A Walk for the Weekend: Northwest Mayo’s unique views by Michael Guilfoyle for The Irish Times


A land of sea, sky, mountains, lakes, rivers and bogs

The cropped grass cliff-top provided a series of safe vantage points from which to peer down into inlets of churning grey and white ocean.

 There is nowhere like northwest Mayo: a wide land of sea, sky, mountains, lakes, rivers, bogs, islands, cliffs and headlands. It is a coastal landscape scoured and sculpted by glaciers for millennia, and now assailed by the pent-up fury of an ocean released from its ice-grip some 12,000 years ago.

It’s not picture-postcard pretty: no doubt it’s been a hard land for many who have made it home and sought to raise their families there. But for those, like us, who come to walk and “feel” its beautiful landscape, it’s a truly stunning place.

Our day on Benwee Head, the actual “corner” of northwest Mayo, was to be a relaxing interlude after remote Slieve Car in the Nephinbegs the day before, and Nephin Mountain on our way home. That our visit to Slieve Car coincided with a bitter blast of November Arctic air that put ice-shards into any exposed water bottles, made the prospect of a low-level pleasant walk on An Bhinn Bhuí very attractive.

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