[ Date: February 21, 2018 06:54 am ]
CULTURAL & HISTORICAL
Westport House & Gardens
Web: www.westporthouse.ie Tel: 098 27766
Westport House & Gardens, first opened to the public is 1960; it is one of Ireland’s best loved heritage attractions. Having been family home to the Browne family for over 300 years, its roots trace back to Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen of Connaught. As you can imagine – this house has some story to tell. With over 30 rooms open to the public, this house is one of the few historic houses in Ireland affording such access to visitors. There are several architecturally stunning rooms on show complete with original antiques and artwork most of which have a long association with Ireland and are of particular interest to our visitors.
Original items on show in Westport House, of particular interest, include a fine collection of old English and Irish silver, including 18th century Irish ‘potato’ or dish rings, Waterford glass, a library with many old Irish books and a Mayo Legion Flag which was brought to Ireland by General Humbert when he invaded the Country in 1798 and has ever since been in Westport House, which was occupied by his troops.
With a focus on preserving the heritage and history of this house, family, town and region, Westport House have developed some permanent exhibitions in the house, they are:
- The Grace O’Malley Exhibition: Written and developed by Sheelyn Browne, Joint Managing Director of Westport House, and Anne Chambers, historian and expert on Grace O’Malley, this is the country’s foremost exhibit on Grace O’Malley. It lives in the basement of Westport House adjacent to the dungeons from the Pirate Queen’s 16th century castle, the foundations upon which the House is built. It features panels depicting her meeting with the Queen, Howth Castle, as well as her life lived in the 16th century and a video presentation from RTE’s Radharc TV show shot in the 80’s.
- The Last 50 years at Westport House: Westport House added a new exhibition in 2011 on “The Last 50 Years at Westport House” that delves in more detail into how and why the 11th Marquess decided to keep the house open, fought to retain the house and land for his 5 daughters and you’ll find out who will be the 12th Marquess of Sligo…
- Howe Peter Browne – Champion of the slaves: This moving exhibition depicts the life of Howe Peter Browne, the 2nd Marquess of Sligo, with a focus on his participation in the emancipation of slaves in Jamaica in the 1800’s when he was Governor General of Jamaica in 1834-1836.
- Waxworks display of famous visitors to the West: To improve the visitors experience in Westport House from a cultural point of view, Jeremy introduced ten waxwork figures by Gems Display Figures of London in 2002. These constitute just a few of the West of Ireland’s great achievers in literature, music and the arts.
- The Browne’s & the development of the town of Westport: Set in the basement of Westport House, this nine panel exhibition charts the influence and investment of the Browne family in the development of the town including town planning, building of key landmarks and development of trades.
CHECK RECEPTION OR WEBSITE FOR OPENING TIMES
Special Discounted Rates available at reception for adults
Only €10.00 per adult
GRAINNE MHAOL SHOW
Contact them on 098 56582 or visit their website at http://www.grainnemhaol.com/#!
Music, Song & Dance Show during June, July & August
The Legend of Gráinne Mhaol is a spectacular traditional music show based on the real-life story of the legendary Pirate Queen Grace O’ Malley or Gráinne Mhaol. The show is a wonderful celebration of Irish music, song and dance and is an inspiring epic, reliving the journey of the Irish legend Gráinne Mhaol throughout history. The show is full of energy and enthusiasm and has captured the imagination of audiences across all ages and cultures.
Discounted tickets available at reception
Kylemore, Connemara, Co. Galway
Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Gardens are open all year round and is known as Ireland’s most romantic castle. Located in the heart of Connemara, Co. Galway, set in the most idyllic location, Kylemore Abbey is one of the top places to visit in Ireland.
Visit the castle, Gothic church, 6 acres of Victorian Walled Garden – there are plenty of things to do for young and old.
The story of Kylemore – both Castle and Abbey – is a truly remarkable one. The twists of fate which its occupants experienced, from moments of romance and happiness, to sadness and courage have all combined to create a fascinating history spanning over 150 years.
Kylemore is home to a community of nuns of the Benedictine Order who came here in 1920 after their abbey in Ypres, Belgium was destroyed in World War I. Settling at Kylemore, the Benedictine Community opened a world renowned boarding school for girls and began restoring the Abbey, Gothic Church and Victorian Walled Garden to their former glory.
