County Mayo

County Mayo, on the west coast of Ireland and the third largest county in Ireland, is often overlooked by tourists. While it may not have the dramatic scenery of Kerry, or the fame of Connemara or The Burren, it has it own special charm. It has wilderness in abundance; it's emptiness is indeed quite special. Perhaps one of the best reasons to come here is that few other people do!

Towns

Mayo (dark green)

Other destinations

Get in

By car

By bus

By train

By plane

Get around

Other than public transport, car hire is readily available in Castlebar and at Knock Airport. Most sites of interest are located in the west of the county between Achill, Westport, Louisburgh and Castlebar.

See

Ballintubber Abbey eastern elevation

Do

Culture

Castlebar is the location for important festivals and traditions, among which is the International Four Days' Walk. A well-established blues music festival in venues across the town takes place on the weekend before the first Monday in June each year. During the 1970s and 1980s the town hosted the International Castlebar Song Contest which was televised nationally on RTE. The Museum of Country Life is located on the outskirts of Castlebar, and is the only branch of the National Museum of Ireland located outside Dublin. Castlebar is home to The Linenhall Arts Centre, which exhibits visual art throughout the year, as well as hosting live drama and music performances. The Linenhall also organises an annual children's arts festival called Roola Boola (an anglicisation of the Irish phrase rí rá agus ruaile buaile which in this context means "boisterous fun"). The Royal Theatre and Event Centre, with a capacity of two thousand two hundred fully seated, four thousand standing,[2] hosts larger-scale productions and popular music concerts. There are Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland (Anglican), Elim Pentecostal and Spiritualist churches in the town. There is a recently-established Mayo male voice choir and Mayo Concert Orchestra. There is also a marching band in the town - one of the few surviving marching bands west of the Shannon Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Castlebar experienced significant immigration, growth and investment.

Entertainment

Castlebar has a selection of places to eat and drink. There is a broad range of types of food available: Italian (Al Muretto, Portifino Italiano), Indian, Chinese, Irish (An Carraig), Cox's and fast food (Cafollas, Danollas, Blue Thunder, Top Nosh, Supermacs, Dominos Pizza, McDonalds and Apache Pizza) as well as cafes (Cafe Rua, Moka and McCarthys). A lot of the public houses closed during the building boom during the 1990s. In 1990, Castlebar had 54 licensed premises, although this number had fallen to less than 30 public houses by 2008. Castlebar is a garrison market town; there was a tradition of open air markets mostly selling livestock, which meant there was a healthy daytime drinking trade in Castlebar, but this has disappeared. For a combination of factors since the introduction of the smoking ban and the EU single payment grant to farmers, most public houses offer food to help subsidize the drop in alcohol sales. One of the oldest pubs in Castlebar is John McHale's pub, located on New Line. The pub is known for its sale of a Meejum of Guinness, which is slightly less than a pint. It once officially had 'the best pint of Guinness in Ireland' according to a national tabloid.

Eat

County Mayo has some wonderful restaurants. The fresh water lakes of Lough Mask and Lough Conn provide the best in fresh fish, including brown trout, eels, pike and perch. The River Moy to the north near Ballina is renown for its salmon stock. The mountain ranges of Mayo provide some excellent lamb. Given the remoteness of some parts of the county, game is in abundance, including pheasant, snipe, partridge and wild duck. All of which make for the very best in ingredients for the many local and ethnic restaurants dotted all around the county.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, August 15, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.