Rethinking Rural Focus On: Mayo
Rethinking Rural Focus On: Mayo
For the next chapters in our series on Rethinking Rural, we focus in on some undersung counties with a whole lot to offer, starting with marvellous Mayo.
Living in Mayo
You might be forgiven for thinking that Mayo is Cinderella to her flashier sister, Galway. Look closer and find gorgeous scenery, fabulous food, excellent schools, strong employers and a great cultural scene. And the clincher? House prices in the County are in the region of €100,000 less costly than their Dublin cousins: the average Mayo house price being €256,000.
Rents are more affordable too. A recent report put national rents at an average of €1,402 per month, with Mayo accommodation coming in at half that – €744 to be precise. Plus, someone clever estimated the average Mayo commute at just 23 minutes, and as that could well be along some of the most picturesque roads Ireland has to offer, you might almost wish it was longer.
Getting there is easy too. There is a direct train line from Dublin to Westport, taking in Ballyhaunis, Claremorris, Foxford, Ballina and Castlebar en route. Or fly to Ireland West – Mayo is of course famous as home to both the Knock shrine, and its accompanying airport.
Working in Mayo
Home to large pharmaceutical and software companies, you’ll find major employers including Allergan, Baxter, Hollister and Messiner all quartered in the county. The major towns of Castlebar, Ballina and Westport are all hubs, but you’ll also find thriving smaller spots including Claremorris, Swinford, Ballinrobe and Ballyhaunis.
Fancy a different sort of employment? Mayo is also a major surfing destination, there are a wide range of other outdoor pursuits, including hill walking, horse riding, boating, fishing and more – so you could be looking at a total change in your pace of life. The hospitality sector is another major employer – and Mayo is home to one of the most famous hotels in Ireland, Ashford Castle. The gorgeous hotel and estate, which recently had a multi-million makeover, has played host to princes, presidents, rock royalty and movie stars during the course of its career.
At the younger end of the work scale, there is a wide choice of schools at primary and post primary level, and easy access to third level institutions in neighbouring Galway and Sligo.
Playing in Mayo
Where to start with things to do in Mayo? Head to Achill Island via the Greenway, or stop at Clew Bay, famous for having 365 islands, one for every day of the year. There are miles of beautiful beaches, for walking, swimming or galloping on horseback. The River Moy is famous for its salmon fishing – with an annual festival to test your angling mettle. Ireland’s only fjord – Killary – borders Mayo, while further north the scenery becomes incredibly dramatic as you reach up to Céide Fields, Bellmullet and the Nephin National Park.
Foodies can join Westport’s Neighbourfood for a weekly shop, or find farmers markets across the county at Mayo.ie. From charming cafés to chic restaurants, including the multi award winning An Port Mór in Westport, and Wilde’s and the George V at Ashford Castle, and welcoming bars where music is always on the menu, you’ll never run out of spots to explore.
On the cultural front, the National Museum of Country Life is at Turlough Park, while the Ballinglen Museum and Arts Foundation in Ballycastle attracts famous artists from around the world. Westport House is a brilliant attraction for the whole family, or discover the oldest known field systems in the world at the Céide Fields Visitor Centre – proving that they always knew what they were doing in Mayo – long before everyone else!
You Might Miss…
So what are you giving up with a move to Mayo? You might miss massive shopping centres and huge supermarkets, or all those bright city lights, but these days everyone delivers, and with all the money you’re saving making the move, you can always afford the occasional break in a big smoke hotel. Choose a thriving town, or a peacefully spot that will still be less than half an hour away from your nearest hub, and on the plus side, you’re getting glorious scenery, fresh air, a real sense of community and a safe place to raise a family. What are you waiting for?
If Mayo is not for you check out some of the Rural Gems we have available in Athlone & Surrounding areas or call us today on 0906475500 to help you make that rural move.
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