The Wild Atlantic Way stretches from the Inishowen Peninsula in northern County Donegal to the southern town of Kinsale in County Cork, the 2,500km Wild Atlantic Way reveals natural wonders around every bend. Nestled among this stunning scenic drive is County Mayo.
Wild and rugged, Mayo is renowned for being one of the most picturesque parts of the island of Ireland. Its large expanse offers amazing scenery, ample space to explore an unspoilt natural environment, and plenty of things to do.
Among its attractions is the 42km Great Western Greenway, an off-road trail following an old railway line from the beautiful heritage town of Westport to Achill Island. Ideal for Mayo walking and cycling adventures, it will take you through historic towns, ancient archaeological artefacts and a series of breath-taking views.
For those interested in climbing the famous Mayo landmark of Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holy mountain, the reward is an unbeatable vista over Clew Bay and its 365 islands. But you can also enjoy the landscape from the comfort of a car by taking the Louisburgh to Leenane route. Rarely seen in guide books, it packs a scenic Mayo punch that will leave you in awe.
In northern Mayo, the Erris Peninsula is renowned for its authentic balance of nature, culture, activity, wildness and beauty. Here you will find the oldest rocks in Ireland, some 1.8 billion years old, in spots along the coast, while the Céide Fields, the most extensive Stone Age monument in the world, can also be explored. A visitor centre here unpacks the amazing geology, archaeology, botany and wildlife of this unique Neolithic landscape.
Also in north Mayo, Downpatrick Head is home to incredible scenery and a walk here will bring you to the giant sea stack of Dún Briste, one of the most striking landmarks and photo opportunities of the Wild Atlantic Way.
For film buffs the Mayo village of Cong will be instantly recognisable. Very little has changed since The Quiet Man, the much-loved 1952 movie starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, was filmed there. The Quiet Man Museum and walking tours of the film locations are a must.
For an experience of Mayo traditions and culture, Achill Island, where the Irish language is still spoken, is a great choice. Though accessible by a land bridge the island still has that place apart feel and offers pristine beaches, craggy cliffs and scattered villages that offer the true Irish welcome not just on Mayo Day, but on every day of the year.