Posts tagged with: 'Corraun'

Corraun Peninsula – Between Island and Mainland

Corraun is kept attached to the Irish mainland by rocky boggy land to its east, barely 800 m wide. Off its western shore, meanwhile, a channel just 150 m wide holds Achill Island at bay.

The Corraun peninsula, 99% surrounded by water, may as well be an island in its own right. Indeed, with only a single road running around its waters’ edge, the inner Corraun can only be discovered on foot. Luckily, a hike is well worth the effort.

Corraun boasts two small mountains, Knockletragh (452 m) to the north and the more impressive Corraun Hill (541 m) to the south. If you are driving around Corraun along its southern shore, don’t let the harmless looking southern slopes of Corraun Hill fool you. This mountain has excellent cliffs and wonderful corries on its northern flank.

Corraun Mayo lakes

A glimpse of the lakes on Corraun

Although its raw, barren beauty has been somewhat lessened by plantation forests, the valley that lies between the two mountains remains a gem. A close inspection of the map reveals about 14 lakes of varying sizes, including the 3 lovely corrie Loughs Knockacorraun, Cullydoo and Cullylea.

I recently hiked Corraun from east to west, then cycled back along the northern road and parts of the Greenway. Note that the Greenway is not all off-road on the stretch from Mulranny towards Achill and I would not recommend this section for families with children.

Hiking Corraun Ireland

Looking towards Achill Island from Corraun

The hike requires a long 2 – 3 km stretch in from the road, across boggy terrain, before an ascent onto Corraun itself can be commenced. While there is no entirely satisfactory route to take, I would recommend one that goes roughly NE – SW, so that the views down towards Mulranny and Clew Bay beyond can be enjoyed.

The initial drag is worth it, though, as the views across Clew Bay are spectacular and those of the hidden valley to the north are very pleasant too. I descended towards Achill Sound, past Loughaun, the largest of the lakes, changed my footwear and cycled off back to my start point just outside Mulranny. A great day.

Corraun is ranked 14th among Mayo mountains.

Corraun Hike

Hike : 13.5 km; 4h45; ascent 700 m.

Cycle : 13.0 km; 0h45.

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Six Places to Walk in Mayo

Here is a selection of lovely places to go for a walk in County Mayo. 

The walks vary from hillwalking to ca. 800 m, down to on-road and some are more suited to bringing children than others. 

1. Sheefry Hills (SW Mayo) : 

Straight south from Croagh Patrick and northeast of the famous little village of Leenane lie the Sheefry Hills, culminating in Barrclashcame at 772 m. Wet and cold at this time of the year, but if you’re looking for a reasonably serious walk, go here. There are great views and you’ll know you’re out in the wilds, by the wind and frequent rain. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a view of Mweelrea to the west, Doo Lough below it and the Killary fjord to the south. 

Be sure to bring a proper map with you – Ordnance Survey sheet no. 37. Preferably, do not go alone. Count on 5 hours to do the loop, so leave it til springtime. 

2. Brackloon Wood (near Westport) : 

If climbing the Sheefrys isn’t your thing, then go for a gentle stroll in Brackloon, ca. 4 km south of Westport town. Turn right off the Leenane road where the sign says Drummin. There is a nice loop walk in this mixed oak wood, that will take you 1 hour (more if you have children with you). The mixed trees are attractive and there are some benches where you can take a rest, just breathe in the air and listen to the birds. 

3. Balla Wood (SE of Castlebar) : 

This is another good walk for families. It traverses mainly beech wood and there is a good loop walk that will bring you through part of the wood, past the golf course and back. If entering Balla from Castlebar, take the road to Mayo Abbey at the top of the village and turn right, when still in the village, signposted GAA pitch and golf course. Park your car where there is attractive wooden fencing on your left. The nice easy walk also has a lovely meadow in the middle of the wood, where your kids will like to play ‘hide and seek’ in the long grass during summer. 

4. Nephin Mór (Lahardane) : 

Nephin Mountain (806 m).

Nephin Mountain (806 m).

Back to the mountains. This climb will take between 3 and 4 hours up and down. Get to Lahardane, turn left just before you leave the village in the direction of Crossmolina, drive for ca. 2 km and you’ll see a rough carpark on your right. Park up there and take the forest track on the other side of the road. Keep to the left of the second forest and the wonderful corrie to reach the summit trig pillar. 

As with any mountain, be sure to bring a proper map with you – Ordnance Survey sheet no. 23. Preferably, do not go alone. 

5. Corraun (W Mayo, before Achill) : 

For this on-road walk, turn left just after Mulranny village, down to where you’ll see the church, then continue out towards the sea. Most people will always head to either Achill or Ballycroy from Mulranny, but you will turn to the southern side of Corraun peninsula. Park wherever you can and just walk the little road as far as you like. There are wonderful views of Clew Bay and Clare Island, as well as out to the open ocean. 

6. Downpatrick Head (N Mayo) : 

Coming from Ballina, turn right before Ballycastle village and head out to the Head. See the amazing blow holes and the extraordinary Dún Briste sea stack. Walk along the cliff tops, but be careful not to get too close. Strong gusts can come at any moment. Do not bring children up here. This is the North Atlantic. 

Afterwards, if you like, return to Ballycastle and continue westward along the road and visit the Céide Fields just beyond, or look out over the cliffs from the excellent viewing stand opposite the car park for the Fields.

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