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10 Best Things To Do In Mayo, Ireland: Complete 2019 Guide

Written by:
Cazzy Magennis
/
Last updated:
September 14, 2019
Travel stories
Visiting County Mayo on your Ireland adventure? Then check out our guide to the best things to do in Mayo for everything you need to know and much more...
things to do in mayo ireland
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Ah, County Mayo.

Out of all the counties we visited in Ireland, as a part of our Ireland itinerary, this was my biggest surprise, and for all the right reasons.

Some of my favourite spots are in Mayo and there is so much to see and do. So, if you’re wondering what to do in Mayo, then sit back, relax and check out my list of the best things to do in Mayo, Ireland!

Table Of Contents:

1. Visit the beautiful Ashford Castle 

Ashford castle is beautiful and you can stay in this castle for a very pricey 800 euro a night. But it does look fantastic. To walk around the grounds they charge about 12 euro, and you can’t go inside, which I thought was a little overpriced, so we just walked as far as we could before the charge. 

We actually got to talking to one of the security guards for about 15 minutes and he told us all the castle and the famous people who’ve stayed there etc.

And a helicopter dropped off someone fabulous (I assume they are if they can afford a helicopter) whilst we were there which was cool! 

He did say there are lots of gardens to walk around, so if you’ve got a few hours to explore then it’s probably worth the entrance price, but Bradley and I didn’t have a lot of time on our hands. 

I actually looked at the different packages available and you can do lots of activities in the area such as quad biking, archery, and afternoon teas, so if you have the spare money, then I’d book a night here for the hell of it! 

They offer a great honeymoon package which is as extravagant as it is beautiful!

ashford castle

2. Walk around Cong Wood Park around Ashford Castle

So next to Ashford castle there is a forest park called Cong Wood with lots of walking trails and lakes to fish. It’s very beautiful and there is a trial that will take you quite close to the castle before you bump into the security guard who wants money! Haha 

But we walked around this beautiful forestry area and had ourselves a picnic lunch and it was so peaceful and picturesque that I would highly recommend this as one of the places to visit in Mayo. 

The area also has a couple of old churches and ruins to explore too!

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Northern Ireland

3. Drive around Lough Mask

There is a large scenic driving route that takes you around the beautiful Lough Mask and this was some of the most beautiful driving we did on our road trip to Ireland. The weather was great too which helped, but the drive around is stunning. 

There are lots of little areas to pull in and admire the lake from different perspectives. 

lough in mayo

4. Challenge yourself to Croagh Patrick

Croagh Patrick is probably one of the most famous Mayo activities in the area because it’s one of the oldest pilgrimage sites in all of Irealnd. 

Since Ireland is a Christian country it has a lot of unique pilgrims sites and this one require a walk up a mountain (basically). It takes a few hours to do, and we didn’t have the time but we did admire the view from below. 

If you like a challenge, then you can hike upwards! It’s the 3rd highest mountain in County Mayo. 

It’s a great walk on a beautiful day and it’s free to do. You do need to pay for parking and you can buy walking sticks if you need the assistance up the mountain!

Read Also: Our In-depth Ireland Travel Guide

croagh patrick

5. Explore the town of Westport

When we were driving around Ireland all the radio stations kept holding competitions to go stay in Westport. So I was very curious before I went as to what it was going to be like. 

Basically Westport is a great town for food, drinks, families and a general holiday feelings. It’s one of the great things to do in Mayo for families as it’s a family oriented area!

If you’re looking for a full list of all the great things to do in WestPort then check out their website for up-to-date information and events. 

Ps, the Westport House is worth a visit too.

We just stopped through to pick up some food before we headed onto our next area…

6. Explore the remote Achill Island

Achill island is one of the most beautiful places in Ireland. This has to be one of my favourite places in Mayo and the whole island. 

We never actually planned to go here but we needed a wild camping spot and we knew there was one along the coast of Achill Island.

So, yes, it’s an island and you cross over via a bridge. The island itself doesn’t have a lot going on. It’s got a takeaway food place, a bar and a shop. We ordered some fish and chips and headed towards the cliffs for one of the most beautiful wild camping spots we stayed at. 

Achill island is a perfect place for long walks with beautiful views and without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Mayo!

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Dingle, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

achil island

7. Explore the amazing Downpatrick Head

Another one of my favourite things to do in Mayo was the amazing Downpatrick Head. It’s basically a rock type formation that stands alone in the water and there are tales as to when it was split, who owned etc and you can learn about that when you visit. 

The views are spectacular, and it’s a great place to fly a drone. But what’s even more amazing is the bubble grass! 

As you can see from my picture, there is a whole section where the grass is just spongy bubble formations- it’s so unique and cool and I’ve never seen anything like it. 

Be careful when you’re walking on them as I almost went over my ankle. 

