Centrally located and with countless amenities, there really isn’t a better place from which to explore the diverse beauty and charm of ‘Magical Mayo’. Why not follow some of the day-trips suggested here, which will guide you around the sweeping mountains, twinkling lakes, glorious strands and dramatic coastal scenery of the county! Then, in the evening, return to Castlebar to enjoy Mayo’s finest restaurants, accommodation and the county’s most vibrant nightlife.
…MORE THAN JUST A BASE!
Just before you read the suggested day-trips take some time to explore Castlebar!
The town began as a humble settlement around the De Barra Family castle, which was built in the 11th century. The town was then a garrison outpost and its streets have echoed the sounds of battle and conflict on numerous occasions. Castlebar hosted historical events that influenced the entire county, for example the 1798 French and Irish rebellion called "The Races of Castlebar".
In addition, Castlebar is the birth place of several historical figures from the infamous Lord Lucan, to the world famous soprano Margaret Burke Sheridan, to Louis Brennan (the inventor of the mono-rail) and last but not least the former Taoiseach Charles J. Haughey. Castlebar is also the home of E.U. commissioner Padraic Flynn.
The Mall was once the cricket pitch of Lord Lucan and his clan. It is here in the town park that you will find the 1798 Monument, which was erected on the 150th anniversary of the 1798 rising. It is also the burial place of John Moore who was the first appointed President of the Republic of Connaught on 31 August 1798. He held this title for just one week as he was imprisoned by English forces and died on the 6th of December. Two days later he was buried outside the city of Waterford. However his remains were exhumed and re-interred in his Castlebar grave on the 13th of August 1961. His family then returned to Mayo from their home in Spain and in 1792 they built Moore Hall.
The interior of Christchurch hosts an excellent visual record of Castlebar from 1590 to 1914 with numerous plaques commemorating countless people from the age. The building of Christchurch was begun in 1736 and was renovated between 1800 and 1828. In 1807 the clock tower was added. The plaque inside the main entrance is the single contemporary record remaining of the violent 1798 period. The statue of General George O’Malley erected in 1845 is located in the ground of the church and is a historic landmark because of its record of the battles of the Napoleonic wars.
TURLOUGH ROUND TOWER.
Round towers were used as bell-towers and as hiding places for monks and their valuable religious goods in times of Viking invasion (between the 10th and 12th century). The towers were designed to protect; therefore they were usually between fifty and one hundred and fifty feet high. One could only enter the tower through a narrow doorway, situated high on the tower wall, which was reached by ladder. The ladder was then hauled up when the monks were safely inside. Turlough Round Tower is a fine, well-preserved example of such a tower and stands over seventy feet high. It is situated 5km north-east of Castlebar.
(FORMERLY ‘THE IMPERIAL HOTEL’)
It was here that the National land League was founded in 1879. A plaque, erected in 1949 and located to the left of the main door, commemorates the agreement reached by the league on the 3 F’s; free rent, free sale and fixity of tenure. Dalys Hotel is also a fine example of a Victorian hotel with an original gaslight over the main door! The hotel has been recently renovated and modernised.
‘THE SCULPTURE TRACK’
If you consider yourself aesthetically minded, then you might like to follow the suggested trail, which details the main artistic attractions that are found in Castlebar.
Located on the Westport roundabout this bronze sculpture was created by Michael Burke and is titled "Linen Steam" was commissioned by Mayo County Council. The sculpture portrays a piece of woven cloth involved in an upward spiral movement. This piece represents the linen industry, which played a key role in the formation of the town of Castlebar.
This stainless steel sculpture, located on the Station Road roundabout (also commissioned by Mayo County Council), is entitled "Shimmer II" and it represents the distorted illusion that occurs when heat rises from the horizon.
Evin Nolan created this majestic steel piece, located beside the fire station and commissioned by Mayo County Council, it remains untitled.
is located in the Castlebar library. It was commissioned by the Celebration of the Senses in 1996 and was created by Michael Anders from Germany, Ronnie Graham from Galway and George Osborne from Belfast. It was meticulously carved from bog pine and is definitely worth a visit!
Maud Cotter has created an interesting mobile glass art piece, which is also located in the library. It was also commissioned by Mayo County Council and remains untitled.
6.The Michael O’Malley Bronze Piece
is the third piece located in the Castlebar library and was created by Marion O’Donnell.
The theme of peace is represented in stone in a unique piece on Thomas Street. It was created in 1990 during Ireland’s presidency of the E.U. The piece consists of a number of stones, each representing a member state. The beautiful dove represents the ideal of peace and harmony that we all hope and strive for in our lives.
…AND WHAT ABOUT ACTIVITIES?
SWIMin Castlebar’s local pool. Contact (094) 9021357 or Mayo County Council for for swimming times.
BOWLin the Mayo Roller Bowl. Eight computerised bowling lanes cater for everyone, from the novice to the seasoned bowler. Also includes laser world, pool, snooker and video games. It is open from 10.00am to 12 midnight. Contact (094) 9025473 or (094) 9025472 for further information. <
Now on to the Day Trips!
Back to Castlebar