Mayo is one of Ireland’s most beautiful counties with plenty to offer both tourists and natives alike. Be it the rich culture, bustling music scene, or extensive options for foodies, Mayo has it covered.
All that said, there is one thing that Mayo undisputedly does better than any other county on our little green isle. That is, offering its patron’s breathtaking vistas, stunning sights and hiking experiences which rival any area of the planet.
Here is our roundup of the top 5 best hikes you can do in this beautiful county.
5. The Glenisland Booster Station Walk
Somewhat an underrated gem, the Glenisland booster station is both hallowed and revered among those in the know as one of Mayo’s best-kept hiking secrets. Situated just beyond the town of Castlebar, this secluded hike offers stunningly scenic views of the local forestry, as well as breathtaking views of the local lakes from its summit.
Hikers can expect a nice easy gradient as they ascend through the clouds and dew to the station proper. A special treat awaits those brave enough to conquer the trail at night, with a beautiful view of Castlebar’s night lights gracing your eyes wherever you look.
4. The Tóchar Walk
Whether you are a devout Catholic or otherwise, this hike offers an awakening of the senses both physical and spiritual like no other for all regardless of faith. From Ballintubber Abbey stretching out to Croagh Patrick is Tóchar Phádraig, the ancient pilgrim path that offers pilgrims a chance to be at one with themselves.
Every year hundreds of pilgrims walk Tóchar Phádraig on pilgrimage – a distance of 22 miles (35km) While walking in the steps of a half millennium of pilgrims, you can enjoy and soak in Mayo’s gorgeous landscape and breath in the history and heritage of its native people, both past and present. Truly, a once in a lifetime hike.
Extra points awarded to those who complete the trek and then move immediately on to our next entry in the top 5 list.
3. Croagh Patrick Hike
Hailed by many as the West of Ireland’s premier hike, Croagh Patrick is famous both nationwide and globally as Ireland’s Holy Mountain, and see’s hundreds of thousands of tourists make the trek to its summit annually.
The mountain’s popularity among religious pilgrims dates to the time of St. Patrick, who is said to have completed a forty-day Lenten ritual of fasting and peánance here. Legend also has it that Croagh Patrick is the mountain from which he banished the snakes from Ireland forever!
A breathtaking view of the neighbouring town of Westport and Clew Bay awaits those with the resolve to tackle the challenging final section of the climb. Definitely a hike worth ticking off the bucket list for the views on a clear sunny day!
2. Achill Island’s Keem Bay
Achill Island has such an abundance of beautiful scenery and stunning hiking opportunities that we could have picked from any number of its locations. However, Keem Bay offers a sensory and visual experience unlike any other.
This challenging and rewarding hike offers stunning views of Keem Bay and its spectacular valley, with features of interest dotted across the hiking trail including the Watch House at Moyteoge Head, Bunowna’s booley village and the ruins of Captain Charles Boycott’s estate.
Upon completion of the hike, hikers can look forward to one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets: Keem Beach. Soak in the sunshine and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of Keem’s rolling waves and the serenity of its surf. Who needs Spain when you have a piece of heaven right here on your doorstep?
1. The Letterkeen Loop Walk
Letterkeen is the natural treasure of the West of Ireland. Featuring a beautiful landscape full of rolling hills, leviathan mountains and glistening lakes, the locale looks like it has been stripped straight from an especially scenic episode of Game of Thrones. This hike has a variety of different trail options, ideal for all levels of hikers, be they complete beginners or experienced trail hikers.
The walk starts from the town of Newport – on the N59 between Westport and Achill. On this walk, you are guaranteed beautiful views of some of Ireland’s most stunning forests, valleys, rivers, and lakes.
Letterkeen also offers terrific camping opportunities for wily hikers eager to become one with nature. We recommend any area situated on the banks of the stream, ideal for a quick morning dip for the intrepid hiker! Regardless of your reasons for visiting Mayo, make Letterkeen your Number 1!