Ballina is Mayo’s largest town and is steeped in history and culture with fantastic food and entertainment on offer.
If you’re planning on making a visit but are a little bit worried about the rain, worry not because we’ve provided you with this list of 5 of the best things to do in Ballina when the rain inevitably pours.
Before you go out, don’t forget to put on your best raincoat, it’s the only way to beat the cabin fever. You’ll thanks us later.
5. Fishing in the River Moy
The River Moy running through Ballina is known as one of Ireland’s premier salmon rivers. It’s so well known for its salmon that they even have an annual salmon festival every July.
The best time to go fishing for salmon is when it’s raining, so you’ve no excuse. Don the big green wellies and enjoy this unique Ballina experience.
Fishing for all abilities, tastes and interests is available along the river so even if you’ve never tried it before, now is the time to give it a go. Pop into the Ballina Angling Centre on Ridge Pool Road where they can rent you the gear you need, provide you with the best local knowledge and tell you where you can get the required angling licence.
The benefits of fishing include relaxation, a sense of positive mental health and wellbeing and the teaching of self-reliance. Sounds like you can end up with more than just a fish!
4. Connacht Whiskey Company
You may be an expert at whiskey drinking, but do you know everything there is to know about the whiskey itself? The Connacht Whiskey Company, an independently owned craft Irish Whiskey distillery sits on the banks of the River Moy in the beautiful Belleek Woods.
They offer tours of their distillery with expert tour guides, the opportunity to taste their unique whiskeys and a fantastic gift shop where you can pick up all the necessary whiskey accessories.
The Visitor Centre is open 6 days a week, Monday to Friday from 10-6pm and Saturday from 12-5pm. The guided tours of the distillery are scheduled and run at 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm. They advise booking so that you don’t miss out.
3. Ballina Arts Centre
Ballina Arts Centre is not long open and has already been a great success, drawing in fantastic talent from all over Mayo and further afield. If you are a local or just visiting make sure you stop by to enjoy all the Centre has to offer. The centre has hosted many local and international stars in the past and hopes to host many more in future.
They offer a wide array of concerts, dance exhibitions and workshops, theatre performances, visual arts and many educational events. Check out their website to make sure you don’t miss out on what’s on when you’re in Ballina.
2. Have a spa day
If you want to relax and unwind but standing knee deep in a river with a fishing rod isn’t your cup of tea, then check out the many wonderful spas Ballina has to offer. Guaranteed to destress and relax you, enter the impressive gates of the Mount Falcon Estate just outside the town, try out the Chill Spa in the luxurious Ice Hotel or the Beauty Spot Spa at the Great National Hotel Ballina.
Choose from a wide range of skincare treatments, full body massages, wellbeing treatments, reflexology, beauty treatments and many more. They also offer several packages such as the ‘Deep Relax’ package at The Mount Falcon Spa which combines an Indian head massage and a luxury facial followed by light afternoon tea.
Something not to be missed is the beautiful outdoor hot tub in the multi-award winning Chill Spa at the Ice House Hotel located right on the riverbank. Spoil yourself rotten!
1. Go to a museum
This is one for the history buffs, or those willing to learn a little bit more. Ballina and its surrounding countryside is steeped in history so take a step back in time, take some shelter from the pouring rain and enjoy some of the excellent museums Ballina has on offer.
The award-winning Belleek Castle is a unique museum experience which takes you on a guided tour of the medieval castle with an explanation of the origin of the castle and its fascinating owners. You will see vast private dining rooms, the medieval banquet hall, the Spanish Armada bar and the room of pirate queen Grace O’Malley. If you fancy that sort of medieval lifestyle, you can stay the night in the Belleek Castle Hotel, and you can even get married there.
Don’t miss the Jackie Clarke Museum Collection in the beautiful red brick 19th Century Victorian building on Pearse Street Ballina. Enjoy the collection of over 100,000 items spanning over 400 years, and if the rain clears up, you can take in the wonderful walled gardens.