The CROAGH VISITOR CENTRE is situated in MURRISK on the PILGRIM'S PATH at the base of Croagh Patrick and opposite the NATIONAL FAMINE MONUMENT.
Croagh Patrick is only 5 miles from the picturesque town of WESTPORT and its conical shape soars majestically above the surrounding countryside.
Magnificent views of CLEW BAY and the surrounding south MAYO-countryside are spectacular from all stages of the ascent of the mountain!
And then about this famous MOUNTAIN: the mountain itself is renowned for its Patrician Pilgrimage in honour of St. Patrick's fast on the mountain for 40 days in 441 AD and the custom has been faithfully handed down from generation to generation.
On REEK SUNDAY, the last Sunday in July, over 25.000 pilgrims visit the Reek.
Individuals and groups come from all over the world and amongst these are pilgrims, hill climbers, historians, archaeologists and of course nature lovers.
The tradition of the pilgrimage to this holy mountain stretches back over 5000 years from the STONE AGE to the present day and that without interruption, imagine that!
It is such a wonderful thought.....
An archaeological excavation licensed by the National Monuments service started on 2nd August 1994.
It discovered evidence of Christian activity but also showed that Croagh Patrick was a place of trmendous importance in the pre-Christian era, as indicated by the discovery of a celtic hill-fort encircling the summit of the mountain.
The exciting discovery of a dry stone oratory pushes back further in time our knowledge of pilgrimage architecture on the summit.
It is similar to the GALLARUS ORATORY in County Kerry and has been "radio carbon" dated to between 430 and 890 AD!
How very fortunate that we have such ingenious ways of discovering things.....Amazing!
The Director of Archaeological Excavations on the summit of Croagh Patrick, Gerry Walsh, and his wife Gabrielle opened the Croagh Patrick Visitor Centre at the foot of the mountain in March 2000.
The Centre stems from the interest shown by the thousands of Pilgrims and climbers in the archaeological discoveries on the summit.
Gerry realised that people would love more information in an accessible and user-friendly way and.....he made his dream come true!
He also realised that people visiting the mountain were not being supplied with general information on the South Mayo Region, an area of unspoiled natural beauty and so he decided to make this all available too in the Centre, which was a great idea!
The building housing the Centre maintains the natural appeal of the area with a profile which blends in with the existing environment, which is wonderful.
CEAD MILE FAILTE!! WELCOME!!
THINGS YOU REALLY HAVE TO KNOW....
ABOUT THE FACILITIES:
Safety is important for anyone wishing to climb the mountain which rises to a height of 765 metres.
It is essential that climbers pay serious attention to weather conditions and are wearing proper footwear.
The use of (at least) 1 stick (I myself prefer 2)
A brief climb to the statue of St. Patrick is fine for most people and for this short distance, no special footwear is needed.
Guided tours to the Statue are available from the Centre during peak season (with advanced notice).
These tours also give information on Clew Bay, the National Famine Monument and Murrisk Abbey, all of which can be seen from the place where the statue is!
The Visitor Centre is a half way stop on the archaeological trail from Westport to Louisburgh, promoted by the Croagh Patrick Archaeoligical Committee and Westport Tourism.
And..............thisis really fabulous: for a minimal charge climbers and pilgrims are offered showers....
The craft shop sells: maps, books on local history and archaeology, walking sticks, socks, raingear, T-shirts with logo as well as a selection of crafts .....everything stocked in the shop and....sourced locally!
Of course there also is a coffee shop-cum-self-service-restaurant at the Centre to cater for visitor needs....and we can be so hungry and thirsty while climbing and hiking, can't we??
This restaurants seats 50 inside and another 40 outside on a terrace where both the food and the view can be savoured.
TO CAP IT ALL......
The Centre is located near the National Famine Monument in Murrisk.
This magnificent piece of sculpture by JOHN BEHAN was unveiled by President Mary Robinson in 1997.
It depicts a Coffin Ship with skeleton bodies and commemorates the anniversary of the FAMINE.
There is an extensive Famine Landscape around Croagh Patrick.
CEAD MILE FAILTE ....... WELCOME......
Gerry & Gabrielle Walsh
"teach na Miasa"
Croagh Patrick Visitor Centre
MURRISK County MAYO
tel. 098 64114
fax 098 64115
WESTPORT HERITAGE CENTRE......
The lovely heritage town of Westport boasts a rich history which WESTPORT HERITAGE CENTRE presents in an enchanting and interesting fashion....
Many of the superb photographs come from The Lawrence Collection and they truly bring the past to life.....
This centre is situated IN the WESTPORT TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE itself!
Information and group bookings:
Westport Tourist Information Office,
James street, Westport.
tel. 098 25711
see next TIP.......it will make things clear to you!
MINIATURE WESTPORT AND MORE.....
The centerpiece at the Heritage Centre is an interactive scale model of the town with individual video screens, interesting areas are illuminated in turn and linked to a voiceover in English, Gaelic (Irish), French, Italian or German.
In second place (but as nice...) comes GRANUAILE.
The history of the Browne family of Westport House has been interwoven with Westport for more than half a millennium.
The most colourful member of the family is GRANUAILE or GRACE O'Malley, the PIRATE QUEEN, who ruled the high seas in the 1500s.
The history of Westport House itself is also displayed.
And of course we can't forget Croagh Patrick.
Beautifully illustrated wall panels and a relief model explore Croagh Patrick, Ireland's Holy Mountain and its history dating back pre-Christianity to the dawn of time...
Previously known as Cruachan Aigle it owes its name change to the 40 day fast of St. Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, on its summit.
