Established in the 13th century as a castle for the de Barry family, Castlebar now serves as the seat of County Mayo in Ireland’s north-west. It was here that the Irish National Land League was founded in 1879, aiming to help poor tenant farmers work their own land.
Things to do in Castlebar
Live music concerts, theatrical plays and dance performances are showcased at the Linenhall Arts Centre, which is the oldest arts centre in County Mayo. In the Linenhall Gallery, you’ll find contemporary exhibitions by local and internationally renowned artists. Workshops also regularly take place here. Families should coincide their visit with RoolaBoola, one of Ireland’s most celebrated children’s arts festivals.
Want to stretch your legs? Follow the picturesque Castlebar Greenway along the banks of the Castlebar River to Lough Lannagh. Taking in riverside fields and quiet country roads, it continues to a scenic woodland near Islandeady. While most of the trail is flat and easily negotiated by bicycle, there is one small hill to ascend.
A short drive from Castlebar will take you to the village of Turlough and the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life. It illustrates the lifestyle of Ireland’s rural communities between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries within the beautiful grounds of Turlough Park House. Learn about the legacy of Michael Davitt, the founder of the Irish National Land League, and get up close to the Bronze Age Coggalbeg hoard, then stroll through the terraced gardens overlooking the Castlebar River.
Getting around Castlebar
Castlebar is just over an hour’s drive from Galway and 30 minutes from Ireland West Airport Knock, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Regular trains connect from Dublin to the Castlebar railway station and buses travel throughout the city. The centre of Castlebar can easily be explored on foot.