Perfect for a family day out and easily accessible from Galway or Mayo, Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden offers visitors scenic photographic opportunities as well as woodland walks, garden tours, fascinating history, beautiful architecture, ample shopping in the craft shop and tempting homemade delights in the restaurant and tea rooms.
Open all year round – check website for more information
Straide, Foxford, Co. Mayo 094-9031022
The Michael Davitt Museum is located in the picturesque and historic village of Straide in Co Mayo on the N58 route between Ballyvary and Foxford. The museum is housed in the magnificently restored pre-Penal Church that was used prior to the enactment of the 1690’s Penal laws which were more commonly known as popery laws.
The Michael Davitt Visitor Centre includes the beautiful surrounding grounds of Straide Abbey, which together with parking and picnic area provides an ideal destination for one of the great family days out in Mayo. The Museum contains an extensive collection of historical artefacts including original documents, photos, Land Acts, letters, postcards, posters, rosary beads and other items connected with Michael Davitt’s life and his campaign work within the National Land League. Davitt was a social reformer, Member of Parliament, author, GAA Patron, labour leader and international humanitarian. He is Mayo’s most famous son and Ireland’s greatest Patriot.
The Michael Davitt Museum is open from 10.00 am – 18.00 pm daily.
Open all year, excluding Christmas week from 23rd December to 2nd January.
Senior Citizens €2.00,
Children under 7 free,
Children 7 to 16 years €1.30
Louisburgh, Co. Mayo 098 66341
The maritime exploits of the O’Malleys and O’Flahertys have become the stuff of legend. There most famous member was Grace O’Malley (1530-1600), Queen of Umaill, chieftain of the Ó Máille clan and a pirate in 16th century Ireland. She is commonly known by her nickname Granuaile or Gráinne Mhaol (‘Bald Gráinne’ a reference to her close-cropped hair as a young woman).
The pirate queen is associated with the west of Ireland, particularly with the western coastline around Clew Bay. She lived in the turbulent times which saw the death throes of Gaelic Ireland and witnessed Elizabeth I of England’s plantation policy take permanent effect on the country’s laws and customs. She battled against the English and ruled the Baronies of Burrishoole and Murrisk around Clew Bay in County Mayo. Her exploits at sea are legendary and are recounted in Elizabethan state papers.
The Granuaile Visitor Centre tells her story. Please telephone in advance to make sure centre is open on the day you would like to call
NEWPORT HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Newport, Co. Mayo
Brian Hoban – 087 9234505 – Local Historian & Failte Ireland Approved Tour Guide
Newport and surrounding area is rich in history and archaeological treasures, with landmarks such as Burrishoole Abbey and Carrigahowley Castle, both of which are popular visitor attractions.
A guided historical tour takes place each Friday evening at 7:00pm during July and August in Newport, conducted by Brian Hoban, Local Historian & Failte Ireland Approved Tour Guide. Meeting place for this tour is Hotel Newport, Main Street, Newport. Group tours may be arranged at other times by appointment and tailor made sightseeing and heritage tours throughout Mayo are offered for groups
Achill, Co. Mayo
The parish of Achill includes Achill Island and parts of the Currane Peninsula in County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland. This area is steeped in history and, despite its remote location, has produced or attracted a rich array of famous people and fascinating characters. The area hosts a wide variety of flora and fauna.
- The Deserted Village at Slievemore consists of some 80 – 100 stone cottages located along a mile long stretch of road on the southern slopes of Slievemore Mountain. While some of these dwellings were occupied as summer ‘booley’ homes within living memory, the area itself is rich in archaeological artifacts including megalithic tombs dating from the Neolithic period some 5,000 years ago. Local field systems and site remnants indicate that settlement in this area dates from at least early Mediaval times.
- Achill Island has long provided inspiration for artists, from writers such as Heinrich Boll and Graham Greene to painters including Paul Henry and Robert Henri. This creative tradition continues today with photographers, sculptors, potters and other artists and craftspeople working and teaching in the area. Achill has several art galleries and local craft shops selling fine art, pottery, photographs, prints and traditional handcrafts.
- Achill’s Secret Garden right by the Atlantic coast, hidden in a small bay on Achill Island, you find the most westerly public garden in Ireland. Achill is situated on the Atlantic coast in County Mayo, due west of Dublin. The island has inspired many artists with its natural beauty and spectacular skies reflecting the special daylight that comes with the ocean.
