Day 16 (Mayo) – Croagh Patrick, beaches, the most extensive Stone Age monument on earth and lots more
Day 16 sees us head off and conquer one of my favourite hikes in Ireland, before heading for lunch in Westport and then heading out to see the Céide Fields and Donwpatrick Head.
We’ll be sleeping in Sligo (there’s a grand aul ring to that) on night 16 of our Ireland road trip.
1 – Croagh Patrick
// Achill Island to Croagh Patrick – 1-hour drive (arrive for 09:00) //
Climbing Croagh Patrick is hands-down one of my favourite things to do in Ireland.
Considered to be Ireland’s holiest mountain, Croagh Patrick is renowned for its Pilgrimage in honour of Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron Saint.
Stretching back a whopping 5,000 years from the Stone Age to the present day without interruption, the pilgrimage takes place on the last Sunday of July.
The last time I visited, it took us around 3 and a half hours to get to the top and back down again.
2 – Lunch in Westport
// Allow 4 hours to finish the hike and arrive in Westport for 13:00 //
You’ll be in need of a serious feed after that hike.
I’m going to recommend you head to J.J O’Malleys Bar & Restaurant for a bite to eat but here’s a map of all of the best places to eat in the area – just zoom in on Westport.
Fuel up and have a ramble around the town before heading back to the car.
3 – The Céide Fields
// Westport to the Céide Fields – 1 hour and 20-minute drive (arrive for 15:30) //
Beneath the boglands of North Mayo lies the incredible Céide Fields – the most extensive Stone Age monument in the world.
The Céide Fields consist of field systems, dwelling areas and megalithic tombs.
The magnificent stone walled fields, which extend over thousands of acres, are a whopping 6,000 years old.
Enjoy the drive on the way from Westport and then nip into the Céide Fields visitor centre for a ramble around.
4 – Downpatrick Head
// The Céide Fields to Downpatrick Head – 20-minute drive (arrive for 16:50)
Downpatrick Head is one of my favourite places to visit in Mayo.
Jutting out of the ocean and rising roughly 40m above the wild Atlantic waves, Downpatrick Head treats visitors to unparalleled views of the enormous Sea Stack known as Dún Briste.
Dun Briste and the surrounding cliffs were formed 350 million years ago when sea temperatures were higher.
There’s something incredible about standing out near the edge of the cliff (be very damn careful!) and gazing out at 350 years’ worth of exposed rock.
Enjoy every minute.
5 – Rosses Point for the evening
// Downpatrick Head to your hotel for the night – 1 hour and 30-minute drive (arrive for 19:00) //
We’ve a long aul drive to finish off the day.
We’re going to point the car in the direction of Sligo and check into Yeats Country Hotel, Spa & Leisure Club for the night.
Enjoy the spa, chill in your room and head down for a feed in their restaurant for the evening.
Monday 13th of March 2023
Keith, this is an extraordinary itinerary and so detailed. Thank you
Thursday 9th of March 2023
the link to the mailing list sign up isnt working...can I have you send me the document by email? it sounds amazing through quick page hopping! thought this morning that we might go this late Sept/early October for 3ish weeks.
Monday 6th of March 2023
Hi Keith, we’re looking at visiting Ireland September 2023, for four weeks, coming from Canada. Thankfully I found your guide, it is fantastic, you put in a great deal of work organizing this. Thank you. I have a couple tours books to cipher through as well, but it is painstaking slow. I need to get an itinerary put together fast, I see accommodations are filling up quickly for September. One question I have is, is it possible or wise to do your road trip in reverse? We’re not used to driving on the left side, haha, will it be safer doing the trip in reverse?
Saturday 18th of February 2023
Do you have a PDF of the whole list that we could buy/download with links? We were planning to do the reverse of this in October 2023 (34 days)---but, rethinking after seeing yours!
Wednesday 18th of January 2023
This itinerary will be the basis of our upcoming trip this year. We prefer to base ourselves in a place for maybe a week and explore the surrounding areas. We will be picking up a car in Belfast on 26 May and have it for almost 6 weeks. We are unsure of our direction of travel, but leaning towards anti-clockwise. Excluding Dublin, can you suggest 5 or 6 "bases" for exploration. Small towns with a bit of character ideally.
Keep up the good work.