Holy and Hilly Mayo. Thatís how a young American sums up her experience of this ďgreat part of a great islandĒ in her very enthusiastic report of a walking tour of our west coast.
However, her description was obviously coloured by her abandoned attempt to hike to the summit of Croagh Patrick which is, indeed, very holy and very hilly (although a few fit Mayomen regularly race to the conical top and back in well under an hour). Instead, she returned to Murrisk to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea in convivial company while watching a school of dolphins frolic in the inshore waters of Clew Bay.
Thatís the magic of Mayo. From remote Achill Head to bustling Castlebar and from the windswept waters of Lough Conn to the elegant leafy Mall of Westport, thereís something different to do and see at every turn.
In spite of this wealth of rewarding experiences, Mayo remains relatively unexplored -- and that means itís an ideal place to enjoy the true Ireland. Itís big, with a dramatic coastline, rugged mountain ranges and freshwater lakes that stretch forever; in some wilderness areas you will feel that the world is yours alone.
With the exception of lively and lovely towns like Ballina on the salmon-rich River Moy and holiday centres like Achill Island, Westport and Newport, you will rarely encounter a crowd or have difficulty booking accommodation. However, itís a good idea for first-timers to check out local packages such as offered by The Mayo Experience.
The worldís romantic vision of Ireland was heavily influenced by The Quiet Man, filmed around our picturesque village of Cong fifty years ago. This movie was not, even then, a representation of the true Ireland, yet it has inspired a global generation to seek out scenic beauty, simpler lifestyles and timeless truths.
And there are not many other John Wayne movies you can say that about!
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