Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park, established in 1998, is Ireland’s sixth National Park and is located on the Western seaboard in northwest Mayo. It comprises of 15,000 hectares of Atlantic blanket bog and mountainous terrain, covering a vast uninhabited and unspoilt wilderness. It is dominated by the Nephin Beg mountain range and the Owenduff bog. This is one of the last intact active blanket bog systems in Ireland and Western Europe.
The National Park Visitor Centre, located in Ballycroy village between Mulranny and Bangor, houses an interpretative exhibition of the landscape, habitats and species found in the National Park, as well as information on the surrounding area. There is a short nature trail with a viewing point which offers great scenic views of Achill Island to the west and the Nephin Beg mountain range to the east. Additional facilities include toilets, a coach car park, outdoor picnic areas and a coffee shop. There is disabled access to the visitor centre.
The park also protects a variety of other important habitats and species. These include alpine heath, upland grassland, lakes and river catchments. Greenland white-fronted geese, golden plover, red grouse and otters are just some of the important fauna found within the park. The National Park is itself part of the Owenduff/Nephin Complex Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area. These European designations are part of the Natura 2000 Network, which protect rare and important habitats and species under the EU Habitats and Birds Directives.
You can still easily access the trails within the National Park, Claggan Mountain Boardwalk and the Visitor Centre over the winter months. Why not try out the interactive map for more points of interest to explore in the park.
Reach for the stars, did you know that Mayo is now home to Ireland’s first International Dark Sky Park, home to most pristine skies in the world.