- The Tower at Kildavnet in the south-east corner of Achill Island is a perfect example of a 15th century Irish tower house. The Gaelic Chiefs of the time copied a Norman design and constructed many such tower houses. The tower at Kildavnet is thought to have been constructed by the Clan O’Malley in about 1429, but is associated locally with a descendant of the original builders, Grace O’Malley or Granuaile. This legendary pirate queen is thought to have been born around 1530 and died in about 1603. The Tower at Kildavnet is one of a series of such strongholds that Granuaile established along the western seaboard (she is said to be buried in a similar tower on Clare Island) as she dominated the waters during the 16th century.
- Another historic feature worth a visit in its own right is the ancient church and cemetery at Kildavnet. The church itself is thought to date from at least the 12th century, though subsequent building has made it difficult to date. Some claims put the original construction as early as the 8th century. The adjacent graveyard contains early medieval gravestones alongside more recent (18th century onwards) graves. This cemetery also contains monuments to two of Achill’s greatest tragedies, the Clew Bay Drowning of 1894 and the Kirkintilloch Fire of 1937.
Along with these interesting places are breathtaking scenery and beautiful beaches, Achill is well worth a day out for all the family.
Cong, Co. Mayo 094 9546089
In 1951 John Ford’s greatest movie “The Quiet Man” starring John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara and Barry Fitzgerald was made. It was set in the beautiful west of Ireland with filming being centred in the village of Cong on the Mayo-Galway border.
Quiet Man Cottage Museum is a novel concept which will give the visitor a total Quiet Man experience as if they were actually ‘on-set’. Located by the river at Circular Road, Cong, between actual locations used for the filming, the ground floor of the cottage has been designed as an exact replica of ‘White-o-Mornin’ Cottage.
Painstaking effort has ensured that all the furnishings, artifacts, costumes etc. are authentic reproductions. The four poster bed and the tables and chairs which ‘Mary Kate’ cherished, the thatched roof, emerald green half door and white washed front combine to charm all those who visit it.
“Quiet Man Cottage Museum” is a must for any Quiet Man enthusiasts, or even those wishing to visit a typical Irish cottage of the 1920′s. While there you can experience this unique journey into the past with an audio visual presentation and pick up a few souvenirs
The Museum is open from Easter to October from 10:00am – 4:00pm
Ballycastle, Co. Mayo
The remarkable Neolithic site at Céide Fields in County Mayo, Ireland, contains the oldest known stone-walled fields in the world – dating back nearly 6,000 years. Thousands of years ago, our Stone Age ancestors constructed houses, walls and fields that created an early farming community complete with megalithic tombs. One of these communities was Ceide Fields.
Céide Fields overlooks the mighty Atlantic Ocean which gently laps or vigorously pounds – depending on the weather! – against the cliffs below.
The landscape itself has been forged from the dramatic upheaval and movement of the earth’s crust over millions of years.
The soil at Céide Fields has been constantly subjected to the conflicts of the weather. The warm Gulf Stream comes up past the American continent between Ireland and Iceland. In the opposite direction, cold deep waters flow south from the icy Arctic Ocean.
This combination of factors has resulted in the wild beauty and uniqueness of this region in County Mayo, Ireland.
Ceide Fields had stone-walled fields, a farming community and a countryside of homes scattered throughout the landscape with houses surrounded by garden walls. (Sounds familiar – this could be describing Irish life in more recent years…)
From artifacts found, these ancient farmers used wooden ploughs with a stone cutting edge for field cultivating. These were drawn by cattle (horses had not been introduced into Ireland at this time). A typical single round house, about six metres in diameter, had a single family living there.
The surrounding walls appear to have not been built for defensive purposes – indicating that they lived as a peaceful community.
Visit their website for more information
30th March – End May: Daily 10.00 – 17.00
June – End September: Daily 10.00 – 18.00
1st October – 29th October: Daily 10.00 – 17.00
Last tour 1 hour before closing.
