Beautiful Ballina is situated on the estuary of the River Moy, and is world famous for its rich salmon fishing. With a stunning lake, river and the magnificent Atlantic Ocean within shouting distance Ballina is indeed the fisherman’s haven. But the town’s visitors can bypass the fishing and simply enjoy all that is great about Ballina and its environs.
It’s proximity to the north Mayo coast makes it the perfect base to explore the region’s remote sandy beaches and wonderfully wild bogland. Unique flora and fauna combined with the area’s rich history leaves visitors intrigued.
Among Ballina’s key visitor attractions are the ruins of Moyne Abbey, Rosserk Friary dating back to the 15th century and the impressive St Muredach’s Cathedral which stands imposingly on the banks of the River Moy with breathtaking views of stunning Bartra Island.
The town plays host to exciting festivals during the year. The big one is the Ballina Salmon Festival in July which attracts thousands of anglers from all over the world with lots of family friendly events too. The thriving Ballina Arts Centre regularly hosts gigs, galleries, workshops and arts and crafts events for both the young and old.
Downpatrick Head is a majestic heritage site found about 5km north of Ballycastle village. Jutting out into the ocean and rising almost 40m above the waves, it provides unparalleled views of the Atlantic, including the unique collection of islands known as the Staggs of Broadhaven. You can also spot the nearby Dún Briste sea stack, with its different coloured layers of rock and nesting sea birds. In addition to the natural scenery and wildlife, Downpatrick Head is home to the ruins of a church, holy well and stone cross, which together mark the site of an earlier church founded by St Patrick. Ireland’s patron saint is also honoured with a statue that was built in the early 1980s. Given its religious associations, Downpatrick Head was once a popular destination for pilgrims, who came here each year on the last Sunday of July, known as ‘Garland Sunday’. Today that tradition lives on, and mass is still celebrated at Downpatrick Head on that same day.