Downpatrick Head

Downpatrick Head, located just a few miles north of Ballycastle village in County Mayo, offers one of the most striking views on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way. Rising roughly 40 meters from the sea, this location is not only a haven for birdwatchers but also provides breathtaking views of the Atlantic, the Staggs of Broadhaven to the west, and high cliffs along the mainland. The highlight is "Dún Briste" (the Broken Fort), an impressive sea-stack that separated from the mainland in 1393. Rich in folklore, Downpatrick Head also houses a statue of Saint Patrick, who is said to have established a church here. Local legend tells that when he drove the snakes out of Ireland, this was the point from which they plunged into the sea.

Nearby, the Céide Fields offer another dip into ancient history. Located near Ballycastle, these fields are the most extensive Stone Age monument in the world, offering glimpses of field systems, enclosures, and tombs that are over 5,500 years old. What sets the Céide Fields apart is their extraordinary preservation, with ancient stone walls and settlements protected over the millennia by layers of peat bog. This site provides invaluable insights into the organization of early society in Ireland, reflecting the mastery of farming by our ancestors.

For those wanting a deeper understanding, a visitor center at the Céide Fields offers detailed insights into the site's significance. Through exhibits, audiovisual presentations, and guided tours, visitors can learn about the archaeological findings and the importance of bogs in Ireland.

A visit to Downpatrick Head and Céide Fields is more than just a journey across the Irish landscape; it's a leap back in time. This region offers a harmonious blend of raw natural beauty, intriguing ancient history, and enduring legends, making it an essential destination for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.