On "Reek Sunday" in July thousands of pilgrims, some barefoot, make the arduous climb to the church at the summit.
These 3 interesting things can be seen at the Westport Heritage Centre.
Westport Quay lies at the entrance to the estate WESTPORT HOUSE....
Here you can find: good restaurants, fine hotels and inviting pubs where Irish music will enchant you!
In October there is an ART FESTIVAL, IN jULY A street festival and during high season amateur actors and actresses play at the WYATT THEATRE.
Learning to Surf? Check out Surf Mayo. Mayo's number 1 surfing school. They run classes and courses from mid march to mid november, or you can also hire boards and wetsuits if you don't need a lesson.
Take the coast road, west out of Westport, continue on to the west road for approx. 10 miles until you come to Louisburgh town. Go straight through Louisburgh and continue on west for another 3 miles until you see a sign pointing to the right for Carrownisky Strand . Surf mayo are about 4 minutes down that road.
This is billed as Westport House and Pirate Adventure Park. We didn't see the Pirate Adventure Park and at the end of September, I suspect it was closed for the season. At any rate, you can have a lovely visit of the Westport House without worrying about pirates and noise.
We had driven to Achill Island that morning and it rained off and on all day, as it did most days we were in Ireland. It was raining as we returned to Westport so we decided an indoor activity would be good. We parked and walked up to Westport House and spent a lovely couple hours touring the house and grounds when the rain let up.
I highly recommend their excellent web site listed below.
- Castles and Palaces
- Road Trip
Sailing in Westport
I went to learn sailing for 1 week in Rosmonney ( Westport). The Adventure Islands is a good company and the instructor "Gillian" is very great. You can learn easily with her. The sea and the wind were perfect. I can back to Italy very happy for this experience. I definitely recommend this course.
- Sailing and Boating
Wednesday in Westport
Was at The Legend Of Grainne Mhaol last night (Wed) and it blew me away. This is a musical type show telling the story of Grainne Mhaol, bit like Riverdance but on a smaller scale and I would say from the 2 standing ovations that its a lot more energetic and intimid. Having an interest in the great sea pirate Grace O' Malley this show tells it all. It is suitable for young, teenegers and old. Worth seeing if you're in Westport, Co. Mayo. Saw The Pirate Queen in New York and was disappointed however this amateur local version was unreal
Plenty of time to have a meal beforehand, would recommend for fish specials An Port Mór (award winning) or Mango's, or for pasta the one and only La Bella Vita or Torrino's. Quick bites from O Malleys or Cosy Joes. Posh dining Quay Cottage, The Wyatt, The Plaza or the exc Knockranny Hotel restaurant.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
WESTPORT HOUSE & COUNTRY PARK
The LOFT BAR / BAR FOOD
Shop at the Farm Yard (Home & Garden)
Garden Plants for Sale
Jungle World (Indoor soft play area)
this all are located in the Old Farm Yard buildings at WESTPORT HOUSE & COUNTRY PARK in WESTPORT.
These buildings really must constitute one of the biggest set of Farm Buildings in Ireland and were constructed in the early 19th Century for the estate farm where there were granaries, laundries and stables.
tel. 098 25430 / 27766
There is a free car parking!!
LITTLE LIST OF..... part 1
what to see and/or do when in Westport....
The choice is yours.
W.M.Thackeray: "The islands in the Bay which was of gold colour look like so many dolphins and whales, basking there..."
from "On Westport" 1842........
One of Ireland's Stately Homes, Westport House was designed by James Wyatt.
It is open to the public in summer and guided tours are available.
Telephone: 098 25430 or 27766
WESTPORT HERITAGE CENTRE.
Located at the Tourist Information Office, James Street, Wesport
Discover the story of Westport.
3D models and interactive displays bring this charismatic town to life steeped in history and heritage, explore the story of Westport from early Christian times to the present day.
Open: daily and seasonal.
WESTPORT LINEN MILL AND MUSEUM.
Northern Feather, The Demesne, Westport
Telephone: 098 25411
This striking peak (800 mts. = 2.510 ft.) lies as an imposing background to Westport Town.
St. Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland, prayed here for 40 days of Lent 441 AD (according to the Legend.)
He did so for the conversion of the Irish People to Christianity.
A Pilgrimage is held on the last Sunday of July each year when over 60.000 people climb to the summit.
The Pilgrims path starts at Murrisk some 8 km. from Westport.
An old Augustinian Abbey which was founded in 1457. It was later destroyed by Cromwellian soldiers. It is located near the Murrisk Car Park.
LITTLE LIST OF.....part 2
Home of the famous sea-queen Frainne Uaile ( Grace O'Malley).
There is a ferry service to the Island from Roonagh Pier (20 km. from Westport)
Telephone: 09826307 and 098 25 045
Here is a National Monument, a 12th Century Round Tower and a 13th Century Church .
St. Patrick is reputed to have built a church here.
The site alsocontains several Patrician Relics.
It lies 7 km. to the south of Westport.
A famous Abbey, 17 km. from Westport. The Abbey was founded in 1216 by Cathal O'Connor, King of Connaught.
Still in use it is a historians dream.
Tochar Phadraig , an ancient Pilgrims path runs from the Abbey through Aughagower to Croagh Patrick.
Guided Tours are available....
Telephone: 094 30934
An exciting guided exploration of our culture through ancient festivalsand farming covering 5000 years.
For further information: telephone 094 30709
In front of the Roman Catholic Church on the Mall.
There is also a plaque at Westport Quay to commemorate Major John McBride, Boer War Veteran and executed leader of the 1916 Rising.
A pircuresque waterway running through the heart of Westport town, with a lovely tree-lined boulevard.