Discover Us on Discover Ireland

Delighted to see our ‘Wild Mayo in May’ three days walking event up on Discover Ireland.

Go on www.discoverireland.ie/west

Then “What’s on” and ‘view all’.

At the moment, we’re down on page 7, but that moves up as the event comes closer. I’ll be very interested to see what their huge engine is able to bring to the table. On the one hand, we have our own direct marketing tricks, via e-mails and databases and all that crack. On the other, we now have the national tourism board in all its grandeur and reach. Should be interesting to see which distribution channel brings in the walkers….

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Shocking Research from Britain

Interesting stuff here. Travelodge, the well known British budget hotel chain, has carried out some research into British people’s attitude towards and knowledge of their countryside.

Some mind boggling results included :

53% thought there was nothing to do or see in Britain’s countryside.

10% could not identify a sheep.

83% could not identify a bluebell.

32% could not identify a pheasant.

The above from Travelmole.

I guess there is really no reason to believe the Irish would fare any better. Or is there ?

Wild Mayo in May

Friday May 15 thru Sunday May 17 :

Join us on three wonderful days walking in Wild Mayo in Ireland’s West.

Forest track, Sheskin, Mayo

Forest track, Sheskin, Mayo

Friday – A five hour hike through the largest area of land in Ireland with no through road. Discover the vast bogs and enormous conifer plantations of Sheskin, Central Mayo. Try your hand at some red deer tracking, maybe spot some elusive otters or red grouse, stand in total silence and take in the sheer scale of the place.

 

 

Wild weather, Iniskea Islands, Mayo

Wild weather, Iniskea Islands, Mayo

Saturday – Take the boat out to the South Iniskea Island off the west coast of Mayo and Europe and stroll around for the day, taking in the wildlife and seascapes of this beautiful island. Observe the varied marine bird species of this uninhabited spot. Wander around the deserted houses long since abandoned.

 

 

The Mullet Peninsula, Mayo - a great place for walking

The Mullet Peninsula, Mayo - a great place for walking

Sunday – Some nice relaxing walks around the Mullet peninsula, west of Belmullet town, Coastal Mayo, including on the beaches looking west over the wild Atlantic.

Stay two nights in an environmentally friendly bed and breakfast out on the Mullet, heated by geothermal renewable energy and solar panels.

 

This long weekend will bring you back to a place of peace in these turbulent times.

You will need some stamina for the long walks, a genuine sense of adventure and deep love of the outdoors. Bring good hiking boots and layers of clothing for the ever changing weather of Ireland’s West coast. Enjoy. It’ll be great.

Price : Euro 285 per person. Accommodation is in twin bedrooms. Price includes all accommodation, breakfast and full dinner, packed lunches on each day, transport to and from Castlebar, boat to and from islands, full guiding throughout. You just get yourself to Castlebar by 10.00 on Friday, May 15th.

Places are strictly limited to first 11 only.

Call or contact me for further details.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

I am thrilled to see there are more and more reports of the wonderful Great Spotted Woodpecker in Ireland. In the last week, there have been sightings in Counties Wicklow (8), Dublin (2) and Down (1). Even last summer, there was a reported sighting as far west as Mayo.

I have been lucky enough to see this fabulous bird over the last number of years in far Eastern Poland, on the walking and nature watching trips I lead over there from Ireland. I’d love to get to see one over here.

We were all brought up watching Woody Woodpecker, but to see and hear the little guy actually doing his drumming ‘live’ is just brilliant.

See this article from The Examiner late last year.

See photos from this week from Tinahely, Co. Wicklow, copywrite Dick Coombes, here.

Mayo’s Highest Points

I once stood in the then Bord Fáilte office in Paris and read a letter (that’s how long ago it was), which was enquiring as to the very best spots in Ireland for skiing !

Often, in continental Europe (and perhaps beyond) people think that our country is much more mountainous than is the case. So in a land where the highest point is a mere 1,038 m and, if my memory serves me right, none of the top 20 peaks is in Connacht, here are the top heights in Mayo :

Mweelrea – 814 m

Nephin – 806 m

Croagh Patrick – 764 m

Barrclashcame (Sheeffries) – 762 m

Slieve Carr – 721 m

Corrannabinnia (Nephin Begs) – 711 m

These are our only peaks over 700 m. So far, I’ve only done five of them. Before too long, I hope to attack the last.

Ah, Sheskin

It had been 3 or 4 years since the last time I had wandered all the way up to Sheskin in north Mayo. So the other day, having an appointment in Béal an Mhuirthead later on, I decided to spend some hours up there.

Sheskin forms part of the complex locked between Crossmolina, Béal an Mhuirthead, Belderg and Ballycastle. At around 500 km2, it is the largest area of Ireland without a single through road. Hugely planted with coniferous forest by Coillte, nevertheless the area has its attraction. Dubbed Ireland’s “Big Sky Country”, because of the vast bogs, whoever coined the term had clearly never stood inside one of these enormous plantations.

Red Grouse

Red Grouse

It rained a  soft rain on me throughout my 4 hour walk. But then, that’s normal. I was delighted to come across two Red Grouse, a load of Red Deer tracks, what might have been an Owl (I can’t confirm because it flew away from me through the trees and I have little to go on, other than its size), so much Frog spawn that it protrudes well above the water line in many places and two wonderful Grey Wagtail doing their thing over one of the many little rivers that flow through the place.

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

The Grey Wagtail, with its splendid bright yellow breast and underparts, sits on a rock or wire above the stream, or indeed on a rock in it. It feeds on insects and, when on the rock, sort of jumps up at the insect from below. Strange for a bird really.

I took these images from the UK’s RSPB website.

Anyway, thrilled with my Grey Wagtails, I got back into my car and, day dreaming, drove her off the narrow track into the ditch. It took me 40 minutes to get her out and I arrived for my appointment just a tad dirty.

Belmullet, The Mullet, Erris, Mayo

The Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo.

The Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo.

I am organising a meeting next Monday evening, March 16th, in the Belmullet area, to discuss sustainable tourism, etc.

If you are interested, please get in contact with me, by leaving a comment here, or by e-mailing me on info at tourismpure dot com.