Explore the island of Ireland and what every county has to offer here, on IrishCentral's newest page "Explore Ireland".
Irish Name: Maigh Eo: "Plain of the yew"
Nickname: The Yew County
Population: 130,507 (as of 2016)
Area: 2157 square miles
County Town: Castlebar
GAA Colors: Green and Red
Common Surnames in County Mayo
Gallagher, Durkan, McHale, Barrett, McNulty, McNicholas, Brennan, Henry, Doyle, Harkin, Doherty, Foy, Kelly, Loftus, Lavelle, Gaughan, Walsh, Burke, Gibbons, Prendergast, Joyce, Murray, Gallagher Lydon, Heneghan, Murphy, O'Malley, Moran, Duffy, O'Connor, Waldron, Farragher
Famous People with roots in County Mayo
Former Irish president Mary Robinson; former Taoiseach Charles Haughey; former New York mayor Bill O'Dwyer; former US President Richard Nixon's wife Pat; Irish land reformer Michael Davitt, Oliver Goldsmith; athletes Jim Corbett, Gene Tunney, and Steve Staunton.
A brief history of County Mayo
County Mayo is on the western seaboard of the island of Ireland. It is one of the largest counties of Ireland, the third-largest, in fact, and is part of the province of Connacht. The county town is Castlebar.
County Mayo was one of the worst affected parts of Ireland during the Great Famine in the 1840s. This resulted in a large proportion of its population starving to death. A large number of Mayo people also were forced to emigrate at this time.
Mayo is renowned for being one of the most picturesque parts of Ireland. It is home to some of the most beautiful islands off the coast of the county in Clew Bay as well as its bogland and heather. Ireland's largest island, Achill, lies off Mayo's west coast. Mayo has the third-highest cliffs in Europe at Croaghaun, Achill island.
The River Moy which flows through Mayo’s second town Ballina is famed for its salmon fishing and Ballina hosts an annual salmon festival.
Mayo is also home to the town of Lahardane which suffered tragedy when the Titanic sank in 1912 with 18 people from the small village perishing on board.
Some of the most famous people in the history of Mayo include the Pirate Queen, Grainne O’Malley. William Brown from Foxford emigrated to South America in the 17th Century and founded the Argentinian Navy.
Key attractions in County Mayo
Mayo is home to some of Ireland’s top attractions. The Knock Shrine, a famous place of pilgrimage for Irish Catholics, lies close to the border with County Roscommon.
Mayo is also home to a place of pilgrimage, Croagh Patrick, a mountain where according to local legend, the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick fasted for forty days and nights. Today, tens of thousands of people climb the mountain, some hardy souls in their bare feet.
Westport is one of the most popular towns to visit for tourists. It has a vibrant restaurant scene as well as being home to some great examples of Irish traditional pubs.
Mayo has also been the setting of the famous John Millington Synge's The Playboy of the Western World.
Are you planning a vacation in Ireland? Looking for advice or want to share some great memories? Join our Irish travel Facebook group.