History & Heritage

Westport, Co Mayo 

The Charming town of Westport, situated on the shores of Clew Bay, is one of the few planned towns in the country. It is an estate town, built to the plan of James Wyatt, the well known architect of the Georgian period. One of its outstanding features is the elegant tree-lined boulevard, known as The Mall.

Guided walks of this historic town are conducted twice weekly during the summer months.

The history of the development of Westport, from the time it was an O'Malley stronghold in the 16th century, to the present day, is brought alive in the Heritage Centre, located at Westport Quay. 

For more information visit the Clew Bay Heritage Centre, The Quay, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland
Tel: +353 (0)98 26852, Email: westportheritage@eircom.net, Website: westport.mayo-ireland.ie 


Clew Bay Archaeological Trail

Clew Bay is one of the most spectacular sea inlets in Ireland.  For over 6000 years, people have lived here and left their trace behind, offering up a stunning landscape, rich in heritage, archaeology and history.   The Trail boasts 21 archaeological and heritage sites, stretching from Westport, taking in Murrisk, Louisburg and over to Clare Island at the mouth of Clew Bay.  All the appointed sites are close to roadways and are all signposted with a distinctive logo – two circles – an inspiration from the dominant circular motifs of Boheh Stone.

For further information visit http://www.clewbaytrail.com


Clew Bay Heritage Centre

Situated in a 19th century building, the Clew Bay Heritage Centre, traces the history of the planned town of Westport and the Clew Bay area from pre-Christian times to the present. Artefacts, documents and photographs connected with the general Westport area provide a basis for the presentation of local history, customs and traditions. Guided tours of the centre are available.

Genealogical Service

For the Westport and Clew Bay area (Achill Island to Louisburgh). The genealogical service is backed up by an extensive computer database, based on church records, schools registers, rent rolls, cemetery records, census returns, local newspapers and street directories.

For more information log on to  - westport.mayo-ireland.ie


Westport Story
A 60-minute animated Tour of Westport. Hear the history, gossip, stories and yarns as you wander through the streets and laneways of the town.  The tour departs from the octagon on Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings at 11.30am.
Adults €7
Seniors, Students & Unwaged €5
Group Rate (20+) €5 per person
Advance Booking, though not essential, is advisable. 
Book via Westport Activity Ambassador contact Lorella on 087 9768096
Email – westportactivityambassadors@gmail.com 

National Museum of Ireland – Country Life

Home to the national collection of objects representing the traditional way of life in Ireland since 1850. The award-winning* Museum of Country Life is home to the National Folklife Collection. With exhibitions spread over four floors, the Museum gives its visitors a unique opportunity to see how the people of Ireland lived in the hundred years between the Great Famine and the end of the 1950s. 

Interactive displays and screens, actual video footage of traditions we are fast losing are featured alongside handcrafted harvest knots, wickerwork, spinning wheels and boats, clothing and artefacts from the islands and hand operated machinery our grandparents used. 

For more information log on to  - http://www.museum.ie/en/intro/country-life.aspx


Céide Fields Visitor Centre

The Céide Fields in North Mayo will certainly give you a unique experience. For this is not just another archaeological monument or visitor centre. Here you can indulge yourself in a vast prehistoric landscape, a natural wild ecology of blanket bog, dramatic cliffs and coastline, and a much acclaimed building, which has received Ireland's most prestigious architectural award. 

The Céide Fields are the oldest known field systems in the world, over five and a half millennia old. It is a unique Neolithic landscape of world importance, which has changed our perception of our Stone Age ancestors. The remains of stone field walls, houses and megalithic tombs are preserved beneath a blanket of peat over several square miles. They tell a story of the everyday lives of a farming people, their organized society, their highly developed spiritual beliefs, and their struggle against a changing environment beyond their control.

For more information log on to - http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/west/ceidefields/


Croagh Patrick Information Centre

The Croagh Patrick Information Centre is situated in Murrisk on the Pilgrim's Path at the base of Croagh Patrick and opposite the National Famine Monument.

Croagh Patrick is 5 miles from the picturesque town of Westport and its conical shape soars majestically above the surrounding countryside. Magnificent views of Clew Bay and the surrounding south Mayo countryside are spectacular from all stages of the ascent of the mountain.


Tóchar Phádraig

From Ballintubber Abbey stretching out to Croagh Patrick is Tóchar Phádraig, the ancient pilgrim path.

Originally it was the chariot road that went from Rathcruachan, the seat of the Kings and Queens of Connacth, to Aughagower and Cruachan Aille, as Croagh Patrick was called in Pre-Christian times.

After St Patrick's time pilgrims began to traverse that same road to the holy mountain and over time it became known as Tóchar Phádraig or St Patrick's Causeway.


