The Irish Times – Go Magazine

I’m delighted to have our upcoming three day walk in north Mayo featured in today’s Go Magazine. Many thanks to Francis Bradley.

For information and to book your place on this delightful three-day outdoor event, exploring Mayo’s bogs, forests and offshore islands, call me on 094-9027797, 086-8318748 or email info [at] tourismpure [dot] com.

Look at the tour on Discover Ireland here.


The Trees, The Flowers, The Birds

Of course, what’s really great about this time of the year is how the trees have mostly come into leaf and the lovely wild flowers are covering the ground all around. Meanwhile, the migratory birds are returning.

Interestingly, I was part of a group walking around some trees in Castlebar just this week (as you do), where, among others, the Sycamore was in full leaf. Meanwhile, just one day earlier, no more than 40 km away, I visited some Sycamores as yet without leaf.

Yesterday, I was up at the new Arrowrock Hostel, on the beautiful eastern shore of Lough Arrow, Co. Sligo, where the bluebells cover the ground under their mature Scots Pines.

Sycamore and Primrose, north Mayo

Sycamore and Primrose, north Mayo

On Monday, I was up in Sheskin Forest, where the primrose lords over the hedgerows and damp grassy knolls.

 I love the way my house has a wild hedge on one side of the garden. It gives us wild primrose and dog violets, among others.



Punctually challenged Ash

Punctually challenged Ash

Meanwhile, my Ash trees stubbornly refuse to partake in the whole re-awakening thing …

This photo shows the characteristic black buds in the foreground, with another Ash in the background and Hawthorn plus Ivy in the middle. The Hawthorn is just about to blossom. Admittedly, the black buds of the Ash are beginning to budge at this stage.



The neighbour’s Crab Apple is in full bloom too. It reminds me that each year I ‘allow’ the kids to try the fruit. They’re still too young to remember the experience by the time the next year’s crop comes around.

The swallows are well back by now, as are the House Martins and Cuckoos. The House Martins have been seen in south Mayo for over two weeks, but there’s still no sign of ours. It’s lashing rain outside and the weather is promised bad for the weekend. That’s not good, because I need to paint the outside wall of the house, where our Martins have their nest, before they return. I don’t want to disturb them once they’ve arrived.

More Walking Dates Added

We’ve had a good reaction to our first walking tour in Mayo for 2009, so I’m adding the following dates. Don’t forget that the first tour, Wild Mayo in May, is from May 15 thru May 17.

Subsequent dates for the Sheskin, Iniskea and Mullet three-day walking tour are :

June 19 thru 21.

July 17 thru 19.

August 14 thru 16.

Stay posted, because I’ll soon be adding multi-day walking tours of other wonderful, less travelled routes in the West of Ireland, to include the Ox Mountains, The Suck Valley Way and South Mayo.

I’m telling you straight – if you love walking off the beaten track (you know we’re not talking about Kerry or Clifden here !), then come with us. We’ll show you an altogether slower pace of life.

Short Walk on Ox Mountains

I had some time to spare yesterday, so I took an admittedly short, but nonetheless very pleasant stroll up the Ox Mountains behind Coolaney.

I must incorporate some parts of the Ox into a future walk, because what you have here is lovely heather covered rolling hills, to around 400 m, with wonderful views out over Sligo Bay to the north and the plains of Mayo to the south.

Not only that, but in the area between the N17 to the east, the N5 to the south and Ballina town to the west, you really have unspoiled land, with quaint little villages that no main road goes through, which would remind you of your youth in the ’60s and ’70s.

And yesterday was just gorgeous, with clear blue skies and temperatures of 18 C. Bliss.

Ecotourism Escape on ecoescape dot org

I’m delighted to now be featured on, the UK-based responsible tourism website, run by Laura Burgess. Ecoescape features environmentally conscious providers (mostly accommodation) in both the UK and Ireland.

Check out, browse around the various pages and then find me and my walking tours in the Ireland West page. Sure, while you’re at it, you just might like to book yourself and your group to come to Mayo for a while!

What I’m also looking forward to is when Laura further expands her ‘ecoescape tours’ section to include site and date specific walking tours of mine.