There are many things to see and do when you visit Ballina and North Mayo. Here in County Mayo and the west of Ireland we’re blessed to live near some of the most splendid attractions (and numerous hidden gems) that you’ll find in Ireland. We’ve put together a list of ten more places to visit that are approximately a one-hour drive from Ballina.
1. Ballycroy National Park (51 minutes from Ballina)
Ballycroy National Park was established in November 1998. It is Ireland’s sixth National Park and is located on the Western seaboard in North West Mayo. It comprises of 11,000 hectares (110 km²) of Atlantic blanket bog and mountainous terrain, covering a vast uninhabited and unspoilt wilderness dominated by the Nephin Beg mountain range.
2. Kiltimagh Railway Museum (31 minutes from Ballina)
Kiltimagh Railway Station came into being in 1894, initially on the main Athlone/Sligo line, later incorporated into the Limerick/Sligo line. The first engine was the famous Castle Hackett. In the 1980s the Historical Society acquired the old Goods Store and turned it into a Museum. The former Station Master’s House is now an Art Centre and the area is further enhanced by sculptures by local artists and also some of the foremost artists in the country.
3. County Mayo Peace Park and Garden of Remembrance (34 minutes from Ballina)
The Mayo Peace Park in Castlebar commemorates all those who served and died in the major world wars & conflicts of the past century as well as other wars & conflicts and providing recognition to the significant Irish contribution to World Peace, from County Mayo. It was opened by former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese in 2008.
4. Doolough Beach (48 minutes from Ballina)
Doolough Beach is located near the village of Geesala in the Barony of Erris. It’s a long stretch of sandy beach that is perfect for families.
5. The Addergoole Titanic Memorial Park (21 minutes from Ballina)
The Addergoole Titanic Memorial Park, in the shadow of Nephin commemorates the Addergoole Fourteen who departed North Mayo on the ill fated RMS Titanic, eleven of which perished in April 1912. The memorial Park was opened by former Taoiseach Enda Kenny in 2012.
6. Blacksod Lighthouse (75 minutes from Ballina)
Blacksod Lighthouse was built in 1864. Famously weather observations in June 1944 by the Blacksod lighthouse keepers caused the Normandy Landings to be postponed. It’s a wonderful spot for an Instagram post!
7. The Devil’s Chimney (60 minutes from Ballina)
At 492 feet (150m) Sruth in Aghaidh An Aird (also known as the Devil’s Chimney) is listed on the World Waterfall Database as Ireland’s Tallest Waterfall and is located in County Sligo.
8. Gleniff Horseshoe Drive (67 minutes from Ballina)
The Gleniff Horseshoe is a nice 10km loop along quiet roads with spectacular views and dramatic and wild Dartry Mountains. The walk also provides dramatic views of the Donegal Bay and the Ulster County beyond.
9. Lissadell House (62 minutes from Ballina)
At present Lissadell House & Gardens remain closed due to Covid-19 but we had to include it in our list. Lissadell House is the famous childhood home of Irish revolutionary, suffragist and politician Countess Markievicz (1868 – 1927). Markievicz was the first woman elected to the British parliament (she abstained) and the only woman elected to the first Dáil in 1918 and subsequently the first woman to be appointed a Cabinet Minister in 1919
10. The Yeats Society (47 minutes from Ballina)
The Yeats Society is dedicated to celebrating the life and work of Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939) and his artistic siblings Susan ‘Lily’, Elizabeth ‘Lolly’ and Jack. The Yeats family contributed enormously to the Gaelic Revival and to the cultural life of Ireland. The family were inspired by the landscapes and folklore of County Sligo. Did you know Jack B. Yeats painted many North Mayo landscapes.
Bonus: Drumcliff Cemetery (53 minutes from Ballina)
Drumcliff Cemetery is the resting place of William Butler Yeats. The cemetery has the remains of a round tower and a high cross constructed in the 11th when there was a Christian monastery on site. The monastery was founded by Saint Columcille in 574.
So there you have it, 10 more places within an hour’s drive of Ballina. Base yourself in Ballina, County Mayo and explore what counties Mayo and Sligo have to offer. And don’t forget to return home in time for tea!Read Part I Read Part II