Push off from Twin Trees Hotel and head 20 minutes north of Ballina and you will reach the historic village of Killala.
Beyond beautiful seascapes and cosy pubs, Killala is also steeped in military and ecclesiastic history.
The French General Humbert and his expeditionary force landed at nearby Kilcummin Harbour in 1798 in a vain attempt to bolster the Irish Rebellion.
Humbert enjoyed swift success which culminated in the Castle Bar Races and the declaration of the Republic of Connacht.
It was not to last long, unfortunately, and Humbert’s force was defeated at Ballinamuck on the Longford/Leitrim border.
On September 23rd 1798, the British stormed and retook Killala. The village was free for little more than a month. The inhabitants and refugees from the surrounding area paid a heavy price as British forces gave no quarter.
This was to be the last major engagement of the rebellion.
The military importance of the village did not begin with the men and women of ’98, though. Enaghbeg to the west of Killala is home to ancient forts.
It is said that the village’s religious significance is traced back to St. Patrick. His disciple, St. Muredach, was the founding bishop of the diocese and is remembered in local church names and place names.
Must-visits: the famous Round Tower is about 10 centuries old and the ancient well of Tobar Mhuire features in local legend as a place of early Christian baptism. It sits under the brow of a hill, close to the Wild Atlantic with a little chapel built over it.
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