Blessed with the breathtaking Atlantic Coast, the world-famous River Moy, stunning landscapes and 6,000 years of history, Ballina in North Mayo along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way makes for perfect break, full of exploration and adventure.
Top Things to do in Ballina and North Mayo
Compiled by Mayo North Tourism
1. Trace Ireland’s history at The Jackie Clarke Collection, Ballina, a collection of Irish material comprising 100,000 items spanning 400 years, the Jackie Clarke Collection is the most important private collection of Irish historical material in public hands.
2. Try one of the many estate activities at Mount Falcon Estate, Ballina, which boasts an incredible array of summertime activities, including Birds of Prey and Hawk Walk experiences, clay shooting, trout and salmon fishing, archery, outdoor yoga, woodland sound baths, golf, and a whole load of wonderful, interactive children’s experiences.
3. Savour a tour and tasting at the Connacht Distillery, Ballina, which offers visitors an authentic, intimate guided craft distillery tour where visitors can learn about whiskey production from grain to glass, while also exploring the history and heritage of Irish spirit making.
4. Discover 6,000 years of history at The Céide Fields Visitor Centre and the Belderrig Valley Experience, where the remains of an ancient, complex system of fields, dwelling areas and megalithic tombs lie buried beneath the blanket boglands overlooking the majestic Céide Clifss.
5. Weave an unforgettable experience at Foxford Woollen Mills, and how master craftspeople use techniques and traditions passed down through generations to create contemporary blankets, garments and products Wander and shop in the beautiful showroom and enjoy lunch in the bright and airy Foxford gourmet café.
6. Walk the beautiful Enniscoe House gardens and woodlands, and visit the North Mayo Heritage Centre, near Crossmolina/Lahardane – the “last Great House of North Mayo” where you can explore the lakeside walks, gardens, museum and trace your family history.
7. Explore our sacred past on the Monasteries of the Moy.Cycle the Monasteries of the Moy Greenway from Ballina to Killala (which starts outside the soccer club at Belleek Woods, Ballina), and witness some of the finest and best preserved of the Franciscan Friaries in Ireland, Rosserk Abbey and Moyne Abbey.
8. Walk or cycle through the enchanting Belleek Woods, Ballina which stretches for six miles and is one of the largest urban forests in Europe. Around every corner there are treasures and historical features to be discovered
9. Explore the Waterways of North Mayo by Paddle Board or Kayak. Ballina is a hotspot for water based activities, with companies such as Simply SUP, Harbour Sup n’ Sail, Paddle and Pedal, More to Life Adventures and Rachel’s Irish Adventures offering a variety of water-based activities.
10. Marvel at our Signature Discovery Point, Ballycastle’s Downpatrick Head . See majestic sea stack Dún Briste (the broken fort), the huge blowhole (Poll na Seantine), the ÉIRE 64 aerial sign designed to guide WWII pilots, and the WWII lookout post.
11. Learn about one of Ireland’s greatest activists and take the guided tour at the Michael Davitt Museum, Straide, housed in a beautifully restored 17th century penal church alongside Straide Abbey, where Davitt is buried,
12. See North Mayo through the eyes of artists at the Ballinglen Museum of Art, Ballycastle where visiting artists create work in response to the landscape. Upon departure, Ballinglen Fellows donate a work of art, created in response to their fellowship, to the Ballinglen Permanent Collection, displayed in this state of the art gallery.
13. Go beach-hunting! North Mayo is blessed with some incredible beaches, very few of them tourism hotspots. There’s Ross Strand, Ballycastle Beach, Lacken Strand (and the secret Kilcummin Back Strand), Portacloy, Rinroe and over on the Erris Peninsula, even more treasures in the shape of Elly Bay and Carne – and lots more to be discovered.
14. Climb Nephin Mountain – Ireland’s tallest standalone mountain, and the second highest in Connacht at 806m. Once you’ve reached the summit, be sure to capture a selfie, and pop into Barrett’s of Lahardane afterwards for a treat, and to collect your personalised Nephin certificate!
15. Take a sea safari! Make a day of it with a tour on the sea and take in some sea angling, wildlife watching, or visit the spectacular deserted Inishkea Islands. Check out Blacksod Sea Safari, Geraghty Charters, Belmullet Boat Tours, Donal Kennedy Angling Charter and Enniscrone Boat Tours for starters.
16. Visit Blacksod Lighthouse where informative guided tours will bring alive lighthouse life as it was for the keepers and their families, and guide you through the rich history of Ireland’s great lighthouses and aids to navigation. Blacksod is a rare opportunity to visit a working lighthouse, overlooking a working pier.
17. Tour Belleek Castle and the Marshall Doran Collection and learn about the origins of the Castle and the history of its former owners, the Knox-Gore family. The quirky Collection showcases one of the finest collections of arms and armour, dinosaur fossils, and antiques in Ireland and other surprises!