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Louisburgh Mayo: 9 Things to do, Food + Pubs

Louisburgh Mayo: 9 Things to do, Food + Pubs

Mayo’s Louisburgh tends to be overlooked by its more famous neighbour, Westport, but by God this little town has a lot going for it.

Perched on the southwest corner of the glorious Clew Bay, Louisburgh is surrounded by some of Mayo’s finest beaches and some of the county’s finest attractions.

A good base for both Mayo, Galway and the likes of Inishturk and Clare Island, there’s a lot to like about Louisburgh.

Below, you’ll find a map showing things to do in Louisburgh (and nearby) along with where to eat, sleep and drink. Cheers!

Some quick need-to-knows about Louisburgh

Carrowmore beach louisburgh

Photo courtesy Christian McLeod via Fáilte Ireland

 

Although a visit to Louisburgh is fairly handy, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

Louisburgh is in south-west Mayo tucked away at the corner of Clew Bay. The quaint town is close to beaches, islands, and mountains. It’s a 25-minute drive from Westport, a 40-minute drive from Leenane and a 1-hour drive from Cong.

2. Heaps of small-town charm

While Westport is the main tourist hub in the area, staying in Louisburgh offers a completely different experience. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle and experience authentic small-town charm, then Louisburgh is the way to go. 

3. Getting around without a car

One of the reasons tourists exploring Mayo without a car tend to overlook Louisburgh is that they see it as isolated. However, thanks to the Bus Éireann local route 450, you can easily get from the town to the likes of Achill Island and Westport with ease.

 

Things to do in Louisburgh (and nearby)

Although there are only a handful of things to do in Louisburgh itself, there are endless attractions very close by.

Below, you’ll find beaches, forests, mountains and scenic drives all in and around Louisburgh.

 

1. Beaches Galore

Silver Strand Louisburgh

Photo left and top right: Kelvin Gillmor. Other: Google Maps

Some of the best beaches in Mayo are a short distance from Louisburgh.

Two of the closest are Bertra Beach (between Louisburgh and Westport) and the very popular Old Head Beach.

You can combine a visit to the latter with a stroll around the Old Head Wood Nature Reserve.

Two of the most impressive beaches in the area are Silver Strand and White Strand, but do note that they are isolated with no lifeguard service.

Other options a short spin away are Cross Beach, Carrowmore Beach and Carrownisky Beach.

 

2. Surfing

surfing

Photos via Shutterstock

Carrownisky Beach near Louisburgh has great conditions for surfing and boasts of the most consistent waves in the area.

If you’re a newbie, you can learn to surf with Surf Mayo, the first surf school in the county! 

The locally owned school is ISA (Irish Surfing Association) approved, offering surf lessons, summer surf camps for kids aged between seven and 16, and equipment hire

Cross Beach nearby is another popular spot for catching waves. 

 

3. The Louisburgh to Leenane drive

the doolough valley

Photos via Shutterstock

The Louisburgh to Leenane Drive is one of Ireland’s most scenic road trip routes.

Starting from the town, the drive takes roughly 40 minutes (if you don’t stop) – allow a good hour at least.

You’ll come to the Wild Atlantic Way discover point before you enter the valley and it’s from there that you’ll be treated to an elevated view.

 

4. Granuaile Visitor Centre

The Granuaile Visitor Centre in Louisburgh is the best place to learn about the pirate queen, Grace O’Malley.

The most infamous member of the O’Malley clan, Grace, also known as Granuaile, was a fearsome pirate in the 16th century. 

The visitor centre tells the story of her life, from the battles against the English to her personal life as a wife and mother.

Her greatest achievement was sailing from Clew Bay in Ireland to Greenwich Palace in England to negotiate face to face with Queen Elizabeth I.

 

5. The Lost Valley

the lost valley

Photos via the Lost Valley

The Lost Valley is one of the most unique attractions in Mayo, and it’s one many tend to miss.

With serene lakes, idyllic beaches, and majestic forests, this remote corner of County Mayo is definitely worth a visit!

The valley is on a working farm owned by the Bourke Family and access is only possible through a guided tour.

