North West Ireland Tourism
Visitor Guide to Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Roscommon, Leitrim, Cavan & Monaghan
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There is almost nothing in Portacloy, and yet it is one of the most beautiful spots on the north Mayo coast. Totally isolated from its hinterland by large swathes of blanket bog, Portacloy looks today much as it would have looked two hundred years ago. A cluster of traditional cottages look down over it from the lofty heights of its northern headland. Their simple architecture is entirely unadulterated by any veneer of modernity. Portacloy is, at best, a hamlet, and, at that, a hamlet without a pub or shop. But it does have a stunning backdrop of heavily rutted headlands, scarred by the cutting action of ancient streams which mark the terrain in deep, equally spaced, lines. And it has sheep too, and lots of them, and they sit on the grass verges, or watch from atop the turf creels. They enjoy clustering in two’s or three’s on the roadway, too, to confound the occasional passing car.

And, like the town itself, Portacloy’s old harbour, too, is a basic affair, but it is this simplicity which give it its charm. And indeed it has charm in abundance. We wonder what life is like in these waters during the winter season when the line between sea and sky is obscured and the horizon lifts and drops with the incoming swells. But this evening Porturlin Harbour is quite beautiful, and we look down from the headland on a sailboat which has pulled in for the night. Tiny figures move about on its desk, setting a table, and dispatching a shore party on an inflatable dinghy. Cool!

How to get to Portacloy

By car, bicycle or foot. There are no scheduled bus services to Portacloy. From Ballina, follow the R314 west. From Glenamoy follow local roads and signage to Portacloy.

Where to stay near Portacloy

Portacloy has lots of good places to stay nearby including hotels, self-catering holiday homes, guesthouses and B&B's.

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Portacloy is surrounded by beautiful coastal towns. Don't miss Porturlin and The Ceide Fields if you are travelling north, and Belmullet, and Achill Island, if travelling south.

Things to do in Portacloy

  1. Stop on the roadway across the blanket bog and check out one of the areas where turf has been recently cut. Notice that different areas have different ways of drying, and indeed storing, turf.
  2. The walking trails to both east and west of Portacloy are stunning, but great care should be taken when in close proximity to the sea. Choose your day well, prepare carefully, and walk safely.
  3. Try your hand fishing from the old harbour. Again expect to catch turbot, pollack, and mackerel.
  4. Bring your togs! Portacloy’s beach is short but it is wonderfully protected and is perfectly suited to bathing.

Portacloy 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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