Rugged cliffs and beautiful landscapes make for spectacular walks in Mayo this Bank Holiday Weekend.
The spectacular scenery surrounding the coastal loop of Erris Head is one to feast your eyes upon. Starting at Erris Head car park, the 5km loop is relatively easy to walk as you make your way through the grassy paths and open ground that meander its way around the cliffs of Mayo’s, Erris Head. One to appreciate, you’ll be treated to wonderful views of Illandavuck Island, Pigeon Rock and dramatic sea arches. Make sure you wear sunscreen and rainproof gear for this one, as you’ll definitely be exposed to all the elements.
Claggan Mountain Coastal Trail
Perfect for families and those who like a straightforward but scenic walk, the Claggan Mountain Coastal Trail provides a multi access walkway across the bog providing beautiful panoramic views east of the National Park mountains, Claggan Mountain and Achill Island. Located in north-west Mayo, just south of the Ballycroy National Park Visitor Centre, parking can be accessed on site before setting off the 2km coastal bay boardwalk route. And for astronomy lovers, if you like a spot of stargazing, the park is home to Ireland’s first International Dark Sky Park. How cool.
Letterkeen Loop Walk
If you’re looking to be ‘at one with nature’ then expect this and more when you explore the wonderful landscape of Letterkeen Woods. Only suitable for those who have good levels of fitness, the well-marked loop has three trail options each colour-coded red, blue and purple. The purple route is the longest and most strenuous at 12km, whilst the blue route is 10km and the red route is 6km. Beginning from the town of Newport at the car park of Nephin Drive, all three walks are on the same path for part of the way and are really well signposted from start to finish. Whatever loop you choose, expect climbs, steep descents, unspoilt forestry wilderness and beautiful lakes and rivers to take in.
The Slievemore Loop
Certainly not for the faint-hearted, the Slievemore Loop can become quite steep, but is worth the trek when you get to the top for its breath-taking panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Located on Ireland’s largest island, Achill Island, the almost 5km Slievemore hike reaches a height of around 197ft, and brings you to the peak of the mountain which provides spectacular views of Keel Lough, Croaghaun, Nephin mountain range, Blacksod Bay and Belmullet.
Make sure to wear good hiking shoes for this trek as the paths are unpaved and there’s plenty of bogland. Two starting points for the walk include Dugort Pier on the East side of the island or the Deserted Village on the west side of the island, where 100 roofless deserted cottages can be found. Parking can be accessed by the beach and if you were feeling very adventurous why not take a dip in the sea afterwards.
Croaghhaun Sea Cliffs
The captivating coastal cliffs of Croaghaun holds the title of the highest sea cliffs in Ireland -Yes, even higher than the Cliffs of Moher - and also rank as the third highest in Europe. That’s pretty impressive but not unsurprising given the views when you reach the top. Located on the northern side of Croaghan mountain you can begin your hike from the Keem Bay car park. The best thing about this hike, apart from the magnificent scenery and views at the top, is it’s somewhat remote in that it’s off the beaten track so don’t expect to see too many people at once.