material and personal items from Leaders of the 1916 Rising. The exhibit is located in Ballina on Pearse Street and deservingly leads our ‘Great Things to Do in Mayo North’ list!
For more information or to arrange bookings contact the Jackie Clarke Collection on 096 73508.
Set in 1,000 acres of woodland & forestry, on the banks of the River Moy, Belleek Castle stands as a symbol of a bygone era. Belleek Castle was built between 1825 and 1831, on the site of a medieval abbey. Take the fascinating tour which includes an explanation of the origins of the Castle and the history of its former owners, the Knox-Gore family. The highlight of the tour is the Marshall Doran Collection, which will take you down into the dungeons of the castle and showcase one of the finest collections of arms and armour, fossils, and antiques in Ireland. You will also see the Grace O’ Malley room and the last wolf shot in Connaught.
For more information or to arrange bookings contact Belleek Castle on 096 22400.
Mount Falcon is a luxury family run 4 star Country House Hotel set on an idyllic manicured estate. Begin your day with Afternoon Tea at the Residents Lounge prepared by Head Chef Daniel Willimont and his team. Practised on the grounds of the estate is the ancient tradition of Falconry which has been handed down for generations for over 4000 years. Visitors can enter into this world with Mount Falcon’s resident Falconers who will personally introduce you to the various birds of prey on display. Experience a Hawk Walk and share in the secrets of the birds hunting habits and their place in the ecosystem.
For more information or to arrange bookings contact Mount Falcon on 096 74472.
Experience the excitement of discovery and of hands-on research in the most intensely researched thirty kilometres of the entire Wild Atlantic Way. Based at the Belderrig Research and Study Centre visitors can participate in one, two or three day long archaeological experiences. You will be introduced to the excitement of discovery in the outdoor ‘laboratory’ with guided walks, demonstrations and hands-on data collection which includes turf cutting and other activities. Indoors at the Research Centre laboratories examine your findings with cutting-edge scientific equipment. Examine the ring patterns of the trees for knowledge of the age of the tree when it died, whether blown down, burnt or died of natural causes. Identify some of the billion grains of botanical information (pollen) contained in a sod of turf.
For more information and for bookings, visit belderrigvalley.com.
Originally founded by an Irish Sister of Charity in 1892, the fledgling woollen and textiles business at Foxford Woollen Mills overcame many challenges down through the years in order to survive. Enjoy an interactive journey through a turbulent and fascinating history, finishing with a tour of the working mill where master craftspeople are at work on some of the world’s finest weaves, using techniques and traditions passed down through generations to create contemporary blankets, garments and products that are sought after worldwide. Have lunch in the bright and airy gourmet café and restaurant where local ingredients are prepared by Head Chef Kathleen Lally, formerly of the Four Seasons.
For more information or to check availability of the tour, contact Foxford Woollen Mills on 094 9256104.
Witness the enthralling beauty of Enniscoe House, “the last Great House of North Mayo” hidden among the woods at the foot of Mount Nephin. Enniscoe is your opportunity to experience life in a homestay on this fabulous heritage estate. Experience the fantastic lakeside trails through amazing pastures and woodlands and the carefully restored Victorian walled garden, organic walled garden and 19th century pleasure grounds that extend to the shores of Lough Conn. Visit the Mayo North Heritage Centre to trace your family history or to browse the exhibition which houses an impressive array of local farm and household artefacts. While the house is a private family home, the gardens are open to the general public from 30th March to 31 October. The centre is open from April to October.
For more information or to check opening times, contact Enniscoe on 096 31809.
Take a day to admire the beautifully preserved religious sites of North Mayo and avail of the fantastic photography opportunities. Cycle the Monasteries of the Moy Greenway (which starts outside the soccer club at Belleek Woods), and witness one of the finest and best preserved of the Franciscan Friaries in Ireland, Rosserk. This historic site was founded around 1440 by a member of the Joyce family. These ruins are accessible to the public and are beautifully positioned on an estuary of the River Moy. They boast remarkable carvings and features such as its west doorway, the single-aisle church and a unique double piscina. Follow the River Moy to its estuary and Moyne Abbey, which was founded in 1460 for the Franciscans. The extensive ruin includes a cruciform church, chapel, tower and cloisters. Visitors can also explore the sacristy, chapter house, kitchen and refectory.
Fully deserving of a place on our ’10 great things to do in Mayo North’ list, the River Moy has long been famous as Ireland’s premier Salmon river and it offers a wide variety of quality angling to suit all tastes and budgets. Most of the Moy River and its larger tributaries provide excellent spring salmon and grilse fishing with both fly and bait. Anglers to the area can also fish for large stocks of sea trout. One of the top spots to fish the river Moy is Ballina town which has been crowned the Salmon Capital of Ireland. Whether you are an experienced angler or an enthusiastic beginner, the setting of the Moy River is the perfect place to enjoy one of Ireland’s oldest pastimes.
For more information, contact the Moy Fishery on 096 21332.
Situated along the banks of the river Moy lays the tranquil Belleek Woods which features some fantastic cycling trails. This peaceful woodland stretches for 6 miles and is one of the largest urban forests in Europe. There are many historical features from bygone days to unearth at Belleek Woods including a hermitage site, Knox-Gore Monument also known as “The Horse’s Grave”, the ominous concrete boat which has lain breached at Belleek Woods for decades, and an extraordinary wall built during the famine in Ireland. The forest is well sign posted and there are routes to suit all the family and level of cyclists.
A number of service providers offer bike rentals in the area, such as Paddle and Pedal and Killala Bike Hire.
If it’s a water based activity you are after, look no further. Mayo North has a flood of outstanding lakes, rivers and rugged coastlines each with something different to offer. Why not take the plunge and try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding. A water based activity which combines a surfboard and a long one-handed paddle. It’s a traditional Hawaiian sport which promotes balance, strength and general fitness, and is a fantastic way to explore the stunning natural landscapes that are on offer. If you’re looking for something a little more intense, why not try a spot of kayaking. Take to the lakes, rivers or seas on specialist tours and explore the rugged coastline at Ballycastle in a sea kayaking experience to remember.
The list above showsw just some of the great things to do in Mayo list – what’s on your list? Why not tell us over on the Mayo North Facebook page?