Because of the large variety of its landscape, the county of Mayo offers multiple possibilities as regards excursions. Indeed, one can pass from low-lying lake-lands in the east, to a mountainous area on the west coast. The experienced hiker will be delighted, because each excursion will be a new discovery. The occasional walker will not be disappointed either, because Mayo has plenty of places where hikers can walk by themselves.
Croagh Patrick, which overlooks Clew Bay in County Mayo, is considered the holiest mountain in Ireland. Each year, The Reek, as it is colloquially known, attracts about 1 million pilgrims. On ‘Reek Sunday’, the last Sunday in July, over 25,000 pilgrims visit the Reek. At the top, there is a modern chapel where mass is celebrated and confessions are heard. The walk is quite demanding at the top bit, you need to drop in for a pint in Campbell’s Pub.
Mweelrea Mountain (814m), near Louisburgh, is the highest mountain in Connaught and is guarded on all sides by craggy slopes giving the impression that it is unconquerable. It is flanked on one side by Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only true fjord and on the other side by Doolough Pass, a glaciated valley. There are no easy ascents of this mighty mountain and it needs to be approached with care. Reserve a clear day for the climb and enjoy the panorama of the mountains, coast and surrounding islands.
Clare Island Loop Walks lies 4 miles off the west coast of Ireland at the entrance to Clew Bay. The largest of the Mayo offshore islands, it has a varied terrain: spectacular cliffs with large numbers of nestling sea birds and a rich ‘inland’ topography of hills and bogs and small pockets of woodland, making it ideal for hill walking. The ferry crossing takes approximately 20 minutes and is quiet regular. Details relating to ferry times can be obtained by contacting the Clare Island Community Development Office, Telephone (098) 26525.
Croaghaun at 688 metres has the highest sea cliffs in Ireland and Great Britain as well as the third highest sea cliffs in Europe. Park at the end of the road at beautiful Keem strand and head straight up the steep slope to the west to the cliff edge. Follow the cliff edge along for about a kilometre to around spot height 280m, enjoying the views.
The Sheeffry Hills or Sheeffry Mountains are a range of hills between Westport, Louisburgh and Leenane. The range is bounded to the west by Glencullin Lough and Doolough; to the south by Glenummera and Tawnyard Lough; to the east by Owenmore Glen and to the north by the Bunowen River. Drives through the Sheefry valley are some of the most spectacular in the county. The highest peak is Barrclashcame (772m, 2,533ft), at the western end.