Mayo is well known for its connections to Saint Patrick and the peak of Croagh Patrick famously marks the spot where he is said to have banished snakes from the island. Not only did this Mayo mountain take its name from the saint, it is still customary for hikers to ascend to the top on a pilgrimage designed to honour him.
When you get there, enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, including the Aran Islands, and stand on the spot where, legend has it, Saint Patrick spent 40 days fasting back in 441AD.
But what are the origins of Ireland’s national holiday? Who was Saint Patrick and what kind of imprint did he leave on the Wild Atlantic Way in particular? This year, cast your mind back to the fifth century to understand how this iconic individual earned his place in the annals of history.
You can happily lose yourself among bay after brilliant bay in gorgeous County Mayo. With Mweelrea – its highest peak – perched in the south and those invigorating Atlantic waves cradling its north and western edges, this landscape extends quite the invitation.
Get to grips with some long-gone cultural heritage in The Lost Valley, Louisburgh. With its ancient village ruins and undisturbed landscape, it’s an unforgettable way to learn more about The Great Famine and starkly brings the hardship endured to life. Also home to a working farm, visitors get a true taste of west of Ireland rurality and of course, mesmerising natural scenery. Considered ‘lost’ because access to it was treacherous until the late 1980s, this lush valley has been in the Bourke family for more than a century.
What have poets, theatre luminaries, Antarctic explorers, soul legends and pirate queens all got in common?
Much more than you think. Not only did they each revel in the Wild Atlantic Way’s reviving landscape or contribute to its rich history and culture, they all chose one of its serene corners as their final resting place. These historic graves of the Wild Atlantic Way show how the hearts and minds of just about anyone can be won by these rolling mountain slopes and salt-breezed shores.
Nestled among County Mayo’s majestic Nephin Beg mountain range lies an expanse of picturesque land that feels like your own private hideaway.
At over 15,000 hectares, Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park heightens the senses and exceeds expectations.
The third largest of Ireland’s six National Parks, this is the place to escape to when it’s time to truly go off-grid and get back to nature. Boasting the Owenduff/Nephin bog complex, the largest and most intact example of active Atlantic blanket bog in Western Europe; stunning Slieve Carr, Ireland’s most remote mountain; and some utterly exceptional wildlife – Irish mountain hare, red fox, pine marten, otter, red deer and exceptional rare birdlife including merlin and golden plover – this all-encompassing National Park never fails to captivate.
If the sight of crashing waves and boundless beachy stretches are what really get your motor running, you can’t afford to miss this dual-day driving route along the scenic Sligo and Mayo coast. Discover ancient secrets at Carrowmore Tombs, Ireland’s largest megalithic cemetery, before taking in the stunning sea stacks at Downpatrick Head, a Signature Discovery Point on the Wild Atlantic Way. From dune-backed Strandhill to the buzzing heritage town of Ballina, this trek, topping off at just under two-and-a-half hours, will be the talk of your next get-together, especially if you opt for any of the many adventure activities on offer along the way.
Something of a Wild Atlantic Way celebrity, the Galway and Mayo coastline offers up sensational scenery that attracts weekend holidaymakers from all over the world. Boasting such breathtaking beauty spots as Connemara, the Great Western Greenway, and pretty Westport, this two-day itinerary is sure to stun, peppered as it is with offshore islands, atmospheric ruins, and towns and villages that seem plucked from the pages of storybooks.
Fill your lungs with its salty air, expand your mind with its creativity and culture, share a smile with its lively locals and open your heart to its incredible experiences. This is captivating coastal life from head to toe, northern reaches to southern corners. Soak up every drop. Embrace the Wild Atlantic Way of life.
Ballina has a long history of drama and theatre, and the welcome return of the fifth annual Ballina One Act Drama Festival from Friday November 1st to Sunday November 3rd in the beautiful Ballina Arts Centre will be one of the highlights of the year.
A one-act play is a play that has only one act, as distinct from plays that occur over several acts. One-act plays may consist of one or more scenes. This niche festival has really grown in popularity since its inception by Eugene Loftus in 2015 with most nights selling out, and together with his committee Eugene looks forward to extending a warm Ballina welcome to new and returning patrons. With three plays nightly, audiences at Ballina Arts Centre can look forward to variety and fine hospitality in the comfort of this modern 220-seater theatre where director Sean Walsh and his team work side by side with the festival crew to ensure a seamless event.
Writer and comedian John Colleary will leave you in stitches in Ballina Arts Centre on Friday 27th September 2019 at 8pm.
Apart from being one of the most in-demand comics around, John Colleary has co-written and starred in IFTA nominated shows, The Savage Eye and Irish Pictorial Weekly. A talented actor and mimic, John recently featured as one-third of The Gusset Brothers on The Tommy Tiernan Show.
Colleary has also scooped a PPI award for his topical sketch writing and performance on TODAY FMs drivetime flagship, The Last Word. A regular at Kilkenny Cat Laughs, Vodafone Comedy Carnival and The Electric Picnic to name a few.
John can now add Ballina Comedy Club to this long line with what is to be an hilarious start to the winter comedy programme for all!
“It’d make you sick how talented he is” – Joe Rooney