Motoring around County Mayo : Travel Reminiscences

Motoring around County Mayo : Travel Reminiscences

Back to¬†Ireland ūüėČ

10 day self-drive tour of Ireland : October 2009

Our trip around Ireland was coming to an end, sadly .. one more night stop, in Sligo, before heading back to Dublin.  Hubby and I travelled from the city of Galway along the N59 around County Mayo before stopping mid to late afternoon at our hotel in Sligo

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I didn’t take many photographs along the route, but sat back and enjoyed the¬†scenery.¬†¬† We detoured left at Westport to see Croagh Patrick, then drove as far as Bangor Erris for a bite to eat for lunch.

Most unusual for us to use a petrol pump so I had to get at least one pic!!!    (we have petrol attendants in South Africa) ..


It seemed strange to me seeing tractors riding¬†around towns and villages .. me who lives in a large city where a tractor is only seen on the odd occasion cutting grass verges.¬†¬†I say¬†‘on the odd occasion’ as our verges in this city used to be well kept, always trimmed and neat ..¬† not the case these days sadly


We noticed how many new houses had been built during Ireland’s boom period which, at the time we were visiting, was beginning a downward slide sadly, and we saw quite a number of For Sale signs outside houses and businesses


We diverted off the main highway through Westport to Murrisk to see Ireland’s most holy mountain, Croagh Patrick and the statue of St Patrick which looks out to Murrisk and Clew Bay¬†¬†..


Drizzling intermittently didn’t make it easy underfoot or for taking photos but it was well worth the stop.¬† There is quite a steep (slippery) climb from the car park and visitors centre …

P1040893¬†Leading from the car park is an entrance to a shrine.¬† From here you can see the road/path leading up the mountain range on the left.¬† Croagh Patrick is shrouded in cloud directly above the gate …




‘This quartzite, scree-clad mountain has a history of pagan worship from 3000BC.¬† However, in AD 441, St Patrick is said to have spent 40 days on the mountain fasting and praying for the Irish.¬† Since then, penitents, often barefoot, have made the pilgrimage to the summit at 772m (2510 ft), in his honour, especially on Garland Friday and Reek Sunday in July’

P1040886-Crough Patrick,Murrisk, Co.Mayo


There is a chapel at the top of Croagh Patrick …


Pity about the cloud cover …


From the visitors centre hubby and I braved the drizzle and slippery path and steep steps finally reaching the statue of St Patrick ..


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Across the road leading to the car park are the grounds of an old Abbey on which is the National Famine Monument commemorating the Great Famine of the 1840’s.¬† John Behan’s sculpture is a bronze ship, with skeletal figures symbolising the many emigrants from the Irish famine who died in the appalling conditions on board the “coffin ships”¬† on which they left Ireland.¬† It was creepy !


P1040911P1040913Creepy isn’t it?¬† .. yet very sad

Back on the road again .. stopping to take a few pics in Newport on the banks of Black Oak River.¬† Weather still grim ūüôĀ

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Statue of Edward Lyons (Ned), Commandant of the Newport Battalion of the IRA.  Was arrested in 1920, tortured by the British, went mad and died in 1924


Looking at the map above, from Newport we drove through interesting landscape, from pretty hills and lakes where salmon (and I think trout) is farmed, to peat bogs. ¬† I remember reading the sign at this lake¬†but should have taken a photograph of the sign, just to be sure it was ‘salmon-(and-I think-trout)’ ¬†¬†


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I couldn’t get a decent photograph of the fields and fields of peat bog.¬† I learnt something new that day.¬† I had no idea what a peat bog was, how it was ‘harvested’ or ‘turf cutting’ if that’s the correct word, and what it was for.¬† Afterwards I noticed, at all the petrol stations,¬†bags for sale, filled with small rectangular blocks¬†used for fuel for fires


Ireland contains more bog than any country in Europe except Finland.  The bog is sliced and piled in small bundles to dry  (found these pics in Google)

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We arrived in the small town of Bangor Erris, the centre for wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout, at lunchtime.¬† We found a restaurant¬†and, if¬†I remember correctly, was run by a friendly young couple and their daughter, where we had freshly made sandwiches and coffee¬† ….¬† hmm I could have had homemade soup with homemade bread and hubby had the sandwiches .. it was a long time ago!!

P1040916-Bangor Erris¬†I do remember the town being very stark, hardly anyone around, and spotlessly clean as if it was brand new !!¬†¬†¬† Apparently it’s been around since around 1850.¬†¬† Have never seen this before … the signs are painted on the¬†walls !!

P1090579-Bangor Erris-Co Mayo

Onward we drove until our next stop … Sligo


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