The word Mayo derives from the Irish word Maigh Eo - the plain of the yew trees. County Mayo is the third largest county in Ireland. Located in the West Of Ireland in the province of Connaught, Mayo boasts dramatic scenery, sandy beaches and hundreds of island and lakes that provide an abundance of unspoiled beauty. Mayo has Knock Airport just a 55 minute drive so why not hire a car at Knock Airport and explore the beautiful county of Mayo.
The west of Ireland is home to some of Ireland's top links courses, including the internationally renowned Westport Golf Club. Westport town itself a previous Tidy Town winner, a lively town where you will find music and craic in many of its pubs. Westport town in Summer time is picturesque, with its lovely stone bridges, and flower and tree lined streets beside the River Carrowbed, it is a well visited tourist stop off point with lots to do and see and with the beautiful bay of Clew Bay a short distance from the town. Clew Bay with its many small little islands, where you can enjoy any number of water sports, along with fishing and swimming in one of its many inlets, bays or one if its Blue Flag Beaches in Mayo such as Bertra, Carrowmore, Clare Island. Visit Clew Bay Heritage Centre in Westport which documents the history and archaeology of County Mayo and the Irish Clans of Mayo.
Achill Island in County Mayo is a fabulous place to get away from it all in Ireland, the peace and beauty found here at any time of year is stunning. It is easy to see why so many artists, photographers, and writters are drawn to Achill Island. Be it driving around Achill or cycling or just enjoying a walk on the beach, you will be sucked into its beauty. Achill has numerous Blue Flag beaches to be proud of from Trawmore Strand, Dooega Beach, Doogort Beach, Keel, Keam and Golden Strand. You can enjoy some stunning coastal drives out by the breath taking Minaun Cliffs near Dookinella, and from Mulranny out the Currane Peninsula enjoy this Atlantic Drive, enjoy the views of Achill Sound. For the walkers and mountain climbers Achill has much to offer such as the dramatic valley of Annagh or from Keem Strand head for Croaghaun mountain in Achill and pass Lough Acorrymore on the way or take the Great Western Greenway walk way a 12 mile track for walkers and cyclists, which takes the route of the old Westport to Achill railway line and more, starting at Achill, onto Mulranny, Newport and finishing in Westport. Achill is steeped in history with the Deserted Village in Slievemore, where there are 80 odd old stone cottages, and megalitic tombs here. Kildavnet Tower is an example of a 15th century Irish tower house. The Céide Fields in Ballycastle, Co Mayo, with views out over the Atlantic Ocean, are the oldest known stone walled fields in the world, which once discovered during bog cutting, were then mapped out to clearly show the layout of the fields which once were cultivated by our ancestors during the Stone Age and also found were tombs and house remains.
Croagh Patrick is situated five miles from the picturesque town of Westport. It is renowned for its Patrician Pilgrimage in honour of Irelands national apostle, Saint Patrick. It is here where Saint Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland. Every year people travel from all over the world to climb Croagh Patricks summit, not only for religious purposes but also for the spectacular scenery. Magnificent views of Clew Bay and the surrounding south Mayo countryside are to be had from all stages of the ascent of the mountain. At the base of Croagh Patrick mountain is 'The Croagh Patrick Information Centre' giving details of the discovery of Christian activity here, close to the Centre also is 'The Famine Monument' which depicts a Coffin Ship from the Famine times.
Mayo's other famous religious site is Knock, which is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year, a site where the apparition of Our Lady, St Joseph, and St John the Evangelist appeared to several people in 1879 and so became an recognised Marian Shrine, visited by Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Knock Museum on site tells the story of the apparition also on the Shrine grounds are to be found five churches including the church where the apparition was seen, all set on beautiful gardens, with lots of facilities for pilgrims and including a hotel and a Rest and Day Care Centre for the sick visiting Knock Shrine. Knock Shrine is less than 20 minutes drive from Knock Airport.