Aughagower in County Mayo
Aughagower, or Aghagower which translates from Irish (Achadh Ghobhair) as 'the plain of the springs' is a small, historic village approx 5 miles from the town of Westport in County Mayo. It is situated mid-way along the Tochar Phadraig ancient pilgrimage route from Ballintubber Abbey to Croagh Patrick.
One of the monuments still in existence is the 'Leaba Phadraig' (St Patrick's Bed) 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.
St Senach, who was created Bishop of Aughagower by St Patrick, was the founder of the first monastery here.
The lovely historic village of Aughagower is dominated by the striking tenth century round tower and a medieval church, both partly restored.
The round tower was built between 973 and 1013 and, legend has it, the top section, having been struck by lightening, landed on the hill of Tavenish, half a mile distant. An enterprising local woman picked up the cap stone and whisked it off in her apron to the church where it is still to be seen today!
Open to the sky, having no roof the tower is preserved up to the fourth floor (approx 16m). The original east-facing doorway is round-headed and 2.2m above the present ground level. It is about 1.5m high and 65cm wide. A later doorway at ground level - 1.6m high x 75cm wide - faces north-west. A monastic settlement still existed here in the 13th century but little is known about it. Aughagower has moved easily into the modern world, retaining an engaging and charming character all of its own.
From Aughagover the Erriff Valley stretches to the head of Killary Harbour and it offers visitors one of the most breathtaking scenery in County Mayo.