Exploring Belmullet: A Quick Road Trip Diary - Visit North Mayo

This week’s blog post documents my personal road trip adventure. It can often be challenging to tear ourselves away from the glow of computer screens and the constant buzz of our phones. Yet, it’s an integral part of our work here at Mayo North Tourism. Last month, we embarked on a delightful journey to Belmullet, visiting some of Mayo Norths very own fantastic members. And for those we missed, don’t worry, you’re on the list for our next excursion!

Fantastic new signage in Belmullet Photo: Mayo North Tourism

Discovering Belmullet’s Charm

As you know, Belmullet and Erris, in general, offer a variety of captivating sights and experiences. From awe-inspiring coastal walks to renowned attractions like Blacksod Lighthouse and the recently opened SOLAS visitor centre, there’s no shortage of stunning vistas to capture. Additionally, the opportunity for surreal boat excursions to the abandoned Inishkea Islands and thrilling Sea Safaris and fishing trips, facilitated by providers such as Belmullet Boat Charters, Wild West Boat Tours, and Blacksod Sea Safari, adds to the appeal.

Exploring Belmullet Town Centre

However, my recent visit to Belmullet was brief, and instead of indulging in these well-known experiences, I opted to leisurely explore the charming Belmullet town centre. With its picturesque harbour, inviting Belmullet Tidal Pool, and historic Carter Square all within arm’s reach, I discovered that there’s far more to Belmullet on the Erris Peninsula than meets the eye. This year, the town commemorate its 200th anniversary (Belmullet 200) and will even be the home to the Mayo Day celebrations. The anticipation for what promises to be an unforgettable event is palpable. Having experienced the vibrant atmosphere during Mayo Day in Ballina in 2023, and events such as Belmullet Heritage Day, I have no doubt that this milestone celebration will be nothing short of epic.

Early Spring Morning Belmullet Town Centre – by Mayo North Tourism

A Glimpse into Local Hospitality

During this trip, I focused on elements crucial to any tourist’s experience: accommodation, dining, and, of course, coffee—the latter being a personal favourite of mine.

Unfortunately, I missed experiencing the lively nightlife at its peak, although passing by the renowned McDonnells Bar gave me a glimpse of what it might be like. I’m convinced that it wasn’t solely the stunning scenery and amazing array of adventure activities that earned this spot the title of ‘The Best Place to Go Wild in Ireland’ a few years back!

McDonnells Bar Belmullet, Photo: Mayo North Tourism

Stops along the way

– Broadhaven Bay Hotel

My first stop was at the breathtaking Broadhaven Bay Hotel, situated just on the outskirts of Belmullet town. Its commanding position overlooking the bay makes it a sought-after venue for weddings, both locally and from afar. The backdrop is truly remarkable. Upon entering the hotel, I was greeted by a family preparing to head off on a day of exploration. The spacious lobby, restaurant, and bar provide ideal settings for families and groups in particular to relax and unwind. The staff were warm and hospitable. Additionally, this hotel boasts Belmullet’s only indoor swimming pool, although it is currently closed due undergoing renovations. I can absolutely see why people return here year after year!

– The Cake Queen

After my stopover at the Broadhaven and leisurely spin from Ballina (approximately a 1 hour drive) a coffee was high on my agenda! A charming little coffee shop nestled on the main street, The Cake Queen, proved to be the perfect choice. It was very hard to resist a treat whilst there, but I knew I had a delicious lunch to look forward later to so resisted temptation. Owned by Mari Corduff, The Cake Queen operates seamlessly, attracting a lively crowd of locals and visitors alike who revelled in the March sunshine while chatting and catching up.

– Carter Square, Belmullet Docks and Beyond

With my coffee and camera in hand (I am not a photographer, nor do I have a fancy phone, so please be kind!), I leisurely strolled through the heart of Belmullet, making my way towards Carter Square —a historic landmark that offers sweeping views of Broadhaven Bay and Blacksod Bay. Established in 1824 under the direction of landlord William Henry Carter, Belmullet exudes a sense of heritage and charm that begs to be explored further. Though time did not permit on this occasion, I would highly recommend reaching out to Neal Doherty from Alchemy Tours to arrange a guided walking tour of the town. Neal also has a great guidebook ‘The complete guide to Belmullet and the Mullet Peninsula‘ which offers great walking routes and a comprehensive insight into Belmullet’s rich heritage.

Carter Square. Belmullet – Photo by Mayo North Tourism

Next, I ventured down to the docks of Belmullet. As the sun shone, it felt like I was on holidays. Thanks to recent renovations, this area has undergone a transformation, with the addition of beautiful new seating, lush greenery, and informative signage. It’s a tranquil haven, inviting visitors to pause and immerse themselves in the serene surroundings. I wondered who lived in the big house across the water? Yet that curiosity would have to be satisfied another time.

