Village stories

Extracts from reviews on Trip Advisor:

“Ballina about 15 minutes drive is a lovely town with plenty of shopping and some good restaurants, both Brennans Restaurants the The Market Kitchen are highly recommended. There is plenty to do in the area – The Museum of Country Life in Castlebar as recommended by Liz was fantastic and suited to children, my 4 year load still talks of it” EMBea, Dublin

“Now I know quiet little Killala would not be on everyone’s list of places they must see – but it should be. North Mayo is a secret gem and the Old Deanery Holiday Cottages are the perfect location to begin your exploration” Pilgrim1110, Mass, US

“The location is great, it’s a small village with a few proper pubs and 1 supermarket” Nes1984

“Liz & Tony are extremely warm & welcoming , and nothing is too much trouble for them, whether it is organising sightseeing trips to the neolithic sites in the area, fishing trips, even an Easter egg hunt for the little ones on Easter Sunday” IndiaahLondon, UK

For more reviews, see



The Arch Restaurant


Killala has never had a restaurant before, so Breege Donnelly’s son Shane has decided to fill the gap — with the help of Paul, previously of the much-respected Brennan’s Lane restaurant. The airy, light-filled upstairs dining room, with pale stone walls, sits fifty. Renovation work uncovered the old, original Arch, which no-one in the town ever remembers seeing before. Produce is locally-sourced and given an exotic twist — the crab and leek tartlet, and Mayo mussels in Guinness sauce are two perfect examples. The lamb and beef are grass-fed, and the fish are fresh from the Atlantic. And on Wednesdays, there will be authentic Chinese cuisine with our favourite guest chef, the wonderful Siu. In the winter, the Arch will host cookery courses in associaition with the Old Deanery.

The Village Inn

Marie and Aidan are proprietors of the Village Inn, right in the centre of Killala. They offer tasty, wholesome food all day in high season, and a reduced menu for the rest of the year. The Village Inn is a great pub for watching sports, and you can often find rugby, gaelic football or soccer on one TV at the front of the bar, and horse-racing in the alcove at the back. As you can imagine, rivalries exist and some good-natured exchanges take place from time to time!

Welcome back to the…. Wolf Dog Tavern

The Wolf Dog Tavern

Well, it was the Golden Acres, until it burnt down and became a tiny one room shebeen (which everyone loved) for the last year. Now the whole premises has re-opened, with all-new furnishings. Only the name has got older. The Wolf Dog was the name of the ancient Killala tavern when the French army turned up in Killala in 1798. Back then, the Wolf Dog was a great meeting place for the United Irish movement. Today, the world is still being put to rights here, over a few beers — just as it needs to be.

Fish’n’chips on the pier

fish and chips

Back as far as 1979, Peter West was a regular visitor to Killala and north Mayo, fishing the Moy for salmon, enjoying the beautiful scenery and relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. Seven years ago, he decided to make the move and settle in north Mayo. ‘Killala’, he says, ‘is the type of place that stays in your brain.’ Having grown up in ‘the biggest fish’n’chip shop in Kent’, he knew his way around a bag of spuds, and he realised if he wanted something as good as back home, he’d have to do it himself! Peter sticks to methods learned at his father’s shoulder, which include cooking only in beef dripping for a deep, rich flavour, and he is determined to serve simple, fresh food, cooked properly and at an affordable price.

Peter will serve you the best fresh fish, tasty chips, chicken and sausages from his fish’n’chip van from 4pm to 8pm, Wednesday to Sunday. During the summer, Peter is open 7 days a week, from 12.30 to late. Call down and try some of Peter’s fish’n’chips (with a shake of salt or soaked in vinegar — however you like). You’ll be glad you did!

