Top 5 best hidden gems in County Mayo

From an abandoned stone village to a sheltered stretch, here are the top five best hidden gems in County Mayo.

Located in the west of Ireland, Mayo is a popular tourist destination famous for its nature, heritage, and history. 

From coastlines to the countryside and everything in between, Mayo’s stunning landscapes are surely second to none!

It is also rich in culture, music, and history, shown through its many myths, legends, and festivals and events.

However, it is also home to other sites that visitors may not know about. Check out our list of the top five best hidden gems in County Mayo below.

5. Slievemore Deserted Village – to reflect on ruins

Slievemore Deserted Village is one of the best hidden gems in County Mayo.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Situated on the southern slopes of Slievemore Mountain along a mile-long stretch lies the remains of 80 to 100 cottages of a long-since abandoned stone village.

Separated into three areas (Tuar, Tuar Riabach, and Faiche), the formerly used summer ‘booley’ homes were deserted due to consequences surrounding the Irish famine.

Thought to be a local variation of a Neolithic Court Tomb, the unusual and idyllic structures have since fallen victim to the elements.

However, their tranquil position and ultimate uniqueness cement their place on our list of the best hidden gems in County Mayo.  

Additionally, an annual Summer Archaeological School takes place here to discover more about the history of the site and the ways of life during its use.

Address: Bal of Dookinelly (Calvy), Co. Mayo, Ireland

4. St Patrick’s Well – for a saintly stopover

St Patrick's Well is a must-visit.
Credit: Instagram / @jcwlgeopark

Thought to be a former pagan well used for Druid worship, this site at Ballintubber Abbey has found fame over the years as a popular pilgrimage spot for prayer and the gaining of healing properties.

Legend states that St Patrick rested here after a 40-day fast and later founded his church on the land and blessed the well.    

In more recent years, a bronze statue of St Patrick poised to baptise has been erected. There is also a stone nearby supposedly displaying an imprint of the Saint’s knee.  

Although there are many different holy wells dotted across Ireland (as many as 3,000), this unique site is certainly worth a visit!

Address: Abbey, Ballintober, Co. Mayo, F12 W584, Ireland

3. Deirbhile’s Twist – Ireland’s answer to Stonehenge

Deirbhile's Twist is one of the best hidden gems in County Mayo.
Credit: Flickr / Keith Ewing

Undoubtedly one of the best hidden gems in County Mayo, this granite stone circle sculpture was created in 1993. It was part of the Tír Sáile Sculpture Trail, the largest public art project in Ireland.

Based on local legend, the ascending spiral standing stones are derived from the creative mind of scientist and artist Michael Bulfin whose work can be found across the Emerald Isle.

Alongside being treated to scenic views of Achill Island, visitors can complete the trifecta by exploring the nearby St. Deirbhile’s Well and St. Deirbhile’s Church ruins.

Address: Fallmore, Co. Mayo, Ireland

2. Moore Hall House – a long-forgotten and lesser-known attraction

Moore Hall House is a long-forgotten grand home.
Credit: geograph.ie / Mike Searle

Built between 1792 and 1796 by George Moore, Moore Hall House is located on the shores of Lough Carra between Ballyglass and Ballintubber.

Designed by architect John Roberts – the man behind Waterford Cathedral – the once-grand, now flora-covered, house was later destroyed by a fire in 1923. Its ruins have since become a popular place to observe first-hand.

The focal point of a dedicated walk, visitors can also lose themselves in nature here. Feel free exploring the surrounding forest, nearby lake, old stone tunnel, and wooden woodland creature statues.

The building has a rich Irish history and is of both cultural and architectural significance, making it a must-see site when in County Mayo.

Address: Muckloon, Co. Mayo, Ireland

1. Silver Strand Beach – a secluded sandy stretch

Silver Strand Beach tops our list of best hidden gems in County Mayo.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

One of Ireland’s most stunning sandy beaches, the lesser-known and highly remote site is well-loved by families and locals alike.

Complete with rocky headlands, small valleys and hills, and high sand dunes, this is a picturesque paradise. It is also the ideal spot for swimming and the perfect place from which to view the sunset.

A Discovery Point along the Wild Atlantic Way, Silver Strand Beach also offers stunning views of Inishturk and Inishbofin.

The recipient of the 2016 Green Coast Award for a clean environment, excellent water quality, and natural beauty, this treasure off the beaten track is not to be missed!  

Undoubtedly one of the best hidden gems in County Mayo, Silver Strand Beach is one site that we highly recommend you visit!

Address: A378, Thallabawn, Doovilra, Louisburgh, Co. Mayo, Ireland

And there you have them: the top five best hidden gems in County Mayo. Let us know your thoughts!

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