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Historic Town Walks

Historic Town Walks

Ballina Self Guided Historic Town Walk

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Ballina Town
Mayo
Republic of Ireland

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Framed by the Ox and Nephin Beg Mountains, Ballina was founded in its present incarnation by Lord Tyrawley in 1723. A settlement existed on the banks of the River Moy long before this, however - a fact that echoes other hidden depths awaiting discovery around the town.

Ballina has three heritage trails, red (3km), blue (3km) and yellow (3km) routes, all of which take about 90 minutes to walk. The blue route centres on Belleek Manor, built by the Knox-Gore family in the 1830s and now a hotel, and the Ice House, a design hotel cascading down the Moy riverbank. It was originally built in 1859 to freeze and pack salmon for export.

At the north end of Ballina, you’ll also find the derelict old hull of the Creteboom, a concrete tugboat built in response to the shortage of steel in World War I. Brought to the estuary in 1937, it has remained as a curiosity to this day.

The yellow route ranges southwest of the town to sites including a large, famine-era workhouse, the Methodist church and Ballina dolmen. Dating from around 2,000BC, the dolmen is reputed to be the burial place of the Four Maols, a band of brothers who murdered a bishop in the 7th century, and were hanged at Ardnaree for their crime.

Ballina’s red route explores the town centre, criss-crossing the Moy as it passes the old provincial bank, St Muredach’s Cathedral and the remains of an Augustinian abbey. The Humbert Monument, erected in 1898 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French landing at Killala Bay, was unveiled by Maud Gonne - who went on to pour water over another speaker's head.

Ballina’s main streets slope down to the River Moy, and in season, you’ll often see anglers on its bridges. An annual salmon festival is held in July and, from a distance, the Salmon Weir Bridge seems to trace the curve of a fishing rod.

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