Mayo Bucket List: 15 Things To Experience In This Picturesque County On Your Next Short Break

By seank

August 27, 2019 at 3:04pm



Mayo really deserves to be your next short break destination.

We all already know that Mayo is one of the most ruggedly beautiful counties in Ireland – they do call it the Wild Atlantic Way for a reason – and there’s far more to the area than just its picturesque landscape.

In a recent article, we gave you some pretty persuasive reasons to plan a visit to the Bothy Loop in the Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park and told you why you should make an overnight trip out of it while you’re in the area.

The walk’s peak on Slieve Carr provides you with great views of the surrounding Owenduff/Nephin bog complex. You are also likely to spot some fascinating wildlife along this walk on Ireland’s most remote mountain.

With its breath-taking views of hills and lakes, its interesting history and its convenient visitor centre, there really is no reason not to visit the Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park. It also has an interactive exhibition, nature trail with a pond and viewing point and handy little café.

To further entice you to this ruggedly beautiful trail, we’ve decided to show off a few of the attractions surrounding the destination.

Want dramatic scenery? You got it. Searching for a spot of excitement? Look no further. Unreal pubs? There’s definitely no shortage of those on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Basically, you’ll find everything you need for a memorable short break in Mayo. Here are a few of our recommendations for your stay...

Stay at Mulranny Park Hotel

It's worth an overnight stay here for the stellar views of Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick alone.

Located on the Great Western Greenway and just a stone's throw from the gorgeous Mulranny Beach, lovers of the great outdoors will be in their element at Mulranny Park Hotel.

Once you've spent the day tiring yourself out with the likes of the Bothy Loop, do your weary body a favour and spend your evening relaxing in the jacuzzi, sauna, steam rooms or outdoor hot tub.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to Bothy Loop: 30 minutes

Stay at the stunning Hotel Newport

Situated in the picturesque town of Newport, Hotel Newport is ideal for couples, families, and groups of pals. With a bar/lounge and a restaurant, it has everything you need for your stay in this gorgeous area.

Meanwhile, Seven Arches Bar and Bistro serves stunning lunches and dinners and the elegant Cobblers Restaurant serves interesting and delicious cuisine

Plus, you might even be treated to an impromptu trad session.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Bothy Loop: 14 minutes

Do the Atlantic Drive on Achill Island.

This has to be one of the very best road trips in Ireland.

The powerful waves of the Atlantic have given the southern shore of Achill Island a truly spectacular coastline, which is a pleasure to feast your eyes upon.


Follow the Atlantic Drive from Keel beach, where you’ll see surfers and the colourful sails of the kite-surfers, to Keem Bay, which is located at the head of a valley between the gargantuan cliffs of Benmore and Croaghaun Mountain.

To reach this idyllic spot, just follow the Atlantic Drive to Keel and continue westward via a cliff-top road with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Bothy Loop: 55 minutes

Visit Keem Bay

Found on the western end of Achill Island and beloved for its sense of splendid isolation, this bay is enclosed by the surrounding cliffs of Benmore and Croaghaun Mountain.

This has long been a popular site among locals for swimming and fishing in currachs, which are traditional canvas-covered wooden vessels.

Fun fact: the Achill Basking Shark fishery once operated here in the ‘50s and ‘60s, targeting the sharks for their oil, which was used as a lubricant in the aeronautical industry.

If you’re lucky, you might even see basking sharks enjoying the waters during summer.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Bothy Loop: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ponder the Deserted Village

At the foot of Slievemore Mountain, along a mile-long stretch of road, about 100 empty stone cottages can be found.

Archaeological evidence suggests that settlements in this area date back to at least medieval times and they appear to have been home to many generations of inhabitants since. Even in living memory, the buildings were inhabited for ‘booleying’, where farmers would live away from home for periods of the year to allow their cattle to graze another pasture.

This isolated place, sheltered from the modern age, is a time capsule for the Ireland of yesteryear. It’s a place for remembrance and solitude.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Bothy Loop: 1 hour

Cycle the Great Western Greenway

Spanning 43.5km of the Wild Atlantic Way, this is Ireland’s longest off-road cycling trail.

Following a 19th century Midlands Great Western Railway route, which serviced rural areas of Mayo, the track has been transformed into a gorgeous traffic-free path between Westport and Achill.

A must-try for leisure cyclists and walkers alike.


Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Bothy Loop: 25 minutes

Check out the Ceide Fields Visitor Centre

The Ceide Fields is the oldest known farming field system in the world at an amazing five and a half millennia old. Ancient remains of stone field walls, houses and megalithic tombs can be seen.

