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Road Trip - County Mayo Ireland
25th August 2015
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Mayo Road Trip

In August 2015 I had a few days off and decided to take a little road trip around County Mayo. I was a little bored of my own car so I called into Edward Conway Motors Castlebar and asked to take the new KIA Sportage for a test drive. Little did they know the type of “test” drive I had in mind.

I set out with a plan to visit as many towns and villages in Mayo and compile it all into a three minute video for youtube. After day one alone I had about 60 minutes if footage and I knew I was in trouble. County Mayo just has so much to offer that its simply not possible to showcase the entire county in just 3 minutes. 30 minutes still would not do this beautiful county any justice.

I had to break my initial idea down into “parts” and here is part 1.

It showcases only some of what each town or village has to offer, starting in Beautiful Westport, so called by the team at WESTPORT WALKING TOURS.

Then we move on to MURRISK, just a few miles outside Westport, home to the majestic Croagh Patrick. Located at the foot of the mountain is the National Famine Memorial, which commemorates the Great Famine of the 1840s. John Behan’s sculpture is a bronze ship, with skeletal figures symbolising the many emigrants from the Irish famine who died in the appalling conditions aboard the “coffin ships” on which they left Ireland.

Again I can not stress enough that a three minute video of each town and village alone would not do them justice as this country truly has so much to offer. The next stop was Foxford, home to The Foxford Woollen Mills. Here you can tour the working mill, where master craftspeople are at work on the pieces that Foxford are proud to deliver to excited customers all over the world. Watch as techniques passed down through generations are used to create contemporary designs. I hope to upload a video soon of my experience in the mill alone. It was a fantastic experience and thanks to Mildred for the private tour. 

Achill Island, what can I say. Achill Island really needs a few days of your time to really experience all this island has to offer. On a sunny day its the most picturesque place in the world however if you watch the video closely you’ll see its overcast at the “Welcome to Achill” sign and a quarter of a mile up the road at the bridge the sun is shining. The day we drove through Achill we almost experienced the four seasons in one day. You could say thats true for the entire country and not just Achill.

From Achill it was on to The Ashleigh Falls and the video speaks for itself. What the video does not show is the huge Salmon trying to jump up over the waterfall. This was truly an amazing sight and I’m really sorry I did not get it on camera as my batteries died just as we got to the waterfall.

Next up on the video is Ballintubber Abbey just outside Castlebar, who doesn’t want to see where James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) got married?  Founded by King Cathal Crobdearg Ua Conchobair in 1216. It is said to be the only church in Ireland founded by an Irish king that is still in regular use.

After taking our Westport Walking Tour on day one, Stephen told us about The Doolough Tragedy,  an event that took place during The Great Irish Famine. This video does seem to be taking the theme of The Great Famine but this is just part of long history in County Mayo. You can not drive through Mayo without driving out to Doolough and I’m glad Stephen insisted we did so. Thanks Stephen.

In the news this week, Ashford Castle, voted the best hotel IN THE WORLD. It really is worth the €5 admission to walk around the grounds of the castle and again I hope to cut a video, just of our experience here. It has to been seen to be believed and its a credit to the ground keepers of the castle. There really isn’t a blade of grass out of place.

Mulranny, nestled at the foot of The Nephin Mountain Range, offers some of the nicest long sandy blue flag beaches in the County. 

If your in to your surfing, the vast expanse of sand and great waves at Carrownisky Strand has made it both a famous horse racing beach each summer (revived in 2010) and a well known surfing destination. No need to bring your board or wetsuit, you can hire them there at a reasonable rate. 

As I said, this video really is just part one of many and if you have any suggestions where we should go next or would like to invite us to your part of the world please do get in touch soon.

Thanks for watching, UP MAYO !!!

 

 

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Alan Clarke

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