Michael Davitt Museum

The Michael Davitt Museum is now housed in the magnificently restored pre-penal church in the village of Straide, County Mayo. Michael Davitt was christened in this church in 1846 and is buried in the grounds of the 13th Century Straide Abbey, beside the Museum. 

The Michael Davitt Museum contains an extensive collection of documents, photos, Land Acts, letters, postcards, posters and other items connected with Davitt's life. There is also the excellent audio-visual which enhances the exhibition and knowledgable and friendly staff are on hand to give you a guided tour which encompasses Davitt's grave and also Straide Abbey, if desired.


Ballycroy National Park

Ballycroy National Park was established in November 1998, it is Ireland’s sixth National Park and is located on the Western seaboard in northwest Mayo. It comprises of 11,000 hectares of Atlantic blanket bog and mountainous terrain, covering a vast uninhabited and unspoilt wilderness dominated by the Nephin Beg mountain range. Between Nephin beg and Slieve Carr, at 721metres above sea level, the highest mountain in the range, lie the Scardaun Loughs. 

To the west of the mountains is the Owenduff bog. This is one of the last intact active blanket bog systems in Ireland and Western Europe and is an important scientific and scenic feature of the National Park. The Park also protects a variety of other important habitats and species. These include alpine heath, upland grassland, heath and lakes and river catchments. Greenland White-fronted geese, Golden plover, Red Grouse and Otters are just some of the important fauna found within the Park. The National Park is itself part of the Owenduff/Nephin Complex Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Area (SPA). These European designations are part of the Natura 2000 Network, which protect rare and important habitats and species under the EU Habitats and Birds Directive. 

For more information log on to - http://www.ballycroynationalpark.ie


Ballycroy National Park Visitor Centre
Ballycroy National Park Visitor Centre is modern public facility with free entrance, free wifi, café, restrooms and friendly helpful staff. This is a perfect stop on the N59, en-route from Sligo to Ballina, Belmullet, Achill, Westport and Connemara. This hidden gem is one of the six COACH STOPS on Co. Mayo's Wild Atlantic Way.
The Exhibition: Their well designed interactive exhibition captivates visitors of all ages. It offers a comprehensive overview of this unique Atlantic blanket bog system, including rivers, seashore and marine life along with interesting anecdotes on local history and culture.
Tóchar Daithí Bán Nature Trail: This nature trail is short and it's on a user-friendly pathway with even ground underfoot. There are countless photographic opportunities here from this charming trail including; a magnificent 360 degree panoramic view to Achill Island, the Nephin Beg Mountain Range, the Owenduff Bog and the Atlantic Ocean. This 20 minute loop walk can easily be done by individuals and groups. A more in-depth guided walk can be arranged by request, where visitor centre staff will be happy to identify flora, fauna and geological features.
Open daily, April to September, 10am to 5.30pm,  Free admission.
Ballycroy National Park Visitor Centre
Ballycroy Village
Co. Mayo

Belcarra Eviction Cottage

A 19th century eviction cottage at Elmhall, once the home of the Walshe family, who were evicted by the landlord's agents, has been restored and refurnished as a Heritage Centre, by Belcarra Community Co-Op.

The cottage was the scene of the last eviction in Belcarra, where a family of nine were evicted by the Landlord's agents, the infamous Gardiner, Pringle and Cuffe on Saturday October 2nd 1886.

Lahardane - Ireland's 'Titanic Village' 

Historically, Lahardane lays claim to being 'Ireland’s Titanic Village' because of the enormous loss of lives, of any parish in Ireland, on the ill-fated RMS Titanic's catastrophic maiden voyage. Within days of boarding the Titanic on Thursday 11th April 1912, at Queenstown (Cobh) in County Cork, eleven of the fourteen people from Addergoole parish had perished in the icy waters east of Newfoundland. Only three Addergoole parishioners survived the tragedy. 

The Addergoole Titanic Society was established in November 2001 to commemorate the story of the 'Addergoole Fourteen'
For more information log on to http://www.addergoole-titanic.com

Mayo North Family Research CentreTracing Your Ancestors 

The Mayo North Family Research Centre in Enniscoe, County Mayo offers a genealogical research service covering the northern part of County Mayo. 

Location: Crossmolina, Co. Mayo

Telephone: +353 (0)96 31809


Quiet Man Cottage Museum 

In 1951 John Ford's greatest movie "The Quiet Man" starring John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara and Barry Fitzgerald was made. It was set in the beautiful west of Ireland with filming being centred in the village of Cong on the Mayo-Galway border.

Quiet Man Cottage Museum is a novel concept which will give the visitor a total Quiet Man experience as if they were actually 'on-set'. Located by the river at Circular Road, Cong, between actual locations used for the filming, the ground floor of the cottage has been designed as an exact replica of 'White-o-Mornin' Cottage.


