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Aran Inspired

Church Island

 Church Island, also known as Shrine Island, is located in the northwest portion of Lough Carra. According to local folklore, it was initially used as a burial place for kings. Archeological data indicates that human life existed here as long ago as 3000 B.C.

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Achill Island

The largest island off the coast of Ireland, Achill Island in County Mayo is linked to the mainland by a swing-bridge and is easily accessed. It is considered one of Ireland’s beauty spots, with a total of five blue flag (awarded by the EU for cleanliness and safety) beaches. At the western tip of the island lies Keem Bay – a beautiful, secluded valley located at the western tip of Achill Island, where one of these beaches can be found.

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Croagh Patrick

Ireland, the mountain's slopes offer a magnificent view of Clew Bay and beyond. Croagh Patrick’s history as a place of worship reaches back in time as far as 3,000 BC. The mountain’s popularity among religious pilgrims dates to the time of St. Patrick, who is said to have completed a forty-day Lenten ritual of fasting and penance here. Legend also has it that Croagh Patrick is the mount from which he banished snakes from Ireland forever!

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Knock Marian Shrine

More than one million pilgrims visit the world famous Marian shrine at Knock each year. A peaceful place of prayer and meditation, it has been the site of many miracle claims since 1879, when a group of fifteen local residents – children, teenagers and adults – told of apparitions of Mary, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist. On August 21, 1879, a rainy Thursday night, the witnesses observed a bright flash of light, inside which they saw the three figures standing near an altar with a cross, a lamb and a group of angels.

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County Mayo Beaches

Residents and visitors to County Mayo enjoy the beauty of 13 beautiful Blue Flag Beaches. This designation means that the beaches meet extremely high standards for water quality, cleanliness, on site facilities, lifeguards and more. These standards reach far beyond the basic bathing standards set by the EU. Keep in mind that Blue Flag designation is reserved for bathing beaches only. This means that other beaches, which you may want to visit to observe wildlife or are not suitable geographically for swimming, are not unclean because they are not designated as Blue Flag. Thirteen of County Mayo’s beaches are Blue Flag designated, the fourteenth — Carrowniskey Beach, is used almost exclusively for surfing.

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The Ballintubber Abbey Experience

 Ballintubber Abbey is located along the Tochar Phadraig (St. Patrick’s causeway) a pilgrim path dating back to ancient times. Originally, the path functioned as a chariot road traveled by the Kings and Queens of Connaught. It became known as the path of St. Patrick after he used it to ascend to Croagh Patrick, or the Saint’s Holy Mountain, where he was known to go to fast and pray. In the 15th century, after religious pilgrimages to the Holy Land in Jerusalem ceased, the path of St Patrick became a popular route for Christian pilgrims. In fact, the abbey at Ballintubber was built complete with a hostel for travelers that included a bath facility.

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Church Island

 Church Island, also known as Shrine Island, is located in the northwest portion of Lough Carra. According to local folklore, it was initially used as a burial place for kings. Archeological data indicates that human life existed here as long ago as 3000 B.C.

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Westport

Westport is an appealing Georgian style town, arranged in wide, tree lined avenues by the architect James Wyatt in the 1770’s on behalf of the Browne family, who settled in County Mayo from Sussex. Established in conjunction with the estate at Westport House, the town began as a trading centre for slate, yarn and cloth, and beer, but failed to follow the trend to industrialization in the mid 1800s. Its population went into serious decline during the Famine years. In the 1950s, the visitor trade and new industry breathed new life into the town, where attractive Malls sit along the Carrowbeg River.

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Westport House

 This limestone mansion stands at the head of Clew Bay, on the estuary of the Carrowbeg River. It offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, Clare Island, and Croagh Patrick, the Holy Mountain. Begun in 1730 but not completed until 1778, this limestone structure sits on the site of a former castle of Grace O’Malley, the legendary Pirate Queen. There is also a connection through marriage between the Browne family, owners of the estate, and Grace O’Malley herself. John Browne, the first Lord of Altamonte, built the mansion and married Maude Burke, Grace O’Malley’s great granddaughter.

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Clare Island

Clare Island sits at the mouth of Clew Bay, which is dotted with small islands –365 of them. Clare is the largest, and home to about 150 people who enjoy beautiful views of Connemara and Achill Island across the bay. The pirate queen, Granuaile, also known as Grace O’Malley, is buried here in a Cistercian Abbey that dates back to the 12th century. One of her 15th century towers still stands in the harbor. The Clare Island of today represents a haven for those looking for peaceful, untouched beaches and landscape. It can be reached by ferry from Roonagh Pier, near Louisburgh.

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