Walking in Ballycastle in Co. Mayo

Ballycastle is an ideal location for walking enthusiasts. There is a huge variety of landscapes to explore. Whichever direction you decide to go, you are guaranteed spectacular scenery. This is especially true of the hills, where the views are magnificent, especially in the evening at sunset.

Some walks are mapped out and direction signposts are placed along the route (call to our Tourist Office for more information). In general however, you are free to ramble in the bogs, hills and all along the coastline.

Walk 1: (6 kilometres/3.75 miles)

Ballycastle - Ballymachugh Crossroads - Ballycastle Beach - Ballycastle

This is a gentle walk with no climbs. Comfortable shoes are advisable and swimwear for the beach. Go up the Main Street and take the first turn on your left. You will pass the town graveyard on your right and head into the Lagan. Continue straight through the first crossroads. After passing the local football pitch you will cross over Heathfield River. Continue on for another couple of hundred metres and you will arrive at Ballymachugh Crossroads. Take the left and keep well into your side of the road, as there are a couple of blind turns further on. You will cross Heathfield River again and you will soon arrive at the Beach.

This is a safe swimming beach where at low water one can search for periwinkles, limpets, crabs and edible seaweeds. A lot of campers pitch tents here. Continue past the beach for a further two kilometres until you come to a T-junction. Take a left here to arrive back in the town.

Walk 2: (12 Kilometres/7.5 miles)

Ballycastle - Ballymachugh Crossroads - Muingreevagh Crossroads - Downpatrick Head - Muingreevagh Crossroads - Ballymachugh Crossroads - Ballycastle

This walk is along main roads with a couple of gentle climbs. A must for those interested in seascapes.

Follow the directions for Walk 1 as far as Ballymachugh Crossroads. Instead of taking the left turn, go straight through the crossroads. Continue on for 2 kilometres until you come to Muingreevagh Crossroads. Take a left for Downpatrick Head (it is sign-posted) and follow the road until you arrive on the sea front.

The scenery is beautiful, spectacular cliffs, blow-holes, a sea-stack, and bird life. Claims of a link with St. Patrick give the Head its name and a church and holy well are still present. Battling Forces - part of the Tir Saile Sculpture Trail - is also located here.

Walk 3: (7 kilometres/4.5 miles)

Ballycastle - Ballinglen - Ballycastle

A perfect walk if you are interested in historical buildings and scenery.

Go down to the bottom of the town and turn left at O'Gradys meat shop. Continue up this road (again, stay to the side of the road as there are a couple of blind turns) for 1 kilometre.

On your right you will see the remains of the Old Presbyterian Church built in 1850 and now in ruins. Two kilometres further on that road, take the first right. You will be able to view the castle (from which Ballycastle gets its name - The Town of the Castle).

From the valley there is a beautiful view out to Ballycastle Bay following the route of the Ballinglen river with natural hazel and ash woods and colonies of primroses and wild strawberries.

Walk 4: (16 kilometres/10miles)\

Ballycastle - Ballyglass - Muingelly - Céide - Muingelly - Ballyglass - Ballycastle

For those who feel energetic, and are interested in archaeology and scenery, this walk is for you. Go straight at the bottom of the town in the direction of Céide (map at bottom of town gives you details). Take the first left and you will pass the Millhouse once powered by water from the Ballinglen River. Continue up the hill and take a right at the crossroads. You will come to a Y-junction and take a left here. Along this road are remnants of megalithic tombs which can be located on the map.

Continue on this road (it begins to climb and is narrow so stay in to the side) for 1.5 kilometres. A road to your right will bring you to Doonfeeney graveyard which has the second highest standing stone in Ireland. Return back along that byroad and take a right to bring you to Muingelly.

There are fantastic views of the sea out towards Broadhaven and Downpatrick Head. As the byroad meets the road, the sculpture 'Wind Trees' is located up the steps to the left. At the main road, take a left and it will bring you straight to Céide Fields where our 5000 year history is explained. There are many other routes one can take and all provide the beautiful scenery of a natural unspoiled countryside.