Downpatrick Head, County Mayo

Downpatrick Head, County Mayo

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Downpatrick Head is a stunning headland located near Ballycastle, County Mayo. Over time the Atlantic has carved out a huge bay from the majestic cliffs forming Downpatrick Head. The cliff scenery is sensational with the coasts of counties Sligo and Donegal visible on a clear day.
 
The name Downpatrick Head derived from a church St. Patrick built here. The remains of it can still be seen. Once a popular pilgrim destination it is used only once a year now. On the last Sunday of July, known as Garland Sunday, a mass is held in this sacred site.
 
Dún Briste, a striking sea-stack, stands 80 m of Downpatrick Head. It names means “Broken Fort”. Legends have it, that a pagan chieftain refused to convert to Christianity, so St. Patrick struck the ground with his crosier, separating a chunk of the headland with the chieftain on top of it. Another local legend states, that it was an ogre called Geodruisge who lived there and created a lot of trouble for the saint. St. Patrick prayed to put some barrier between them and his prayers were fulfilled as one morning the area was cut off from the mainland.
Whatever the creation myth layers upon layers of different coloured rock strata are making this sea-stack a unique landmark in the area.
 
Another attraction is Poll na Seantainne, an awe-inspiring 30m deep blow hole, with an underground channel to the sea. A statue reminds of the people who lost their live in it, while seeking refugee after the 1798 rebellion.
 
On Downpatrick headland, several archaeological monuments can be seen. These include Bronze-Age ring-barrows, the remains of a promontory fort and a watch tower from WWII.
In addition Downpatrick Head is another excellent place on the coast of Ireland where bird-watching is a phenomenal experience.

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