South Mayo Family Research CentreTracing Your Ancestors 

South Mayo Family Research Centre is located in Ballinrobe, County Mayo. It offers a full service to those inquiring about their family history.

Location: Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo

Telephone: +353 (0)94 9541214


The Bard Summer School 

The Bard Summer School explores the Irish myths and goes on a unique journey of discovery for their contemporary relevance. All of these myths have lasted thousands of years and have been handed down through Ireland's oral tradition. There is a place for everyone on the school and for fifteen years Bard has welcomed participants from all over the world.

Clare Island is the ancestral home of the legendary Pirate Queen Grace O'Malley (Granuaile). It provides a backdrop of megalithic tombs, holy wells and a 12th century Cistercian Abbey. The Festival includes nightly entertainment of music, poetry, song and dance. The Children's Bard also takes place during the festival. The festival hosts island tours and the annual Islander's Night, where we experience local traditions kept alive by the people of Clare Island. The festival finishes with a poetry reading and a Celtic feast.

Phone +353 1 4904879

Email bardsummerschool@iol.ie



Kiltimagh Museum 

The history of the Museum in Kiltimagh is inextricably bound up with the change in the town's fortunes. For generations Kiltimagh was associated with poverty and depression. With no employment locally family ties were ruptured as our young people were forced to leave the area in search of work. . The community hit its lowest ebb in the 1980s: houses were empty and boarded up and sporting 'For Sale' signs. The Railway Station, once hub of activity, was derelict, its depressed and abandoned state echoing that of the community.

The Museum, once the Goods Station, unites past and present. The once derelict Station Master's House is now an Art Centre and the area is further enhanced by sculptures by local artists and also some of the foremost artists in the country.


Westport House & Gardens 

Westport House & Grounds, first opened to the public is 1960, is one of Ireland’s best loved heritage attractions.  Having been family home to the Browne family for over 300 years, its roots trace back to Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen of Connaught.  As you can imagine - this house has some story to tell.  Designed by the famous architects Richard Cassels James Wyatt and Thomas Ivory in the 18th Century,

It is located west of the Shannon and is one of Irelands’ most beautiful historic homes open to the public.  It enjoys a superb parkland setting with lake, terraces, wonderful gardens and magnificent views overlooking Clew Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, Clare Island and Ireland’s holy mountain Croagh Patrick. It was built and is still privately owned by the Browne family who are direct descendants of the 16th century Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley. 

For more information log on to http://www.westporthouse.ie/westport-house-and-gardens/


Foxford Woollen Mills

Foxford Woollen Mills is one of the last working mills in Ireland, a country with a strong historic tradition of weaving. Foxford products represent hundreds of years of skill, dedication and commitment and a passion for craftsmanship that will never fade. With the help of award winning Irish designers, Foxford has revived an age old craft with clean, contemporary designs, vibrant colours and softer finishes while remaining dedicated to a superior level of hand finished quality. Above all, Foxford remains a brand that is quintessentially Irish.


Kylemore Abbey & Victorian walled gardens 

Visit the restored rooms of the Abbey and learn about it’s history and tales of tradegy and romance. Explore the 6 acre Victorian Walled Garden with it’s magnificent restored buildings. Discover great walks through the grounds.


Historical & Religious Walks

Guided tour of Murrisk Heritage Loop Walk each Saturday July & August at 2.30 p.m. with Brían Hoban, Local Historian & Fáilte Ireland Approved Tourist Guide.
Meeting Place: Campbell’s Pub, Murrisk, Westport, County Mayo.
•   Details of Patrician Pilgrimage.
•   Visit to National Famine Memorial
•   Visit to Murrisk Abbey
•   Developement of fishing industry by settlers from Scotland and associated history.
Also includes Pre Christian origins of this place of pilgrimage, Iron Age Ring Fort, Neolithic Archaelogical sites, visit to Penal Mass Rock, etc
A Guided History of Old Town Castlebar will take place each Friday, Saturday & Sunday during July and August starting at Tourist Office at 10.30 a.m.
Mayo History Tours

A series of guided history tours will be provided by Brían Hoban, Local Historian and Fáilte Ireland Approved Tour Guide during the months of July and August.
A Guided History of Old Town Castlebar will take place each Friday, Saturday & Sunday during July and August starting at Tourist Office at 10.30 a.m.
Among the topics covered in this fascinating tour are:
● The establishment of a castle by George De Barrie in 1235
● The granting of a Charter of Incorporation by King James 1st in 1613
● The defeat of the Redcoats in "the Races of Castlebar" on 27th August 1798
● The foundation of the Land League by Michael Davitt in 1879.
In addition a guided tour of Murrisk Heritage Loop Walk will take place each Saturday commencing at Campbell’s Pub, Murrisk at 2.30p.m.
For full details contact Brían at 087 9234504.