As I was Going Over.... the Partry Mountains not far from Castlebar

South of Castlebar is Lough Mask sheltered on its West shore by the Partry Mountains. Turn right just before Tourmakeady village and drive, walk or cycle up over the Partry Mountains and down into the valley of the River Aille.

Looking back towards Lough Mask


At the end of the Ice Age the retreating ice left a landscape strewn with boulders, rocks and stones. Building stone walls and stone buildings was an obvious way of clearing the land in order to grow crops.

Quite high up now... Lough Mask is getting more distant.


While it is a bit misty, the enlarged photo clearly shows the parallel lines of the lazy beds running down the slope. Lazy beds were used to grow potatoes before Famine times in the early 1800s. This would have been a densely populated area before the blight struck the potatoes giving rise to the Great Famine in the 1850s. Today sheep are reared extensively on the hillsides.

A solid gatepost at the entrance of a ruined house. The remains of small houses that once may have supported a family of 10 or more can still be seen along the road. The descendants of survivors of the Famine most likely emigrated to America. We get many requests from the great great grandchildren of these emigrants from the mid-1800s to help trace their roots.

Sheep, bog cotton and rohododenron-lined roads characterise the top of the Partry Mountains.



Over the watershed a new river starts to flow - the Áille, translating as the 'beautiful' river. The Áille flows north first and then goes underground into the Áille Caves before turning South once more and feeding into Lough Mask near Srah.

The Áille Valley in the Killawalla region resembles a Paul Henry painting.

Remember Y2k? This interesting Heath Robinson Device outside a Partry Mountain cottage reminds us that the "EMIT FO DNE" is nigh!



Photos taken in July 2000 between Partry and Killawalla near Castlebar


More photos of Castlebar and County Mayo in the West of Ireland
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