North West Ireland Tourism
Visitor Guide to Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Roscommon, Leitrim, Cavan & Monaghan
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The Lakes of Mayo Scenic Drive

Castlebar - Straide - Foxford - Ballina - Crossmolina - Laharadaun - Pontoon - Foxford - Straide - Castlebar (102 km / 64 mls)

Leave Castlebar on the N5 road and turn left at Bellavary taking the N26 for Straide. This was the birthplace of Michael Davitt, who established the Land League in the 1800s to fight for the rights of Irish Tenants. His family were evicted when Davitt was a child because they couldn't pay their rent. He saw the suffering inflicted on people through the unjust treatment, and vowed to change things.

The Land League was enormously successful and after a series of Land Wars where tenants resisted evictions, politicians took action, and tenants' rights were secured. Michael Davitt is buried in Straide, and the village has a museum dedicated to his memory, and to the work done by the Land League. Continue from here to Foxford, a pleasant town on the Moy River, backed by the Ox Mountains on the north-east. When in Foxford, visit the Foxford woollen mills Visitors' Centre which tells the story of a determined nun, Mother Agnes Morrogh-Bernard (1842-1932), who founded the Foxford Woollen Mills in 1892. The town is now known for producing top quality tweed, rugs and blankets. An audio-visual history of the mills is followed by a tour, where visitors can see work being produced. Continue on the N57 to Ballina, home town of Irish President, Mary Robinson. This is a renowned angling centre, being close to excellent river, lake and sea waters.

Former Irish soccer team manager and keen angler, Jack Charlton, has a holiday home near here. At Ballina, take the N59 for Crossmolina. There are several ruins near the town, including Abbeytown Abbey and Castle Deel. As you take the R310 south, you will see Enniscoe House, located some 3km from Crossmolina. The North Mayo Family History Centre and Heritage Centre offers a genealogical service. Continue on to Pontoon by the Western shore of Lough Conn. This is a terrific angling centre, located as it is between Lough Conn and Lough Cullin. There are several beaches on Lough Cullin, and the area has pleasant forest and lakeshore walks. Pontoon is where President Mary Robinson has her holiday home. Go left at Pontoon taking the scenic road, bordered on each side by Lough Conn and Lough Cullin. This will bring you back to Foxford and Castlebar.

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