Castlebar, the administrative capital of County Mayo with a population of over 6,000 is centrally located in an area rich in heritage, history, scenery and tradition and is the perfect base from which to explore one of the few unspoilt areas of western Europe.
Castlebar began as a settlement around a castle built by the de Barra (Barry ) family. Modern day Castlebar contrasts starkly with the town of yore, a garrison outpost whose streets have echoes and re-echoed to battle cries and the sounds of strife. It hosted events (including the 1798 French and Irish rebellion - the Races of Castlebar) that moulded the shape of things to come not alone in Castlebar but in Ireland itself.
Originally a market town, Castlebar has kept this tradition and is renowned for its variety of interesting shopping areas. Everything from a needle to a pint of Guinness !
Castlebar also offers a great variety of activities and exciting locations - indoor and outdoor. There is plenty of lively night-time entertainment including traditional Irish music available in hotels and pubs as well as top quality dining at a wide variety of restaurants.
Castlebar is a superb location for outdoor pursuits including planned walking routes and it is surrounded by some of the best fishing lakes n the West of Ireland.
Mayo Abbey , located in the countryside near Castlebar is a ruin which is rich in history, and the place which gave Mayo its name. It was grounded in the 7th century by English monks as a result of a split between the Celtic and Roman Churches. These monks came originally from the English monastery of Lindisfarne, which they left after refusing to bow to the Synod of Whitby.
The monks settled first in Inishbofin off the Galway coast, but then thirty of them left to found their own community. The place where they settled was called Maigh Eo Sacsan (The Plain of the Saxon Yews). This was later shortened to Mayo. Sire Henry Sydney, charged under Queen Elizabeth with dividing Connaught (Connacht) into counties named the whole county after this famous monastery.
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