We are absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to great walks in North Mayo, and if you’re looking for a route that has scenery over which to marvel but is still a little off the beaten track, try the Village of Porturlin.
The rugged little fishing village of Porturlin is nestled in a deep inlet right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. There are wonderful coastal trail walks both east and west of Porturlin. The coastal trail to the east links right back to Belderrig, which is roughly a half day’s walk away. If you are interested in photography, try and time your visit to catch the tide either fully in or fully out when harbour dries out you will see all the boats stranded at different angles. Walkers can stroll among them and take interesting photographs.
If it’s fishing your after, you can try your hand casting from the pier, where you can expect to find turbot, pollack, and mackerel. In 1894 a fishing curing station was established here as the harbour was more sheltered than the others in the area and offered easier access to the sea. The present pier was built in 1956 and modernised in 1965-66. Apart from the main fishing catches of Mackerel, herring, salmon, cod and pollock, fishermen also used to catch lobsters and crabs with lobster pots made of heather called in Irish “potai fraoigh”. Originally during this time the boats were called “currachs” and built locally. Today the well known diesel engine boats have replaced the traditional fishing currachs.
The Porturlin Loop walk starts and finishes at Porturlin Pier and although the walk itself is 'moderate' it includes an 11km breathtaking cliff walk which takes you approx 3 hours. During this walk you will also be able to see 'Pig Island' Inishmuc in Irish, as it takes its name from the boar shape. The rocky cliffs are 60 metres high and it has one of the most scenic tunnels in the area - the tunnel is 19 metres high and looks like a natural arch.
The original Porturlin Pier was built in 1886 and was only used as a landing slip in these early days.
For more information on the walk visit Mayo-ireland
or Mayo North Tourism via MayoNorth.ie