Be aware too that there is no protection against the cliff edge, so with small children be super careful. 

Lots of people were mackerel fishing of the side of the cliff and it looked like the craziest activity I’ve ever seen. It looks so dangerous, and I find it hard to believe no one has fallen in yet- you have to see it to believe it! 

The mackerel fishing is definitely one of the more unusual things to do in Mayo, i.e only for the brave!  

It’s free to enter and it’s free to park, so it’s a great place to visit in Mayo. 

Also, there is a WW2 site that you can check out there as well! 

bubble grass downpatrick head

8. Discover Moyne Abbey

Moyne Abbey is great,but it’s not easy to find or get to. It’s along a very small country road and I don’t know if a motorhome would cope, and you definitely wouldn’t see it on a generic tour group! 

But it’s very cool and whilst we didn’t get inside, the view from outside was pretty darn awesome and if you're looking for one of the unique things to see in Mayo, then I suggest you make the venture here. 

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Clare, Ireland: Complete Travel Guide

9. Relax at Keem Bay on Achill Island

Beautiful beach on the west of Achill island in County mayo and it’s the perfect place to visit if the sun is shining. The beach is actually blue flag which means it’s high quality and suitable for swimming. One of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Mayo Ireland!  

Fun fact: The bay was formerly the site of a basking shark fishery.

10. Fish at Doo Lough 

Whilst Bradley and I didn’t fish on our trip to Ireland, I thought this was worth mentioning as one of the great things to do in Mayo since Ireland is pretty famous for its great fishing opportunities and Doo Lough is well known for its fishing scene too! 

Before you visit County Mayo check out this other information to help you plan your trip. 

Read Also: The Best Places To Visit In Ireland This Year

Planning what to do in Mayo (Ireland): All common questions answered

When is the best time to visit Mayo?

When it comes to visiting Mayo, you’ll notice that the majority of the best sights are outdoors, so you’ll want to try and get good weather. Your best chance for this is to visit Ireland during the months of June, July, August and September. 

If you go in June, September time, there will be less tourists and you may find prices drop. It’s also possible to visit Mayo outside of these months but be aware that during the winter months many of the attractions Mayo has to offer may shut for winter. 

Getting around Mayo

There are two main ways to get around Mayo. The first is via your own transport. Having your own transport to get around Ireland makes life super easier since the bus and rail network isn’t exactly thriving.

Plus if you have your own campervan or motorhome, you’ve got accommodation in Mayo sorted too!

Your other option is to take organised tours to the best spots in Mayo. Tours in Ireland are of high quality and tend to be well priced.

Read Also: The Best things To Do In Ireland

downpatrick haed

How long do you need in Mayo?

In order to visit all the best things to do in Mayo, I suggest you take at least 3 days to explore the area. 

Where to stay in Mayo?

For our visit to Ireland we actually opted to hiring our own campervan from the awesome Spaceships Rentals! It was an amazing time and you can check out more about our in-depth review of them here.

Since we had our own “bed” we spent most of our nights wild camping, or staying at the awesome campsites Ireland has on offer. 

But, if you need a great hostel, b&b, homestay or hotel in Mayo, then we have a few suggestions on where to find the best deal below. 

  • Airbnb - We love Airbnb for our European stays, especially for longer bookings. 
  • Booking.com - It’s our number 1 choice
  • HostelWorld -Perfect if you need a good hostel in Mayo
  • Couchsurfing - Gain an authentic Irish experience with a local! 

Can you book tours in Mayo?

You can indeed! Tours are a great way of seeing the best Mayo has to offer without the hassle of organising your own itinerary. They’re also great if you’re a solo traveller so you can meet like-minded people. 

As mentioned before, tours in Ireland tend to be well priced and good quality and we use these two websites below to find the best tours in Mayo and Ireland in general. 

  • GetYourGuide - The go-to choice for us!
  • Viator - Can sometimes offer more unique experiences. 

Useful tools for planning your visit to Mayo

When searching for cheap flights to and from Ireland we suggest you start your search with  Skyscanner.

Never go to Ireland (or anywhere) with good quality travel insurance and World Nomads are usually a great place to start looking. 

Want to experience the awesomeness that is #vanlife? Then check out SpaceShips Rentals for amazing motorhomes and custom made campervans for your trip around Mayo and Ireland. 

If you prefer just renting a car for the duration of your Mayo adventures, then you can opt for car rental with RentalCars.com. They are a great comparison site run alongside Booking. Com so you’ll be getting a great deal! 

Other useful posts for planning your trip to Ireland

Below are some other posts we’ve written that you might find useful for your trip Mayo

So there you have it, my guide to the best things to do in Mayo, Ireland. If you’ve got any other great places to visit in Mayo that you think I should add to this list, then drop us a comment below! 

Happy travels. 

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