From Killala to Belmullet, the North Mayo coastline boasts endless sandy beaches. Ross Beach, the closest to Killala, is a well-maintained Blue Flag beach just five minutes drive/15 minutes cycle from the village with lifeguards, picnic facilities and shower/WC. From Ross beach, you can walk from sandy cove to sandy cove all the way around the tip of the Ross peninsula, until you reach the spectacular Palmerstown River Beach (also known as Ross back beach or CBI). From here you can cut back though the dunes, back to Ross. The next peninsula leads to Lacken beach, another breath-taking beauty spot. All along the coast are hidden strands and secret coves, just waiting to be discovered. A little time is all that’s required to find them…
There are wonderful cliff walks and hill climbs all around North Mayo. Trek through such beauty spots as Port Urlin and Portacloy, or walk a portion of the Western Way. Climb the cliffs and rocky headlands of Belderrig to get a new perspective on the miles of empty unspoilt beauty all around. We have a local tour guide available for guided cliff walks, and he can also take you foraging for cockles, mussels, periwinkles, razor fish, and sea vegetables. Just ask Liz to arrange a trip.
As a traditional fishing port, Killala is ideal for the keen fisherman/woman looking for a few days’ angling. There are two registered boat owners available to take groups out deep-sea angling. With over thirty species in the Bay, a varied catch is guaranteed. If you would like to pre-book a boat and its captain to take you and your group out deep-sea angling, just call Liz and she will organise it for you. Or take a family evening trip out into the Bay, enjoy the sunset and hook a few mackerel for the barbecue. Killala and its environs are also ideal for coarse, river and lake fishing and the River Moy, which runs through Ballina, is world-renowned for salmon fishing (check out North West Fisheries for more information).
Killala is an ideal base for golfers, with Enniscrone Golf Links offering spectacular scenery and world class holes. Likewise, Carne Golf Links at Belmullet (voted one of the top five Irish Links by Golfworld Ireland in 2002) boasts vast dunes and scenic views of Blacksod Bay. Ballina Golf Course is an inviting 18-hole parkland course ten minutes’ drive away, and Strandhill and Westport golf clubs are both within an hour’s drive.
Surfing and Watersports
The north coast of Mayo boasts Ireland’s most exciting surfing beaches. Kilcummin Harbour (where General Humbert landed in 1798) is known as a “long left big wave reef break on a large boulder rocky shoreline near a headland with strong currents/rips”. Lacken Bay, just around the headland, is another famous spot for surfers.
The local horse riding school is just up the road, and the vast sandy beaches of Ross make for a spectacular riding arena.
On the doorstep:Arch Restaurant
Recently opened and a very welcome addition to Killala’s gastronomic experience, the Arch Restaurant offers inspired Irish/French cuisine created from locally-sourced ingredients. Try the crab and leek tartlet, or mussels in Guinness sauce.
The Village Inn
Serves food until 8pm in the summer season. Excellent traditional cooking for hungry families.
On The Pier
Only a takeaway, but it deserves a mention. The best fish and chips you will ever eat, anywhere in the world and it’s available on Killala pier! The fish comes straight from the sea!
Fifteen minutes drive away
Ballina offers a selection of restaurants, hotels and pubs â€” including Jordan’s (you catch it, we’ll cook it); the Everest, run by Nepalese guys who really know how to work a kitchen; and the Ice House, recently voted 65th in the Conde Nast Worldwide choice of hotels. Belleek Castle is a stately home with a great restaurant (try the taster menu); and Mount Falcon is another ancient pad made good.
Traditional music, with well-known musicians, is on offer at most of the pubs in Killala at the weekends and often on week nights too.
For the children
Killala has a brand-new children’s playground with state-of-the-art swings and frames.Across the bay:
Ballina Cineplex has six screens (ring 0818 221 122 for programme times).
Ballina Swimming Pool has great junior splash sessions, with giant floating bouncy castles. (096 70506).
Tumble Jungle indoor play area, Ballina, has bouncy castles and ball pits, and a great cafe where parents can wait and watch the fun. (096 76637).
A scenic half hour way
Waterpoint indoor water park/ health suite in Enniscrone has a wonderful water slide, jacuzzi, steam rooms and saunas.
Kilcullen’s Seaweed Baths in Enniscrone is the perfect place to relax by yourself or with your partner, in vast old-fashioned baths of steaming hot water filled with seaweed â€” followed by an ice cold shower, if you
dare! (096 36238).