The famous Knock Shrine is Ireland’s national Marian Shrine
and pilgrimage center. Considered the Lourdes or Fatima of Ireland,
Knock came to the world's attention in 1979, when Pope John Paul
II visited the shrine. It is believed that out here, in 1879, local
townspeople witnessed an appearance of Virgin Mary, the mother of
Jesus. Knock's centerpiece is a huge circular basilica seating 7,000
people and containing artifacts or furnishings from every county
in Ireland. The grounds also hold a folk museum and a religious
bookshop. It is open-daily from 10am to 6pm.
Ceide Fields Visitor Center and Site
The Ceide Fields Visitors' Center enthralls visitors with the amazing
geology, archaeology, botany, and wildlife of North Mayo with the
aid of an audio-visual presentation and exhibitions.
Opened on 28 May 1993 by the Office of Public Works, the Center
is artistically engineered with limestone and peat-clad pyramid-shaped
building with a glazed lantern apex. It contain 1,500 hectare archaeological
site of stone walls, field systems, enclosures and tombs, dating
from about 5,000 years ago, which have been preserved beneath the
bog. It is the most extensive Stone Age site in the world.
The wild flora of the bog is of international importance and is
bounded by some of the most spectacular rock formations and cliffs
Mayo North Heritage Center
This center helps you trace your family tree, if you happen to be
from Mayo. The data bank includes indexes to church registers of
all denominations, plus school roll books, leases, and wills. If
your ancestors were from the southern part of Ireland, try the South
Mayo Family Research Centre, Town Hall, Neale Road, Ballinrobe,
County Mayo (tel. 092/41214). It's open Monday to Friday 9:30am
to noon and 1:30 to 4pm.
In addition to the amazing data bank, enjoy the adjacent museum,
with its displays of rural household items, farm machinery, and
farm implements, including the gowl-gob, a spadelike implement exclusive
to this locality. The center also offers a new 5- to 10-day blacksmithing
course. The lovely Enniscoe Gardens adjoin the center; combined
tickets to the center and gardens are available. There is also a
tearoom on the premises.
Often referred as Ireland's Holy Mountain, Croagh Patrick is one
of the most striking features on the Irish landscape. Locally named
as 'the Reek', it an isolated quartzite cone-shaped peak, rising
to 762 metres on the southern shore of Clew Bay, 8km west of Westport.
It issaid to have been believed that the national apostle, St. Patrick,
was said to have spent forty days and nights on the summit of Croagh
Patrick, fasting and praying for the people of Ireland around the
middle of the fifth century.
Ever since then, it has become a national pilgrimage and people
visit the center during Christmas times. Thousands of devout pilgrims,
many barefoot, climb the mountain in the footsteps of St Patrick,
where they undertake the traditional stations and attend Mass in
the oratory erected at the summit in 1905. The climb traditionally
takes place at night with the inspiring sight of lights moving upwards
along the pilgrims' path.
Lough Key Forest Park
The beautiful Lough Key Forest Park comprises some 350 hectares
of mixed woodland, a lake, and a number of islands, making it one
of the most widespread and charming Forest Parks in Ireland.
The Park's has a breathtaking backdrop Caravan and Camping Park,
nature walks, a bog garden, observation tower, ice house, wishing
chair and underground tunnels. The lake, Lough Key, one of the most
beautiful lakes in Ireland, is navigable from the Shannon via the
Boyle River, and the jetty at Lough Key harbours Pleasure Cruisers
from that great river. Boats are available for hire within the Park.
Guided tours are available for groups by arrangement.