Things to do in Ballycastle- Belderrig – Mayo’s Ceide Coast

The heart of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Downpatrick Head along the Ceide Coast of North Mayo - Things to do in Ballycastle Co. Mayo - Downpatrick Head

At the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way in an area of unrivalled coastal beauty lies the Ceide coast of Ballycastle/Belderrig. Stretching from the Wild Atlantic Way Discovery point at Downpatrick Head to the sea cliffs of Ben Mórin, Belderrig, there are plenty of things to do in Ballycastle and along the Ceide coast.

Ceide Coast-Ballycastle/Belderrig (North Mayo).

1. The Downpatrick Head Experience

One of the most popular things to do in Ballycastle and along the Ceide Coast is visit Downpatrick Head which offers panoramic views while you take in the stunning Dún Briste sea-stack from the edge of the cliffs. Marvel at the Spirit of Place Installation overlooking “Poll Na Seantainne”– a spectacular natural blowhole. Here, you’ll also find a number of promontory forts, church remains and a World War Two lookout post and land marker.

Visit: northmayo.ie/downpatrick-head/

2. Learn about the world’s earliest farmers at Ceide Fields.

Beneath the wild boglands of North Mayo 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 their discovery and mapping, and take in the view from this award-winning building of some of the most spectacular cliffs in Ireland, before relaxing with a coffee in Brambles Café.

For bookings: +353 (0) 96 43325| Visit: www.ceidefields.com | Email: information@ceidefields.com

3. Celebrate the arts at Ballinglen Arts Foundation.

The Ballinglen Arts Foundation was formed to attract renowned and emerging artists from Ireland and from abroad to live and work in North Mayo, where they could develop their work. This internationally renowned facility plays host to many visiting artists annually, who regularly exhibit their work at the Centre.

Tel: +353 (0) 96 43 184|  Visit: www.ballinglenartsfoundation.org |  Email: baf@iol.ie

4. Things to do along the Ceide coast – Explore the area by bike.

Hire a bike from Ballycastle bike hire and enjoy at your own pace/freedom some of the most scenic and spectacular coastline in North Mayo. Bikes can be hired based on your preferred activity: off-road mountain biking, road racing, or take a hybrid, for short-term to long-term use. Collection points are located at the Ceide Fields visitor centre and Downpatrick head. They can deliver bicycles at any Hotel or starting point in the area so that your party can begin their bike tour where and whenever they choose. Ballycastle Bike Hire, Main Street, Ballycastle, Co Mayo

Tel:  086 322 5128 Email: ballycastlebikehire@gmail.com

5. Marvel at the area’s ancient history and heritage.

The Ceide Coast is rich in archaeological evidence from the Mesolithicera (7,000 yrs. ago) up to modern times. Check out the Doonfeeney Standing Stones – the second highest in Ireland-churchand graveyard remains from the old parishes of Doonfeeney & Kilbride, or visit the Norman castle ruins in Ballinglen. The area also boasts the highest concentration of court-tombs in Europe. In Belderrig, take in a breath-taking view of the village from Uaigh na gCat –“Grave of the cats”– a 3,500 year-old Bronze Age tomb.

Opposite Belderrig Harbour, see the former Fishing Curing Station used during famine times in 1898, established after Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne visited Belderrig.

Tailored Guided Tours are available on request offering a native perspective on the environmental, archaeological, historical and cultural heritage of the Ceide Coast, primarily on hidden gems in the Ballycastle area.

Tel: +353 86 382 8713     Email: ceidecoasttours@gmail.com

6. Immerse yourself in the Belderrig Valley Experience.

Experience a tour through the Neolithic and Bronze Age Farms in Belderrig, and learn about the people who farmed these fields nearly 6,000 years ago. Hear about the local people who uncovered this story, and see how turf (peat) was cut with a traditional turf spade – you can even have a go yourself!

See clear signs of climate change in a 4,000 year-old forest and examine tree rings in the lab. Learn how ancient strains of barley were grown and try grinding grain into flour on a quernstone.

Tel: +353 (0)87 251 5292  |  Email: belderrigvalley@outlook.com   |  Visit: www.belderrigvalley.com

7. Take to the waters of the Wild Atlantic.

Among the things to do in Ballycastle and along the Ceide Coast istaking a dip in Belderrig’s natural sea pool, or wetting your toes at Ballycastle’s Bunatráhir Beach (check for local tide information). There are numerous quality dives around Dún Briste Sea Stack, and dives of varying depths off Horse Island, Belderrig.

There is a long tradition of fishing in Belderrig going back six millenia. Bring your rod, fish from the rocks and see what you can catch!

Tel: 086 791 0365  | For more information: Gráinne Úaile SAC  |  Email: honsec@gusac.ie

8. Visit Scenic Horse Island.

Horse Island is a natural bird (and sheep!) sanctuary. The main direct route is located on private property -ask the owner’s permission or alternatively, take a scenic route. The island is accessible at low tide but the rocks can be slippy – caution is required. Opposite on the mainland there are Copper mines which were used up until the 1930s.

9.  Things to do in Ballycastle – Learn about the area’s Christian heritage

The area’s Christian heritage runs deep. You’ll find the ruins  of an  early  Christian  Church  at Downpatrick  Head,  one  of  the  oldest church  buildings  currently  in  operation  in North  Mayo  at  St. Teresa’s Church Belderrig (dating from 1869)and St. John’s Church  of  Ireland, which  is  one  of  the oldest buildings in Ballycastle.

10.  Things to do in Ballycastle and along the Ceide Coast – Take to the trails

Of all the things to do in Ballycastle and along the Ceide Coast, we can highlt recommend lacing up  your  boots  and  enjoying  a  walk  to Ballycastle  Beach, or taking  the Sralagagh  Loop  Walk – a beautiful  trail  starting  from  Ballycastle.  Take  in  a  portion  of  the Western  Way  Walking  Route – a linear  150  km  walking  route  from  Leenaun, Co.Galway  to Ballycastle.  It includes long  sections  on tarmac roads, but the views of the Downpatrick head and the spectacular vista to the north looking to Donegal and Sligo make up for it.  Afterwards, enjoy a homemade meal or a warming cuppa in one of the local cafes.

Visit: www.mayowalks.ie | www.irishtrails.ie | northmayo.ie/the-sralagagh-loop/


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