Killasser, Swinford, Co. Mayo 087 2491402
(About 8km from Swinford. Take the N26 Swinford to Ballina Road to the Moy River bridge. Turn off at the sign for the centre then follow the signs to the centre)
The purpose of the Heritage Centre is to preserve and showcase the heritage of life of the Mayo area, from farming, house and home, to jobs and work, to celebration of life. At the heart of the centre is the thatched cottage built in the 1870’s where the Hennigan family lived until 1970. Tom Hennigan was born and grew up in this house.
“In 1990 I realized I no longer had a future in farming ten acres of land,” says Tom. “So I decided to open this small plot of land to the public and tell the story of how my family survived here. I decided to maintain the farm and complex as a way of preserving and showing the rich heritage of Mayo and Ireland it represents.”
The centre is open from March to the end of September from 10:am – 6:00pm
Conducted tours are at 2:00pm each day
Laherdane, Ballina, Co. Mayo
The nearest towns to Lahardane (Lahardaun) are Crossmolina, Ballina, Foxford and Castlebar.
- From Crossmolina go to Mullenmore St and take the R315. The journey is 9km and takes 10 minutes.
- From Ballina take the N59 and at Crossmolina turn left onto Mullemore St and contiune on the R315. The journey is 21km and takes 25 minutes.
- From Foxford take the R315 to Lahardane (Lahardaun). The journey is 17km and takes 20 minutes.
- From Castlebar take the R310 to Pontoon and then the R315 to Lahardaun. The journey is 27km and takes 30 minutes.
Mayo has an immense Titanic heritage. Much of it still only partially told. Who has heard of Iceberg Gallagher from Dooagh on Achill Island, or Patrick Bourke from Carrowskeheen in Addergoole? Both intended to, but did not board Titanic at Queenstown. Paddy Cawley from Cum in Addergoole often said later in his life, but that for a night out celebrating, he would have boarded Titanic at Southampton
In April 1912 fourteen men and women from Addergoole, in North Mayo, set sail from Queenstown, Cork for a new life in America. Within days, eleven had died in the icy waters of the North Atlantic. Their ship, ‘Titanic’, sank on her maiden voyage.
The 11 who perished were; Catherine Bourke, John Bourke, Mary Bourke, Mary Canavan, Pat Canavan, Bridget Donohue, Nora Fleming, James Flynn, Catherine McGowan, Delia Mahon, Mary Mangan
The 3 who survived were; Annie Kate Kelly, Delia McDermott, Annie McGowan.
The Addergoole Titanic Society believes that the loss of these 11 lives represents the largest proportionate loss of life from any locality on RMS Titanic. To put the loss in perspective, in 1911, the year before the Titanic sank the population of the Addergoole was 3,496 people living in 703 houses according to the Irish census . The eleven Addergoole passengers who perished represent 0.3% of that population, or 2% of all the Third Class passengers lost when Titanic sank. This was truly, an extraordinary loss for our small parish.
In 2002 there were beautiful heartbreaking stained glass windows added to the local church, St Patrick’s. The windows are appropriately placed either side of the existing marble memorial plaque, the Emigration window is dedicated to all those who left Addergoole Parish over the years and their families, wherever they might be. The Titanic window, depicting Boat 16 being lowered, is likely to be one of the very few church Titanic themed windows worldwide. It is based on what survivor, Annie Kate Kelly, who became Sister Patrick Joseph, a Dominican Sister in Chicago Illinois USA, remembered. Annie was standing in line waiting to enter Boat 16. A man accompanying two woman was refused entry. One woman said: “I’ll not leave my husband”, and the other “I’ll not leave my brother”. They were Catherine and Mary Bourke from Addergoole. Annie, next in line, was given a place. As the lifeboat was lowered she looked up and saw her cousin, Pat Canavan, and the others including James Flynn. As the window depicts, Pat was holding his rosary beads and waving.
If you get a chance this little village is well worth a visit.
Develeash (road sign L59023), Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo
The Kiltimagh Pet Farm is a fun day out for all the family. They probably have the largest range of exotic animals on any pet farm in Ireland at Kiltimagh Pet Farm! These include wallabies, donkey’s, peacock’s, pot bellied pigs and many more.
The farm is nestled in the heart of the West of Ireland boasting beautiful scenery, friendly people and comfortable surroundings and if that isn’t enough there is also have an adventure playground with climbing frames, swings and lots more.
Open 7 days a week from 10:00am – 6:00pm
Admission: €8 per person