North West Ireland Tourism
Visitor Guide to Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Roscommon, Leitrim, Cavan & Monaghan
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Ballina

With one of Ireland’s very best stocked salmon rivers passing right through it, Ballina is world famous for it salmon and trout fishing. Anglers from all over the globe come to fish the dark waters of Ballina’s “Ridge Pool”, and to savour the towns unique brand of West of Ireland hospitality. Indeed former Irish soccer manager Jack Charlton was famously a frequent visitor to the Ridge Pool, but he is only one of a strong contingent of  enthusiasts who return over and over again to pit their skills against its canny residents.

The 10 day Ballina Street Festival is now one of Ireland’s leading summer festivals, attracting people from all parts of the country, and indeed from all parts of the world. The festival includes its own “heritage day”, which remembers the great characters and history of the town, and the great mythical heroes of Irish history. The final day of the festival is a wonderfully action-packed occasion which culminates in a massive fire works show. The festival represents a week long feast of free entertainment for all the family, with great music, theatre, culture, and peagentry. And for bemused visitors from foreign lands, it is a glimpse of what  is a  is best about Ballina and County Mayo.

Beleek Castle is undoubtedly one of Ballina’s greatest treasures. Tucked away just outside the town centre, this magical, lovingly restored castle, is a great centre of historical intrigue and sumptuous comfort. Its refurbishment was heavily influenced by the Spanish Galleon that stood alongside it for many years, and much of its woodwork has been constructed from ancient timbers salvaged from the “Castle Squadron”, one of the great warships of the Spanish Armada which was wrecked off the Mayo coastline back in the 1500′s. Indeed, several artifacts have been recovered from the wreck and now stand proudly at Belleek Castle for all too see.

Not only does Beleek Castle Hotel use artefacts and great oak balks from the ill fated Spanish Armada, but its “Tween Decks” area has been crafted from the remains of a 17th century Spanish war vessel which was also shipwrecked in the area. The property is many things, a small sumptious hotel, a spectacular gourmet restaurant, and an armour museum. It stands in 1,000 delightful acres of private grounds.

How to get to Ballina

By bus and car. Bus Eireann Route 458 provides regular services from Sligo to Ballina. Alternatively take the N59 from Sligo to Ballina.

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Ballina is surrounded by beautiful coastal towns. Don't miss Enniscrone and Ballysadare Bay if you are travelling north, and Killala, and Balderg Harbour, if you are travelling south.

Where to stay in Ballina

Ballina in Mayo has a fine selection of accommodation options including hotels, self-catering holiday homes, guesthouses and B&B's.

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Things to do in Ballina.

  1. Every year in July the town of Ballina goes into a frenzy of fun and frolics, with an action packed Festival which includes a well-established Heritage Day, depicting local history and life, an International Night, Lady of the Moy contest and Mardi Gras with monster fireworks on final night. The festival offers a week long feast of free entertainment for the entire family – music, song, theatre, art, heritage, culture and novelty events. Visitors to Ballina experience what is best about Mayo during this spectacular week.
  2. Visit Beautiful Beleek Castle, a magical, historical, lovingly restored castle which is located just outside Ballina
  3. Near Ballina's railway station is the Dolmen of the Four Maols, three large rocks, capped by a massive boulder, a tombstone dating from the Bronze Age. The original settlement at Ballina was at Ardnaree, on the east side of the river. This site is marked by the ruins of a 14th century Augustinian friary. Both places are worth seeing when visiting the town.

Ballina Map

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Top Attractions of Ireland's North West

If it is a leisurely or action packed holiday you require then you can be guaranteed that the counties of the North West of Ireland including Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo can provide for your every need. These counties offer you choices of the best accommodation and eateries along with lively evening hotspots to keep you entertained during your visit. The region has excellent sporting amenities with some of Ireland's best golf links courses, along with excellent fishing spots, horse riding, mountaineering, mountain biking, river and sea cruises, famous surfing beaches and much much more.


Visitors are also sure to experience a warm welcome or "céad mile fáilte" from those you meet on your travels in the area along with a strong sense of the Irish heritage and culture in some of the least explored parts of the country.


Ireland's North West is easily accessible from every corner of the world through the regional airports serving the region at Knock or Shannon and you'll find there is a lot to see and plenty to do once you arrive. Below are just some of the main attractions ready to be discovered. We look forward to welcoming you soon.



Croagh Patrick in Mayo

Croagh Patrick

Croagh Patrick, one of the highest peaks in the West of Ireland is situated five miles from the picturesque town of Westport in the village of Murrisk, and the mountain’s conical shape soars majestically above the surrounding countryside. More details +
attractions donegal
Glenveagh National Park Donegal

Glenveagh National Park

Glenveagh National Park can be found about 24km north west of Letterkenny in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains. With its pristine lakes, mountains, boglands, moorlands, rivers and wilderness, this remote and peaceful national park is hauntingly beautiful and serene. More details +
must see places donegal
Slieve League Cliffs

Slieve League Cliffs

Towering high above the raging Atlantic Ocean, the Slieve League Cliffs are one of the highest sea-cliff faces in Europe. Their incredibly steep slope to the sea is perhaps even more hair-raising than the Cliffs of Moher with its shear drop. More details +
Best Irish attractions
The Céide Fields in Mayo

The Céide Fields

The remarkable neolithic site at Céide Fields in County Mayo holds the oldest known stone-walled fields in the world. They date back almost 6,000 years, more than any other early agricultural site to date. More details +
best places to visit mayo
The Giant’s Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway

The Giant's Causeway’s unique rock formations have, for millions of years, stood as a natural rampart against the unbridled ferocity of north Atlantic Ocean. The rugged symmetry of the columns, and their uniform planshape, never fail to intrigue and inspire the curious admirers who come so far to witness them. More details +
Historic attractions Ireland
Grianán of Aileach

Grianán of Aileach

The great Grianán of Aileach is believed to have been built in the 1st century AD, on the site of an ancient Iron Age hillfort, and the outline of the original Iron Age fort can still be seen on the hill to this day. More details +
top ancient attractions ireland
Doagh Famine Village

Doagh Famine Village

Doagh Famine Village contains a wide selection of full size attractions, including some original dwellings which were still inhabited up to 20 years ago. Some of the buildings of Doagh Famine Village, such as the Orange Hall, Presbyterian Meeting House, Mass Rock and Hedge School and a Republican Safe House, depict the diverse history and culture of this corner of the Inishowen peninsula. More details +


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