The astounding exterior of this building is a pretty good indicator of what lies inside.

The centre is a striking pyramid structure composed of peat, limestone and capped off with a glazed lantern apex.

It gets even more interesting when you take a look at its exhibitions, with their audio-visual presentations on the geology, botany, wildlife and archaeology of the local region.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Bothy Loop: 1 hour.

Be brave with The Adventure Islands

Need something that’ll set the heart racing? If so, look no further.

This adventure company has a tonne of different activities available around Westport. When it comes to water-based fun, they offer sea kayaking, deep-sea fishing, sea safari powerboat rides, surfing and kite surfing. On land, they’ve got archery, bike hire, horse riding, mountain trekking, archery tag and tree climbing.

You could literally spend a whole weekend with The Adventure Islands and never once get bored.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Bothy Loop: 35 minutes

Have a bite in the Gráinne Uaile Restaurant

When your belly starts to rumble, this spot should be your first port of call.

Located at the edge of Clew Bay, call into this award-winning restaurant after you’ve enjoyed some water-based fun nearby.

You can look forward to dishes like steak & Guinness casserole, seafood chowder, traditional Irish stew and plenty more equally hearty fare. Just the fuel you need when you’re on a bit of an adventure.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Bothy Loop: 20 minutes


Have a pint in Matt Molloy’s

If there’s one thing you can depend on in life, it’s that there’s always a great crowd in this intimate pub in Westport, County Mayo.

The owner himself is a seasoned musician, and a passionate one at that, so you can be sure of a lively trad session every night of the week.

For an electric atmosphere and guaranteed great night out, definitely step into Matt Molloy’s.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Bothy Loop: 30 minutes

Explore Westport House & Gardens

This is a whole lot more than just a stately home.

Dating all the way back to the 1500s, back when the Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley terrorised the seas, this beautiful Mayo manor now attracts tourists from around the world with the surprising variety of attractions on its grounds.

Take a gander at the house’s extravagant decor, stroll through its lush gardens, chow down on pizza in Gracy’s Gastro Bar, let the kids run riot on the amusements at the Pirate Adventure Park, and you can even stay on the actual grounds over in the Westport House Caravan and Camping Park.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Bothy Loop: 35 minutes

Feast your eyes on Tourmakeady Waterfall

The romantics among you will adore this Mayo spot.

Take an enchanting stroll along the verdant Tourmakeady Woodland Walk and you’ll eventually come across this natural wonder. The whole scene looks like something out of a fairy tale.

FYI, it’s a great location to pop the question. Just sayin’.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Bothy Loop: 1 hour

Take a tour of National Museum of Ireland – Country Life

Step backwards in time and deepen your understanding of how our ancestors lived at this free museum. Spoiler alert: ‘Twas far from avocado on toast they were reared.

Discover our ancestors’ way of life in the Natural Folklife Collection, displayed across four floors of exhibition galleries, where you’ll learn about their crafts, farming and fishing practices, ancient customs and festivals.


Once you’ve had your fill of history, explore the tranquil Victorian Gardens.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Bothy Loop: 40 minutes

Hike up Croagh Patrick

The third highest peak in Mayo at 764m, St Patrick is said to have fasted for 40 days on this mountaintop, which is why it remains to this day an important pilgrimage site for devout Catholics.

That said, you absolutely do not need to be one of the faithful to enjoy the awesome views from its summit.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Bothy Loop: 40 minutes

Be moved at the National Famine Memorial

Found in Murrisk, at the foot of Croagh Patrick, this haunting monument honours the millions who died during the Great Famine.

Unveiled by President Mary Robinson in 1997, the memorial depicts a coffin ship with skeletons hanging from the rigging, capturing the horror of the cataclysmic event which drove people from our shores and the hellish conditions they endured to cross the Atlantic.

Visit only if you feel you can handle this powerfully moving experience.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Bothy Loop: 40 minutes

Go for a ride at Carrowholly Stables and Trekking Centre

To really embrace the fierce spirit of Mayo and the Wild Atlantic Way, you pretty much have to ride a horse at some point.

Found just three miles outside Westport town, visitors to these stables will be directed to take their ponies or horses on trail or beach rides, where they can soak up the spectacular scenery of Clew Bay at the same time.

Don’t know about you, but that sounds kinda heavenly to us.

Click HERE for more info.

Distance to the Bothy Loop: 30 minutes

For spectacular sights, invigorating sensations and unforgettable experiences, make your next short break a walking break on the Wild Atlantic Way. Walking makes your break.


Check out more at

For more information or to plan your walking break on the Wild Atlantic Way, visit the Tales and Trails hub here.