Planning a weekend away? Here are 5 fun family attractions to visit in Mayo this summer
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Planning a family trip to Mayo? Don't miss these must-see attractions along the Wild Atlantic Way...
Marvellous Mayo bewitches with its magical experiences. Located along the Wild Atlantic Way, Mayo has the longest coastline of any county in Ireland, and as you can imagine, beaches are beautiful and plentiful.
But it's not just its bounty of beaches that attracts; Mayo has an incredible amount of wilderness walks, heritage hotspots, and majestic mountains, all of which provide adventure activities or relaxing respite far from the madding crowd.
Looking for some destination inspiration? Here are some excellent experiences to enjoy in Yew County...
Wild Nephin National Park & Ballycroy Visitor Centre
Wild Nephin National Park and Ballycroy Visitor Centre is a wilderness area in the Nephin Beg Mountains of northwest Mayo and the third-largest national park in Ireland.
And it certainly does live up to its wild moniker! The park is the place to go if you want to escape the crowds. It’s home to Ireland's most remote mountain - Slieve Carr - and has the most significant Atlantic blanket bog in Europe and is the only Irish National Park that reaches out to the sea.
Start your park experience in the Ballycroy Visitor Centre and get to know the area through the engaging interactive exhibition. From here, you can follow the 2km Tóchar Daithí Bán Nature Trail or sign up for a guided walk.
Top tip: During the summer months, there’s also a kids club and terrific talks and activities.
Claggan Mountain Coastal Trail
There are plenty of marked walks to enjoy in Wild Nephin National Park, but one more gentle, family friendly routes is the Claggan Mountain Coastal Trail. Following the 1.5km boardwalk, you’ll walk through the bog and along the coast for picturesque views across the bay and toward Achill Island. Listen for the calls of wading birds such as curlews and ringed plovers and catch glimpses of otters and seals, as well as a host of other fantastic flora and fauna.
Top tip: This route is perfect for children of all ages and suitable for prams.
Ginger and Wild Cafe
The light and airy Ginger and Wild Cafe is nestled in the invigorating and inspiring landscape of Wild Nephin National Park. Fuel up before your wilderness walks or revive afterwards with homemade dishes made with locally sourced produce and natural ingredients. The cafe is also home to a gorgeous gallery exhibiting Irish artwork and jewellery, pottery, textiles and artefacts from across the globe.
Top tip: If the weather is fine, grab an outside table and soak in the sweeping views of Achill Island and the Wild Atlantic Way.
The Lost Valley
Take a trip back in time and enjoy a walking history lesson that takes you past the most breathtaking scenery.
The Lost Valley is a ruined famine village and an active working farm. Situated as remote as can be, on the edge of Ireland, this terrific tour gives a glimpse into the past and cultural heritage of the west of Ireland. As you walk through the village, you'll see the tumbled-down walls of the cabins where people lived up to the mid-1800s until they were evicted and driven out. See the potato plots and other points of interest that show the hardships endured by the villagers during the Famine. There is something very surreal about hearing bleak tales surrounded by such beauty.
Top tip: The Lost Valley is also a working farm, so children can enjoy feeding the lambs, sheepdog demonstrations and, sometimes, sheep shearing demos, too.
Blacksod Lighthouse Tour
Is there anything more majestic than a lighthouse proudly perched upon the coast?
The Blacksod Lighthouse has, for over 150 years, shone brightly over Blacksod Point at the southern tip of the Mullet Peninsula in Co. Mayo.
Constructed in 1864 and made of locally sourced granite blocks, its square design makes it a rather unusual lighthouse. On a tour, knowledgeable guides bring lighthouse life to life as you learn all about the lighthouse keepers and their families. You'll also discover the lighthouse's fascinating role in the D-Day landings. It is such an exciting experience visiting a working lighthouse overlooking a working pier.
Top tip: Warm up with hot drinks from the Coffee Pod beside the lighthouse. Probably the most scenic cuppa you'll ever have.
So, are you waiting for? Now is the perfect time to discover the Wild Atlantic Way in Mayo.
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