Things to do in Ballycastle and Belderrig - Mayo's Céide Coast - Visit North Mayo

At the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way in an area of unrivalled coastal beauty lies The Céide Coast of Ballycastle and Belderrig. Stretching from the Wild Atlantic Way Signature Discovery Point at Downpatrick Head to the sea cliffs of Ben Mór, Belderrig, there are plenty of things to do in Ballycastle and along The Céide coast.

1. The Downpatrick Head Experience

Downpatrick Head, Ballycastle, Co. Mayo, Ireland Wild Atlantic Way Signature Discovery Point
Downpatrick Head, Ballycastle, Co. Mayo

One of the most popular things to do in Ballycastle and along the Céide 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.


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

Céide Fields, Co. Mayo by Alison Crummy / Fáilte Ireland
📸 by Alison Crummy / Fáilte Ireland

Beneath the wild bog-lands 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 Céide Ladle Café.

For bookings: +353 (0) 96 43325| Visit: | Email: [email protected]

 3. Celebrate the arts at Ballinglen Arts Foundation.

Ballinglen Museum of Art Ballycastle Co. Mayo (2)
The Ballinglen Museum of Art, Ballycastle, County Mayo

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.

The Ballinglen Museum of Art. which opened in July 2020, showcases the huge Ballinglen Permanent Collection, a nationally significant collection of contemporary art created by visiting artists who have each donated a piece to the Foundation.

Tel: +353 (0) 96 43 184|  Visit: |  Email: [email protected]

4. Things to do along the Céide Coast – Enjoy a picnic in The Shambles

The Shambles Ballycastle Co. Mayo Ireland
The Shambles, Ballycastle

The Shambles was originally a place for holding cattle before Fair Days. The Ballycastle/Belderrig Development Company embarked on a rejuvenation project and converted it into a lovely public amenity. So why not pack a picnic and head to Ballycastle?

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

Doonfeeny Standing Stone

The Céide Coast is rich in archaeological evidence from the Mesolithic era (6,000 years ago) up to modern times. Check out the Doonfeeney Standing Stone – the second highest in Ireland-church and 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 Céide Coast, primarily on hidden gems in the Ballycastle area.

Tel: (+353) 86 382 8713     Email: [email protected]

6. Immerse yourself in the Belderrig Valley Experience.

Belderrig valley experience
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 6,000 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 quern-stone.

Tel: +353 (0)87 251 5292  |  Email: [email protected]   |  Visit:

7. Take to the waters of the Wild Atlantic.

Belderrig Natural Pool

Among the things to do in Ballycastle and along The Céide Coast is taking a dip in Belderrig’s natural sea pool, or wetting your toes at Ballycastle’s Bunatrahir Bay (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 millennia. Bring your rod, fish from the rocks and see what you can catch!

Tel: 086 791 0365  | For more information: Gráinne Uaile Sub Aqua Club  |  Email:  [email protected]

8. Visit Scenic Horse Island.

Horse Island Belderrig © Derek Davidson Walk West Ireland
📸 Horse Island Belderrig © Derek Davidson Walk West Ireland

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 slippery – 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

 St John's Church of Ireland, Ballycastle, Co. Mayo. Photo - Liz King.jpg

St John’s Church of Ireland, Ballycastle, Co. Mayo. Photo – Liz King

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 Céide Coast – Take to the trails

The Sralagah Loop, Ballycastle, Co. Mayo
Sralagagh Loop, Ballycastle – what’s that in the background?

Of all the things to do in Ballycastle and along the Céide Coast, we can highly recommend lacing up  your  boots  and  enjoying  a  walk  to Ballycastle  Beach, or taking  the Sralagagh  Loop  Walk – a beautiful  trail  starting  from  Ballycastle with breathtaking views of Downpatrick Head.

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: | |