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Travel + Fun

24th May 2024

Mayo’s must-see animal attractions for your next short break

Sarah McKenna Barry

Brought to you by Discover Ireland

Mayo is home to goats, wolfhounds and so much more!

Ireland’s west coast is known as the Wild Atlantic Way, and for good reason. It’s lined with a striking coastline, it’s home to sprawling beaches and its rugged scenery will take your breath away.

However, this county is particularly wild thanks to its many great animal attractions – and if you’ve got a wildlife lover at home, these spots are bound to delight them on your next getaway.

From visiting a troupe of Old Irish Goats in Mulranny, to embarking on sea safari in Blacksod Bay, there is a wealth of animal-centred attractions in this county. Here are some of our top picks that are bound to delight the animal lover in your life on a short break.

Old Irish Goat Visitor Centre

One of Ireland’s indigenous species is the Old Irish Goat, a landrace breed, and the Old Irish Goat Visitor Centre is dedicated to caring for this critically endangered creature. At their last remaining stronghold in Mulranny, Mayo, visitors will get the opportunity to meet the Old Irish Goats and delve into their 5000 year history with a visit to their museum and with a screening of their documentary. In addition to the farm’s charming residents, you’ll also get to take in views of the Nephin Mountains, Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick.

To add extra adventure to your Mulranny visit, embark on a stroll or cycle along a section of the Great Western Greenway and once you’ve built up an appetite, enjoy a meal at Nephin Restaurant in the Mulranny Park Hotel, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.

The Achill Experience

Achill Island in Mayo is home to some fascinating marine life, and during a trip to The Achill Experience, you and your family will have the opportunity to see it in a whole new light. The Achill Experience Aquarium consists of 15 tanks showcasing the fish that call the Achill waters home, and there’s also a small selection of tropical fish. Journey through the aquarium and you’ll see cat sharks, crabs, thornback rays, starfish, sea urchins and so much more. In addition to the aquarium, there’s a museum that brings the history of Achill to life.

While you’re in the area, make sure you visit the stunning Keem Beach for a stroll, a dip or a paddle and for great food, make a booking at the award-winning Achill Cliff House Hotel.

Blacksod Sea Safari

When it comes to finding an activity that the entire family will enjoy, it’s hard to beat a day on the water, particularly if you have some wildlife lovers in your bunch. On your next getaway to the Wild Atlantic Way, climb aboard the Blacksod Sea Safari and spend a day on the lookout for wildlife in the Atlantic Ocean. You and your family will depart from Blacksod Pier and cruise below the Cliffs of Croaghan, exploring hotspots for wildlife, including dolphins, sea birds and more.

Add a beach day to Rinroe, a Green Coast Award-winning beach to your Mayo itinerary and then settle into Mc’s Bistro & Grill in Belmullet for a tasty meal.

Irish Wolfhounds

Stock photo: Unsplash

At Irish Wolfhounds, you and your family will have the incredible opportunity to meet Spéir and Mairtín, two purebred Irish wolfhounds, an ancient breed of Irish dog. On the beautiful Bertra Beach you’ll get the chance to watch these dogs play and your guides will instruct you on how to pet and cuddle these gorgeous animals. You’ll also get to enjoy hearing about the Irish legend of Cú Chulainn and his own wolfhounds. Finally, you and your family will get the opportunity to pose for a photo with Spéir and Mairtín.

During your stay in Westport, head to Westport House, where a day of family fun awaits. Your little ones will adore the Gaming Zone and the Adventure Park, and there’s also plenty of great dining options to choose from, including Gracy’s Pizzeria, a café and a food truck that specialises in toasties.

All these incredible animal attractions are waiting for your visit, so start planning your next break along the Wild Atlantic Way today.

Brought to you by Discover Ireland.
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Feature image: Pexels