Memorable Wildlife Encounters in Mayo

Memorable Wildlife Encounters in Mayo

I get outdoors frequently, although not as often as I’d like. Along the way, I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some memorable wildlife encounters. Here are just some from Mayo, in alphabetical order of the beauties I’ve met, rather than any kind of hierarchical chart....
Kingfisher at Killala

Kingfisher at Killala

The flash of electric blue was unmistakable. I had just seen my first Irish Kingfisher. Although barely 16cm long (similar to House Sparrow; smaller than Blackbird or Thrush), the Kingfisher cannot be confused with any other Irish bird. The Kingfisher image, above, is...
From Castlereagh to Rathfran, a Golden 5K

From Castlereagh to Rathfran, a Golden 5K

OK, so “Golden 5k” doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue like the catchy “Golden Mile”. But that’s the distance by road from Castlereagh to Rathfran; from the site of a once ‘big house’ to the ruined former Dominican Friary, near Killala in north County...
Blanemore Archaeological Trail near Moygownagh

Blanemore Archaeological Trail near Moygownagh

It was purely by accident that I found myself walking the Blanemore Archaeological Trail, near Moygownagh, at the weekend. As you’ll know by now, I’m not very interested in walking Coillte forest tracks, dodging the timber trucks and being surrounded by walls of...
Killeenbrenan Friary near Shrule

Killeenbrenan Friary near Shrule

Killeenbrenan Friary, a house of the Franciscan Third Order Regulars near Shrule, is also known as Kill Abbey, Kille Abbey, Killeenbrenan Abbey of the Virgin Mary and Morgagagh Abbey. Probably built during the 1420s, not a lot of this friary remains intact at anything...
Walking the Doona Beaches near Ballycroy

Walking the Doona Beaches near Ballycroy

Making the most of this bizarrely mild December weather, I decided to go walking the Doona beaches near Ballycroy. Taking a left turn off the N59 just south of Ballycroy, I headed first for the long-ruined Fahy Church, out by the sea, where I parked the car. This...