Tower Cleaners & Launderette

tower clener

On a cold November day in 1977, Phelim and Madeline Scanlon opened their dry cleaners in Killala, excited but nervous about whether they’d still be in business a year on. 33 years later, that doesn’t seem like such a worry any more!
Phelim, a native of Doohoma, was working in a drycleaners in Ballina when he met Madeline from Killala. He had years of experience in the dry cleaning business, having worked for a nationwide chain in Dublin before moving back to Mayo. Unsure whether Killala would be big enough to support his business, Phely took some advice from an old hand in the trade, who said that if he kept it local, and looked after his customers well, then things would be grand.
Having raised a family of five through the shop, and with one of his sons, Colin, now working with himself and Madeline, Phely is glad he did just that. Tower cleaners is open for washing/drying and dry cleaning, Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm, and Phely is happy to offer a 10% discount to all Old Deanery visitors.

Convenient Killala

Fancy a fresh pizza at any time of day or night (well, up to 9.30pm at night!), ready in two minutes? It comes with any toppings you desire (and yes, Bernie, I checked — Maria says she will do you one with black olives and anchovies). Or do you dream of a full Irish breakfast, with brown soda bread, delivered piping hot to the door of your cottage first thing in the morning? Then pop into Maria and Brian Campbell’s supermarket, a Centra right in the heart of Killala. They have an off-licence that is open until ten, so grab a fresh-baked pizza, pick up a nice bottle of wine and order your breakfast delivery now — continental or the full Irish! It’s like you’re living in a hotel! In fact, according to Maria: “The Old Deanery is like the local hotel in Kilala, and we provide the kitchen!”
Hot tip: Maria’s freshly ground Bewley’s coffee is to die for. Grab a cup after your long drive.

LUCY B’S Hair salon

Ireland may be caught in the grips of a recession, but Shona McHale is glad she opened her hairdressing business, Lucy B’s, when she did three years ago. Having moved away several times, once to Galway for several years, where she trained at the well known Connaught College of Hairdressing, while working at Healy’s of High Street, and once to London to sample the bright lights, Shone now admits that she’s a home bird and loves living and working back in her home place. “I love living in Killala,” she admits. “I’ve tried to leave but had to come back — it’s a great place to be!”
Lucy B’s has been open for 3 years last November, and Shona offers a comprehensive service in cutting and colouring, while colour is her speciality. The shop is open from 11am to 5pm on Tuesdays, 10am to 8pm Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and 9am to 6.30pm on Saturdays. Shona is happy to open outside business hours for special appointments (tel. 096 33000) and is offering a free conditioning treatment with every cut to Old Deanery visitors.

Lavelle’s Pharmacy

Damien Lavelle is delighted to be in his new premises since December 17th on Church Street, where he and his staff are now able to offer a fantastic range of products and services, as well as extended opening hours. They are now open 6 days per week, closed on Sundays, and are happy to offer advice as well as a wide range of pharmaceutical products, beauty items, gift items, perfumes and body care products.

Killala AFC

McDonnells Killala Motors

Killala Motors was opened in 1971 by Peter McDonnell as a petrol station, and offering motor repairs. When he retired in 1997, he passed the business to his two sons, Peter and Kevin, who expanded over the last few years to now include an ‘XL’ convenience store, offering groceries, newspapers as well as a wine stand, award-winning deli counter (Deli of the year BWG/XL stores 2010 and again in 2011) with fresh baked goods daily, and a selection of DVDs for rental. Both of their families are involved in the business as they help out during school holidays, weekend shifts etc.

The garage offers repairs & servicing to all vehicles, diagnostic reporting, tyre care centre and valet service.

McDonnells now also run a gun store and angling supply shop upstairs, where it’s possible to pick everything you need for a day’s rock or beach casting. Boat angling supplies are also available, as is advice about location and equipment from Peter or Kevin, both of whom have years of local knowledge.
Shooting supplies — ammunition and guns — are also available from the registered Firearms Dealer section, as is advice on shooting and clay pigeon shooting.
The XL store is open 7am to 11pm, Monday to Friday, and from 8am to 11pm Saturday and Sunday, so whether you need petrol, a puncture fixed, or an early morning coffee and croissant to enjoy with the morning paper, McDonnells XL store and Killala Motors can sort you out!

Peter is also involved in Killala AFC, the local soccer club, so if you are interested in hourly hire of the astro turf, he is delighted to offer a special discounted rate to all Old Deanery visitors.

Visitors to the Old Deanery can also avail of a special discount on rod hire, as well as DVD rental discount, on production of ID.