The waters of the River Moy and loughs Carrowmore, Conn, and Cullin are renowned fishing destinations, particularly for salmon and trout. To arrange a day’s fishing, contact Cloonamoyne Fishery, Castlehill, near Crossmolina, Ballina (www.cloonamoynefishery.com; [tel] 096/963-1928). The fishery rents fully equipped boats and tackle, teaches fly-casting, and provides transport to and from all fishing: for brown trout on loughs Conn and Cullin; for salmon on loughs Beltra, Furnace, and Feeagh; and for salmon and sea trout on the rivers Moy and Deel. Daily rates are around €30 for a rowboat, €60 for a boat with engine, and €120 for a boat with engine and ghillie (guide).
Obtain a permit and state fishing license at the Mayo Angling Advice Centre, at the Tiernan Bros. fishing tackle shop, Upper Main Street, Foxford (www.themoy.com; [tel] 094/925-6731). It also offers a range of services, including boat hire and ghillies.
For fishing tackle, try Kingfisher Bates, Pier Road, Enniscrone ([tel] 096/36733), or the Ballina Angling Centre, Unit 55, Ridge Pool Road, Ballina ([tel] 096/21850). On Achill Island, get fishing tackle at Supervalu Supermarket, Achill Sound ([tel] 098/45211). Also a good place to stock up on supplies, it’s the smallish white-and-red building on the right, immediately after the bridge crossing from the mainland.
One of the best riding centers in the West is Drummindoo Stud & Equestrian Centre, Knockranny, Westport (www.drummindoo.com; [tel] 098/25616).
County Mayo's 18-hole golf courses include a par-71 inland course at Castlebar Golf Club, Rocklands, Castlebar, County Mayo (tel. 094/902-1649; www.castlebargolfclub.ie), has greens fees of €25 weekdays and €35 weekends (couples get a €20 discount). They sometimes run special deals that include a meal at the clubhouse for very little extra, especially out of season. The par-73 championship course at Westport Golf Club, County Mayo (tel. 098/28262; www.golfwestport.com), charges varied greens fees of €30 weekdays, €50 weekends, except on Wednesdays, when the fee is €25. On the shores of Clew Bay, the challenging and scenic course winds around the slopes of Croagh Patrick Mountain.
Courses for adults and children are at the Atlantic Adventure Centre, in Lecanvey, just outside of Westport (www.atlanticadventurecentre.com; [tel] 098/64806). Most of the kayaking is done at the Blue Flag beaches at Old Head, Bertra, and Carramore. Very reasonable accommodations rates are available for campers. The adventure center has all you need for a wide range of activities, from canoeing to rock climbing.
Windsurfing & Other Watersports
With constant wind off the Atlantic Ocean, Achill Island is ideal for windsurfing, hang gliding, or any activities that involve a breeze. If you want to try it out, get in touch with the Achill Outdoor Education Centre on R319, between Cashel and Bunacurry (www.achilloutdoor.com; [tel] 098/47253). They also do plenty more outdoor activities, including powerboating, raft building, and body boarding. For other options, you can also try the Atlantic Adventure Centre.
Walk this Way: Portacloy
The region to the east of the Mullet peninsula has a spectacular array of sheer sea cliffs and rugged, craggy islands. The small, secluded beach at Portacloy, 14km (8 2/3 miles) north of Glenamoy on the R314, is a good starting point for a dramatic walk. On a sunny day, its aquamarine waters and fine-grained white sand recall the Mediterranean more than the North Atlantic.
From the concrete quay at the beach’s western edge, head north up the steep green slopes of the nearest hill. The sea views from here are breathtaking. Don’t be too distracted by the fantastic view or adorable little sheep—the boggy slopes on which you are walking end precipitously at an unmarked cliff edge. The walk is therefore not recommended for children, and should not be undertaken in bad weather. Resist the urge to get a better view of the mysterious sea caves, or to reach the outermost edges of the coast’s promontories. Instead, using the farmer’s fence as a guide, head west toward the striking profile of Benwee Head, about 2.4km (1 1/2 miles) away. This will give you gorgeous views of blue sea and rocky countryside. Return the same way to finish with a swim in the chilly, tranquil waters of Portacloy.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.