Displaying items by tag: mayo

Ireland’s Clew Bay is home to many islands, but definitely not the 365 that often gets quoted. These are drumlin islands, an extension of the ‘drumlin belt’ that stretches from County Down on the east coast of Ireland all the way to County Mayo here on the west.

Drumlins are small, rounded hills formed as ice moved across the landscape, and here in Clew Bay became surrounded by the waters of the Atlantic as sea levels rose following the end of the last ice age some 12,000 years ago.

Among the many, remember there aren’t 365 islands in Clew Bay, are a few inhabited islands but the majority are uninhabited.

One of these islands, Dorinish, has a uniquely interesting story. In the 1871 census there were 15 people recorded as living on the two islands connected by a low bar of sand and gravel and measuring 19 acres, but that number dropped to zero by 1901. That remained the case until the late 1960s and early 1970s.

What makes Dorinish Island so interesting? Beatle John Lennon bought the island in 1967 with the intention of living his later years watching the Atlantic sunsets and the mists rolling over nearby Croagh Patrick from where the images in this article are taken.

He even took his Sergeant Pepper’s gypsy caravan out to Dorinish.

Outline of Dorinish or Beatle Island, once owned by John Lennon
Outline of Dorinish or Beatle Island, once owned by John Lennon

Lennon leased the land to Sid Rawle who intended to set up a permanent hippie commune on the island. This only lasted two years, the 30 or so inhabitants living in tents on the windswept island, a fire destroyed supplies and tents and in 1972 the commune on Dorinish disbanded.

Despite only returning once more to Dorinish, Lennon still planned to retire there with Yoko Ono, the plan was not realised due to his untimely death in 1980.

Yoko Ono sold Dorinish in 1984.

Clew Bay as seen from Croagh Patrick
Clew Bay as seen from Croagh Patrick

So the next time you’re in Westport, out on Clew Bay or climbing Croagh Patrick, have a look out for Dorinish, or Beatle Island.


Published in Guide

I wrote a few years ago about one of Ireland's most famous mariners, Admiral Brown, who was born in Foxford, County Mayo in 1777; pictured above is the statue in Dublin rather than Foxford.

It has been almost 10 years since my last visit to Foxford, another journey to this scenic part of Ireland is overdue.

Over many years, William Brown distinguished himself as a mariner and eventually rose to the rank of Admiral, having founding the Argentinian navy during its independence campaign from Spain in the early 19th century.

He is regarded as a national hero with almost every town in Argentina having a street named for Almirante Guillermo Brown as he was known in the country.

In recent years of course the interest in Argentine-Irish connections has received a boost, particularly with the current World Cup 2022 featuring Irish-Argentinian Alexis MacAllister.

Published in Miscellaneous
Sunday, 31 July 2022 21:54

Sunlight in the Valley, Ireland

The west of Ireland is one of Panoramic Ireland's favourite places to photograph, often the coast is preferred but sometimes, in cloudy conditions, the valleys of the ancient mountains are more scenic.

Here, in County Mayo, sunshine moves through the valley from the steep, rocky sides to the lakey valley floor.

Join me, Panoramic Ireland, to photograph in the west of Ireland.

Published in Photo Tours
Sunday, 17 May 2020 00:16

Admiral Brown of Foxford and Argentina

It isn't well known but the founder of Argentina's navy was an Irishman, and not a descendent of Irish immigrants to the South American country but he left Foxford in rural County Mayo in Ireland's west when he was just nine years old in 1786.

After many years at sea on the US Atlantic coast, he worked up to the rank of captain before being press-ganged by the British Royal Navy. The Royal Navy were engaged in attempts to block the USA from trading with France with whom the British were at war.

Published in Guide

Out on Ireland's Atlantic Coast, in one of the most remote places in the country, sits Blacksod Lighthouse.

A new documentary by Ireland's national broadcaster RTE tells the story of Maureen Sweeney, who on her 21st birthday, was taking weather readings at this remote outpost and relaying those through Ballina and Dublin to the Allies in Doncaster where Group Captain Stagg was interpreting the weather charts and information provided by various stations including those from Blacksod and advising General Eisenhower of the best time to launch the D-Day landings in June 1944.

Published in Guide
Sunday, 18 September 2016 23:29

Mayo vs Dublin in All-Ireland Final 2016

Today saw the western county of Mayo take on the country's capital, Dublin, in 2016's All-Ireland gaelic football final at Dublin's Croke Park.

Published in Guide
Tagged under
Thursday, 29 November 2001 23:35

Dun Briste or The Broken Fort

The sea stack of Dun Briste on County Mayo's north coast is one of the most spectacular scenes on a spectacular coastline stretching over 2,500km along Ireland's Atlantic seaboard.

Dun Briste or Dún Briste meaning Broken Fort in Irish refers to this small but impressive vertical island on the edge of the Atlantic. In this image, layers of rocks on the stacks exposed sides hint at a sedimentary geological origin.

Published in Guide
Friday, 30 November 2001 00:00

Snow in the Mountains of the west of Ireland

The West of Ireland - Irish Stream and Mountains

Snow in the mountains above a stream in Co. Mayo, west of Ireland

The winter in Ireland is generally mild, the weather systems coming in off the Atlantic usually bring changeable, warm conditions. On occasions and in recent years there have been prolonged cold spells with snow turning to ice and lasting for weeks at a time and roads looking like in this picture.

But usually snow will only last for a few days at most outside of the mountains. Here in the west of Ireland, Co. Mayo in this case, there were conditions bringing in 160km/h winds and driven rain yet inland in Co. Mayo's mountains it was relatively calm and precipitation was falling as snow.

Published in Photo Tours
Sunday, 29 November -0001 23:34

Aasleagh Falls on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way

Aasleagh Falls in Co. Mayo

The best thing about spending time in the west of Ireland is being so close to some of the best landscapes in the world.  Either side of running a few photo tours in Northern Ireland and Dublin I took a few days to get back to one of my favourite parts of Ireland - Galway and Mayo. I ended up extending this with a trip to Sligo. These are three fine, scenic counties.

Have you been to the Aasleagh Falls or Leenane?

Published in Guide
Tagged under
Friday, 30 November 2001 00:00

Workshop in the Woods of the West of Ireland

Mayo and Galway - my favourite part of the west of Ireland, is it yours?

I have written recently about leading photo tours in the west of Ireland and it being one of my favourite places on the island of Ireland. By the west of Ireland in this case I mean Galway and Mayo as distinct from the southwest which is Cork and Kerry or the northwest which comprises Donegal and Sligo.

Galway is Ireland's second largest county after Cork and Co. Mayo isn't small either. Driving across both of these counties you really do get a feel for their large size. The differing landscapes between Ballinasloe in the east of Co. Galway and Clifden, capital of Connemara in the west are obvious to the traveller.

Published in Photo Tours
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