Guest Blogger Mammy Red Head gives us a run down of her family’s top three places to visit in North Mayo.
Check out her favourite family friendly sites to visit in Mayo North and surrounds below.
As a family we go to many places throughout Mayo North. We enjoy them all for different reasons but if I had to choose three sites that my two love visiting at the moment they would be: The Jackie Clarke Collection Ballina, Museum of Country Life, Turlough, Castlebar, and Céide Fields, Ballycastle.
Each place has its own unique features and I know there are probably some of you thinking they aren’t places for children but I promise you these sites get the Mammy Red Head seal of approval, for family friendly – here’s why . . .
The Jackie Clarke Collection
The largest private collection of Irish history material in public hands, comprising over 100,000 items spanning 400 years is like an Aladdin’s cave. Each one of my children gets different things out of this family-friendly museum. Mini Miss loves the photos and she always thinks that they are people she knows. Little Red Head enjoys the knowledge, the words and posters – he truly takes it all in and every visit he spots something new.
Now of course children will be children and mine are no different, so their other favourite part of The Jackie Clarke Collection is the walled gardens. Beautifully cared for and maintained, Mini Miss and Little Red Head run around laughing and giggling and playing games; like What Time is it Mr Wolf? and Hide and Seek. There are seating areas dotted around the place so a little treat is often had, or sometimes we’ll have a picnic.
What more could you look for in a family friendly place – fun, information and relaxation?
For further information
Admission to The Jackie Clarke Collection is FREE.
Opening Times : Tuesday to Saturday: 10am to 5pm
The National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough
A must-see throughout the year, I find there is always something for the kids to see and interact with and has family friendly at the fore front. Be it inside or outside the vast area of Turlough Park House where the museum is situated offers so much for all ages. Turlough is a hive of interactive visual and audio displays, objects, rare archive photography and film footage combined to explore the agricultural and maritime past, traditional trades and crafts, fashion and textiles, religion, festivals, beliefs and more. This museum is award winning and you can see why, spreading over four floors.
Little Red Head and Mini Miss enjoy exploring the many items, exhibitions and interactive visual and audios on display. One of Mini Miss’s favourite parts is the dress up area where you dress up as a child from years gone by, evoking an air of a family favourite of ours, Heritage Day at Ballina Salmon Festival. If the weather is favourable it is nice to bring along a picnic, or you can enjoy all that the on-site café has to offer and the kids can bring along that hard-earned pocket money and browse the gift shop.
For Further information
Visit: www.museum.ie/Country-Life | Call: 094 903 1755
Admission to the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park House & Gardens is FREE.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, and Sundays 2 pm to 5 pm. Closed Mondays
Céide Fields, Ballycastle
It’s no secret that I do love Céide Fields, having written a children’s book about the spectacular site it holds a special place in my heart. I feel that it’s one of those sites that is over looked as family friendly, but it certainly is.
The Céide Fields are the oldest known field systems in the world, over five and a half millennia old. It is a unique Neolithic landscape of world importance, which has changed our perception of our Stone Age ancestors. We easily knock a half a day out of visiting the centre, which usually includes two visits to the Brambles Café.
Little Red Head’s favourite part is the outdoor tour and getting to do the probing in the bog where he discovers ancient walls steeped in stories and history. Mini Miss loves the indoor exhibitions especially the butterflies, flora and fauna and the “lady in the bed”. My tips for heading to Céide Fields would be – bring rain gear and a change of shoes, make sure your phone is charged as there is many pictures to be taken and have time as you’ll go expecting a short trip and it will turn into a fun-filled day of exploring and discovery.
July 2021: Please note that the Visitor Centre is currently closed for renovations
For further information
30th March – End May: Daily 10.00 – 17.00
June – End September: Daily 10.00 – 18.00
1st October – 29th October: Daily 10.00 – 17.00
The facility may open on request after these dates – contact us for further details.