The Western Way - Aasleagh to Sheeffrey in Co. Mayo
The trail then follows the old bog roads to the north Mayo Coast before it swings east to finish in Ballina.
Officially, after the charming village of Leenaun on the Killary Harbour a few km further along the N59 , the Mayo section of the Western Way begins.
Here is a brief description of the first section from Aasleagh to Sheeffrey. This moderate walk, ideal for getting a taste of the Western Way, caters for most ages.
It offers breathtaking views ranging from fiords, rivers, lakes and forests and starts at Aasleagh near the new Western Way map board.
After a brief stroll along the shores of Killary Fiord, the renowned Aasleagh Falls come into sight.
Aasleagh Falls, though beautiful at all times, are especially spectacular when there is a flood on the river Erriff.
The route now winds through Erriff Valley beside the river for some 5 kilometres.
The view is spectacular with the imposing Ben Gorm Mountain to the North West and the Devil’s Mother to the South.
When you reach Houston Bridge the path leaves the river and a brief walk with stunning views south to Leenane will lead you to Tawnyard Forestry where the dominant trees species is lodgepole pine. Coillte, the state forestry agency, manages this forest.
Then the path runs along the shore of Tawnyard Lough. The lake has many small islands and one of these is a Crannog.
A Crannog is a partially or entirely artificial island, usually built in lakes, rivers and estuarine waters of Ireland and was used as dwelling over five millennia.
After passing Tawnyard Forest you will cross Barnaderg Mountain. The ascent to the Sheeffrey Pass will offer you great views. Here, from May to October, Saint Dabeoc’s Heath, can be seen in full flower.
Then, after Sheeffry Bridge on the Glenlaur River, you can follow the trail to the village of Drummin. In the distance the first views of Croagh Patrick come into sight.