County Mayo in the West of Ireland


Aughagower, or Aghagower (Irish Achadh Ghobhair, meaning 'the plain of the springs') is a small rural village, located off the R330, approximately 5 miles from the town of Westport in County Mayo. The village - at the centre of a parish of the same name - is mainly known for its ancient and cultural history.

The founder of the first monastery here was St Senach who was created Bishop of Aughagower by St Patrick.

A tenth century round tower and the ruins of a medieval church, both partly restored, are the dominant features in the village.

The round tower was built between 973 and 1013 and local tradition has it that the capstone was struck by lightning and landed on the hill of Tavenish, half a mile distant. The cap is said to have been picked up by a local woman who carried it in her apron to the church where it is still to be seen today.

The tower is preserved up to the fourth floor (approx 16m high) and then is open to the sky, having no roof. The original round-headed, east-facing doorway is 2.2m above the present ground level. It is about 1.5m high and 65cm wide. A later doorway - 1.6m high x 75cm wide - at ground level, faces north-west.

A monastic settlement still existed here in the 13th century but little is known about it.

Tochar Phadraig

Aughagower is situated mid-way along the important Tochar Phadraig pilgrimage route, from Ballintubber Abbey to Croagh Patrick. St Patrick is believed to have visited the village on his way to Croagh Patrick and the 'Leaba Phadraig' (St Patrick's Bed) is one of the monuments still in existence where the saint is reputed to have slept. Pilgrims performed stations between the bed and the holy well, Tobair na nDeachan (the well of the deacons) which has now dried up, due to changes in the water systems. Close to the church is 'Dabach Phadraig' (St Patrick's Vat), where the saint baptised Aughagower's first Christians.

Despite it's immense historic connections, 21st century Aughagower has moved easily into the modern world, retaining an engaging and charming character all of its own.