The three-hour walking tour brings guests along a green road, past waterfalls, historical ruins, and amongst native trees and flowers.

 

6. The Glen Keen Estate & Glen Keen Farm

Glen Keen Farm

Photos via Glen Keen Farm on FB

At over 10,000 acres, Glen Keen farm is one of Ireland’s largest working farms.

As well as being a family-run sheep farm, the Glen Keen Farm is a rural tourism business offering one-of-a-kind experiences for groups of 20 or more. 

Their activities include:

  • Sheep herding (an introduction to the farm’s border collies and a sheep herding demonstration)
  • An Irish music and dance session (learning the Sean Nós dance accompanied by local musicians)
  • A historical pre-Irish famine walking tour (a moderate walk visiting Bronze Age forts, ancient burial grounds, and homestead dwellings on the property)
 

7. Take a boat from Roonagh to Clare Island or Inishturk

different locations on inishturk island

Photos via Shutterstock

There are daily sailings to both Clare Island and Inishturk Island from nearby Roonagh Pier.

The timetable changes throughout the year, but there are more sailings during the summer. 

Clare Island is a fantastic day trip, with adrenaline-filled activities like raft-building and kayaking on offer, or even vegetarian cooking courses and yoga if you want to slow things down a little. 

Inishturk is a haven for walkers, with two loop walks passing by breathtaking scenery. If you prefer to take it easy, the island has several beautiful beaches. 

 

9. Conquer Croagh Patrick

climbing croagh patrick

Photos via Shutterstock

Standing 764 metres high, the climb up Croagh Patrick or “The Reek”, is a rewarding one with panoramic views at the top.

Not only are the views fantastic, but the mountain path is steeped in history, and St. Patrick is said to have fasted on top of the mountain for 40 days in 441AD. 

The strenuous 7km climb takes most people around three and a half to four hours to finish.

Traditionally, the pilgrim route starts in Murrisk, but there’s nothing to stop you from starting at the Croagh Patrick car park (although this fills up fast). 

 

Places to stay in Louisburgh

accommodation in louisburgh

Photos via The Three Arches

There are a handful of places to stay in Louisburgh that make a great base to explore from.

Note: if you book a stay through one of the links below we may make a commission that helps us keep this site going. You won’t pay extra, but we really do appreciate it.

1. Ponderosa B&B

Ponderosa B&B welcomes guests seasonally between mid-April and late-September. There are three cosy rooms for rent, one double room, and two double and single rooms. Each room has an en-suite and a TV.

2. West View Guest House

Right in the heart of Louisburgh on Chapel Street, West View Guest House has double and triple rooms on offer. The rooms are spacious, with a desk, seating area, and an electric kettle for tea.

3. The Three Arches

The Three Arches is a traditional bed and breakfast only 8 minutes from Louisburgh by car. The bungalow has panoramic views of the Irish countryside and mountains and is a 20-minute walk from the beach.

 

Pubs and restaurants in Louisburgh

P. DAN'S Bar

Photos via P Dan’s on FB

There are a handful of great pubs and restaurants in Louisburgh that’ll make your belly happy.

Here’s a few I’ve found myself going back to!

1. An Bhun Abhainn

An Bhun Abhainn on Bridge Street is located inside a building that has been a pub for 100+ years. There’s a fire during the colder months, great service throughout the year and regular live music sessions.

2. McNamara’s Bar

McNamara’s Bar on Bridge Street is is another spot where you’re guaranteed a warm welcome. There’s a simple yet well-priced menu here and plenty of corners to perch yourself in for an evening.

3. P. DAN’S

Located a 10-minute spin from the town in Killadoon, P. DAN’S boasts mighty views along with hearty dishes (and big portions!).

4. Louisburgh 74 – Cafe Bistro

Louisburgh 74 on Chapel Street is located in the centre of the town and they do a great lunch, with everything from chowder and cakes to salad bowls on the go. 

5. Seven Wanders Cafe

The best coffee in the town? I’m no expert, but they do a fine cup in Chapel Street’s Seven Wanders Cafe. There’s also breakfast baps, toasties and plenty more!

 

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