I want to share with you 10 beautiful, but short, Mayo walks. These are places to go for a short, easy stroll and admire the surroundings. Bring the kids. I’ve chosen 10 places that you can easily reach in your car or, preferably, on your bike. No need for hiking boots to get to any of these spots, each of which is wonderfully representative of Mayo!
These are places where you can just wander around for a while at your leisure and take in the atmosphere and scenery. You might call it ‘meditate’ or ‘reflect’ on what is happening around you. Learn what Mayo is all about. Let me know what you think and where you feel should have been included in my list.
Here are the first five Mayo walks (in no particular order). Find the five remaning strolls here.
|1||McMahon Park / Clare Lake, Claremorris|
|2||The Mall and Bridge Street, Westport|
|3||Céide Fields and Cliffs opposite, Ballycastle|
|4||Moore Hall, Carnacon|
|5||Belleek Wood, Ballina|
1. McMahon Park / Clare Lake, Claremorris
By far the nicest town park in Mayo, the people of Claremorris are rightly proud of this wonderful space. The park is centred around Clare Lake and has beautiful walks, with cute little bridges over streams and fantastic flora, from native trees to lakeside reedbeds. Children and adults alike will enjoy the ducks and swans that have made the lake their home. As an added bonus, there’s a good children’s playground just outside. One gripe, however : The entrance to the park is not great and the playground really should be incorporated into the same space. Total walking time from car or bike, maybe 60 minutes (off-road).
2. The Mall & Bridge Street, Westport
Nowhere in Mayo is more lively than the main street (Bridge Street) in Westport, especially during the busy summer months. No street is prettier than The Mall, with the river flowing through its twin tree-lined avenues. Park your car or bike in any of the off-street carparks in town. Then go stand on the bridge for a while, take it all in and walk the lap of the Mall around the river, followed by the loop of Bridge St, Shop St and James St, before returning to the Mall. Then go find the craic in one of the many pubs on Bridge Street or James Street. Total walking time from car or bike, maybe 30 minutes (beware town traffic).
3. Céide Fields and Cliffs, Ballycastle
The Céide Fields are the world’s oldest known farm system, at approx 6,000 years old. Here, stone walls encompassing a very large area have been discovered, lying intact beneath thousands of years of blanket bog. Straight across from the wonderful visitor centre and its carpark is a viewing platform out over the North Mayo cliffs. Stand here for a while, watch the seabirds and it will remain with you for the rest of your life. Indeed, go visit nearby Downpatrick Head, on the other side of Ballycastle afterwards. Total walking time from car or bike, including visiting Céide Fields, maybe 60 minutes (beware traffic on the road when going to view the cliffs).
4. Moore Hall, Carnacon
In the county where the fight began, back in the 1870s, for the right to own the land one farmed, there are now almost no ‘big houses’ (landlord mansions) left standing. Moore Hall, though now a ruined shell, remains. Walk around here and think of the Irish National Land League, the campaign for land ownership for the tenant classes of the 19th Century and, ultimately, the struggle for Irish freedom. Better still, walk here at dusk during warm summer days and watch the Lesser Horseshoe bats flying all around you. There is a fine carpark on the shores of Lough Carra, beyond Carnacon village. Total walking time from car or bike, over 60 minutes (off-road).
5. Belleek Woods, Ballina
Belleek is the finest urban wooded area in Mayo. Situated on the northern side of Ballina town, the wood straddles the banks of the river Moy. It is a beautiful place, with lovely walks and river views. It is home to one of Mayo’s very few Red Squirrel populations and is a haven for the people of the north Mayo town. Park up your car and just lose yourself in here for a good hour. Total walking time from car or bike, over 60 minutes (off-road).
The second half of this Mayo walks list is presented in my next post here.