The Docks in Belmullet – Photo by Mayo North Tourism

– Belmullet Tidal Pool

From there, I proceeded up Shore Road to a beloved yet somewhat hidden gem in Belmullet—the Belmullet Tidal Pool. I wasn’t brave enough to take a dip that day, the name “Wild Atlantic” was given for a reason! I did have a swim in it last September, which was as daring as I get. However, I’m aware that some locals make it a daily ritual, while visitors check it off their bucket lists year-round. The pool is impeccably maintained, although it’s wise to consult their social media beforehand to ensure it’s not closed for cleaning. This precaution is taken on a regular basis and is subject to tide and weather conditions. A visit to the Belmullet Tidal Pool is an absolute must for anyone exploring the area.

Belmullet Tidal Pool in March – Photo by Mayo North Tourism

– The Talbot Hotel, Belmullet

Back to the main street and across the road from The Cake Queen lies the acclaimed Talbot Hotel Belmullet. This family-run establishment offers luxurious boutique accommodations right in the heart of Belmullet town. Painted in a vibrant pink hue, the hotel’s exterior is impossible to miss and entices passers by to step inside. Once you do, you’ll find yourself surrounded by chic style and elegance. This four start hotel’s 31 bedrooms are tastefully designed, and they exude a sense of sophistication that promises a memorable stay. Having dined here previously, I can confirm that the food is delicious also! Due to its central location and popularity, be sure to book well in advance of your arrival to avoid disappointment.

The Talbot Hotel, Belmullet – Photo by Mayo North Tourism

– The Western Strands, Belmullet

Afterward, I made my way back towards the Western Strands Hotel & Bar for lunch. Situated in the heart of Belmullet, the atmosphere was lively – even in mid afternoon, especially with Cheltenham happening. The food was delicious with a varied menu and sizeable portions. As well as for its accommodation and food, the bar is known for hosting various open mic nights and live music sessions throughout the year. Additionally, the owner, David, also operates Wavesweeper Sea Adventures, so be sure to explore this option if you want to get out on the water and are planning a visit to the area. To find out more about this property and activity provider, click here to view a recent video about the Western Strands Hotel & Wavesweeper Sea Adventures.

The Western Strands, Belmullet – Photo by Mayo North Tourism

– Memorials and Art

I hopped in the car and before I left the town centre I spotted a plaque and new signage that I hadn’t noticed here before. Located beside the walk bridge, it was a War of Independence Memorial on Pearse Street, Belmullet in memory of those who fought and died for Irish independence.

War of Independence Erris Volunteers memorial in Belmullet – Photo: Mayo North Tourism

I then made one more pitstop to see the amazing Dúlra agus Dúchas’ mural that was revealed last year on the side of the old handball alley. I have wanted to see this for a while. This image does not do it justice. It is a beautiful piece of art and well worth checking out.

The impressive mural by visual artist James Kirwans is titled ‘Dúlra agus Dúchas’ and features beautiful references to the unique heritage and biodiversity aspects of the Erris region, including some of the endangered species that reside in, or frequently visit, the Mullet Peninsula.

It was time to leave Belmullet town, but I feel like I could have stayed for hours.

– The Erris Coast Hotel, Geesala

On my journey back to Ballina, I had one more port of call where I took the scenic Geesala route and stopped by the Erris Coast Hotel to meet with Deborah O’Sullivan. This stunning hotel offers panoramic views that are simply mesmerising. With its rich historical ties to the Erris area, it comes as no surprise that the Erris Coast Hotel is a popular choice for hosting various functions, weddings, and events, attracting guests from both at home and abroad. This year, it was even nominated for an Irish Restaurants Award for its delicious dining. Moreover, the hotel boasts connections to the esteemed Golden Globe actor, Cillian Murphy, adding an extra layer of history and charm to it.

Erris Coast Hotel – Photo by Mayo North Tourism

Conveniently located just a short and incredibly scenic 15-minute drive from Belmullet and a mere 40 minutes from Crossmolina, the Erris Coast Hotel offers a perfect retreat for those seeking both luxury and natural beauty. To find out more about this property, click here to view a recent video about the Erris Coast Hotel.

I had an absolutely delightful day exploring this corner of Erris, and I hope my experiences provide you with some valuable insights into potential places to stay and visit.

As mentioned, my exploration was somewhat limited this time around. However, if you’re keen to discover more about some more of the fantastic attractions and activities available in Belmullet and its surrounds, be sure to check out our dedicated “Top Twelve Things to do in Erris” post for comprehensive recommendations.

Until next time, happy exploring!

Mairead Melody Carr

Manager, Mayo North Tourism

Date: 05/04/2024

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