Wild Atlantic Way

  • Mayo is a county that is blessed with stunning natural beauty and an array of wonderful places to see and visit - and one of those is the truly astounding Ballycroy National Park. One of just six national parks in the country, Ballycroy offers an unspoilt wilderness for hikers and walkers that matches any in Ireland or indeed the world. Located along the Wild Atlantic Way, the 11,000 hectare park really needs to be seen to be appreciated. Midwest Radio recently visited the Visitor's Centre in Ballycroy to find out more about the centre and all that is on offer in the Park with Guide Margaret Flaherty. 

     

  • The recent heat wave and calm seas has allowed a group of rocks known as Bills Rock, situated 11Km south of Achill Island to be filmed. The cameras caught the magnificent rocky island outcrop from the air for the first time and were also able to go through a double sea arch and record it.

    Few visitors ever go out to the Rock which can be seen on the horizon from Achill Island. And of those that do, even fewer have sailed under the arches as the sea, tide and wind have to be just right to allow it to be done. The unusual weather system that Ireland has experienced over the past two weeks has allowed this to happen and we now can show this magnificent location in all its beauty.

    The rocks are an important habitat for wildlife and hosts colonies of puffins (7.1% of the total Irish population), storm petrels, kittiwakes, guillemots and other gulls. A large number of seals also live on the islands. It is now a designated SPA (Special Protection Area).

    It gets its name from an unusual source, a Danish sea captain by the name of Mathias De Bille. He was the captain of a Danish Navy frigate called the Bornholm that departed from Copenhagen on 14th December 1781. As the ship rounded Ireland’s north coast on 17th January 1782 a hurricane blew up and drove the Bornholm south along the west coast of Ireland. With its foremast and bowsprit gone the frigate was virtually uncontrollable and but for a tremendous feat of seamanship would have been lost at these rocks and under the treacherous cliffs of Clare Island. Somehow De Bille guided his ship to the relatively calm waters of Melcombe Bay near Newport in Co. Mayo. The weary captain had lost several of his crew during the storm and was horrified to discover that the remaining crew members were now stricken by malignant fever. De Bille also caught the fever himself and was befriended by a local merchant, John McLoughlin, who treated him in his own home. De Bille died there on St. Patrick’s Day 1782. He was buried in Newport with full military honours.

    Achill Tourism has recently launched The Achill Maritime Trail, a series of 19 story boards that are placed at various locations around the island and tell many stories of Achill’s long history with the sea. As well as the story of how Bills Rock got its name, the trail highlights tales of Grace O’Malley, ancient ship wrecks, the basking shark fishing industry and many more tales of triumph and tragedy. The video has shot on 27th June 2018 and features views that have never been seen before. It was filmed by Sean Molloy who travelled there with 2 local experienced local fishermen Gerry Hassett and Martin Kane.

     

     

    Check out Achill Tourism for more wonderful images and events in the area.

  • Funding of €1,150,000 has been announced today for the Céide Fields Visitor Centre in Ballycastle.

    Fáile Ireland will invest €860,000 in the project and this will be coupled with €290,000 funding from the Office of Public Works.

    The grant support, which forms part of Fáilte Ireland’s strategic partnership with the OPW, comes from its Capital Grants budgets and will replace the existing Céide Fields Visitor Centre with a brand new exhibition and interpretation centre.

    The space will replace the current 25-year-old centre and showcase new archaeological material and knowledge about Céide Fields and the surrounding areas.

    It is hoped the investment from Fáilte Ireland into the centre will help to significantly improve the visitor experience and almost treble visitor numbers from 33,148 to 90,000.

    Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring told Midwest News today that this is very welcome funding for the Céide Fields.

     

  • Mayo is not attracting the volume of tourists that many other counties along the Wild Atlantic Way are.

    That was confirmed yesterday by Fionnan Nestor Projects Officer with Failte Ireland. He was addressing Mayo county council’s special policy committee on Tourism and Food in Turlough Park House.

    The tourist brand The Wild Atlantic Way, a route that stretches from the coastline of Donegal down to Cork, is a very successful, relatively new tourist attraction that is now enticing up to 40 percent of all the visitors coming to Ireland.

    However, only one in ten of that 40 percent are actually visiting Mayo along the Wild Atlantic Way.

    Last year, (2017),  323,000 people visited county Mayo, in contrast 3 million people visited county Kerry and  800,000 visitors went to Clare.

    Efforts are now to get underway to develop two separate Visitor Experience  Development Plans for Mayo to expose it’s unique selling points to tourists.

    One of the plans will cover The Clew Bay area, stretching from Achill to Aisling Falls, and the other will look at the Erris coastline.

  • One of the last big festivals of the year kicks off in Sligo next week - but you won't need your wellies.

    Nearly 300 performers will take to the stage in over 80 performances, over 6 days, and it's all indoors.

    Sligo Live this year celebrates 14 years of quality music on the Wild Atlantic Way.

  • The good news keeps on coming for the world renowned Céide Fields in Mayo. The centre, which celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary this year was awarded the prestigious award, The International Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens, earlier in the year. 

    On Monday it was announced that the centre would be receiving over €1million in funding from the Fáilte Ireland and the OPW for upgrading the centre - you can find out more on that here http://bit.ly/2IF403C.

    With all of that happening we thought it would be an ideal time to head down and find out more about one of the jewels in the crown of the West of Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way.

    Check out our video now.

  • It’s three years since a €3 million euro Signature Discovery Point was announced for Keem Bay in Achill, but there’s no sign of the project being delivered.

    That’s according to Achill-based Councillor Paul McNamara who questioned council management on the issue again this week, at the monthly meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District.

    It's the second signature discovery point in Mayo, following developments at Downpatrick.

    The Wild Atlantic Way Signature Discovery Point at Keem Bay would include a viewing platform and looped walk, and is expected to provide a major tourism boost for Achill Island.

    However- despite a public consultation process three years ago – Councillor McNamara claims Mayo County Council has now taken a back seat on this project.