Knock will live in your memory as the place where you began your discovery of one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets. Mayo and the neighbouring county of Sligo are the neglected cousins when it comes to Ireland’s family album of scenic beauties, but, although this region may not enjoy the exposure of Killarney or Dublin, its low profile just adds to its charm.
Located 5.6km south-west of Charlestown, County Mayo, Ireland West Airport Knock was established in 1985 after an intense campaign by Monsignor James Horan to bring employment to the area and to facilitate pilgrims who wanted to visit the nearby Knock Shrine, which commemorates an apparition of the Virgin Mary. Since 2003, flag-carrier, low-cost and regional airlines such as Aer Lingus and Ryanair have added several routes to U.K. and European mainland destinations
Things to Do around Knock
With car hire from Ireland West Airport Knock, you are all set for a road trip with a difference. Mayo and the northwest are among Ireland’s hidden gems, but like any treasure that is kept out of sight, they shine all the brighter when they are discovered.
Nestling in the south-east corner of Clew Bay, Westport has a picture-postcard charm that makes it easy to see why it was voted Ireland’s Best Place to Live in 2012. Stroll the tree-lined, flower-filled boulevard known as The Mall, and enjoy striking views of Croagh Patrick.
Beaches do not come more stunning or secluded than the five Blue Flag beaches on Achill Island. Connected to the mainland by a landbridge, Achill is home to the Atlantic Drive, a 40km stretch of coastal bliss for anyone with car hire.
The Quiet Man Village in Cong
John Ford’s 1951 film, The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, was set in the village of Cong on the Mayo-Galway border. About a 40-minute drive from Knock with car hire, the Quiet Man Cottage Museum gives the visitor a complete immersion in The Quiet Man experience. The cottage’s ground floor has been designed as an exact replica of ‘White-o-Mornin’ Cottage in which Maureen O’Hara’s character lived.
Recognised as the country’s only royal abbey that has been in continuous use for almost eight centuries, Ballintubber Abbey is situated near Lough Carra, south of Castlebar. Ballintubber is part of Tóchar Phádraig, a 35km pilgrimage road that ends at Croagh Patrick.
St. Patrick’s holy mountain, Croagh Patrick is an ancient pilgrimage site located five miles from Westport. Climb the 764-metre peak, following in the footsteps of Patrick, and discover spectacular views of Clew Bay and south Mayo.