North West Ireland Tourism
Visitor Guide to Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Roscommon, Leitrim, Cavan & Monaghan
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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. The Céide Fields overlook the mighty Atlantic Ocean which pounds vigorously against the cliffs below. The landscape itself has been forged from the dramatic upheaval of the earths crust over millions of years, and by the ferocious winds which frequent this exposed coast. And together they have built a landscape of extraordinary frugality and beauty. And it is here that our neolithic relatives came to build their fields, and plant their crops, and raise their families.

In the 1930s cutting turf was the traditional way for heating homes across much of Ireland and certainly in the small village of Belderg. The village is situated on the wild and beautiful coast very close to the Céide Fields. As he cut turf in preparation for the coming winter, the local schoolmaster, Patrick Caulfield, kept coming across large numbers of stones deep down in his patch of bog. It occurred to him these stones appeared to be placed in regular patterns. The depth at which the stones were found indicated that they must have been placed there many centuries ago. Years later his son, Seamus Caulfield who studied archaeology, investigated further, and discovered evidence of cultivated fields, houses and tombs which had lain hidden for many many centuries. Using iron probes, Seamus and his team traced out a pattern of walls. These walls were then “mapped” by the insertion of bamboo poles and this gave a visual display on the surface as to the pattern and direction of the stones over many acres.

Six thousand years ago, our Stone Age ancestors constructed houses, walls and fields, and created early farming communities, complete with megalithic tombs. The Céide Fields is perhaps only one of many of these undiscovered sites. It had stone-walled fields, a farming community, and a countryside of homes scattered throughout the landscape with houses surrounded by garden walls. Indeed it sounds very much like Irish life in more recent years. We know from artifacts found on the site that  these ancient farmers used wooden ploughs with a stone cutting edge for cultivating fields. These were drawn by cattle as horses had not been introduced into Ireland at this time. A typical single round house  measured about six metres in diameter.

Daily Opening Hours: 10.00 – 18.00 June until end of September.

Phone: (+353) 096 43325

How to get to the Céide Fields

By bus, or car. Bus Eireann Route 446 serves Balderg from Ballina. Alternatively follow the R314 west from Ballina to Balderg.

Where to stay near The Céide Fields

The Céide Fields has fine selection of places to stay nearby including hotels, hostels, self-catering holiday homes, guesthouses and B&B's.

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Explore more

Balderg is surrounded by beautiful coastal towns. Don't miss Killala and Ballina if you are travelling north, and don't miss Portrurlin, and Portacloy, if you are travelling south.

Things to do near The Céide Fields

  1. Try your hand at fishing from Balderg’s protected harbour where you are likely to catch turbot, flounders, mackerel, and pollack.
  2. Deep sea angling along this coast is generally very rewarding, especially if you have local knowledge aboard. Your catch is likely to be much more varied than above.
  3. Explore the walking trails on the high grounds behind the Céide Fields, and enjoy magnificent views over the Atlantic and over Killala Bay.
  4. Make sure that you don’t miss the extraordinary cliffs immediately adjacent to the Céide Fields Interpretive Centre. Walk down to the viewing platform but not beyond.

Céide Fields map

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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