The Wild Atlantic Way is the longest defined coastal touring route in the world and runs through the heart of Murrisk. The Wild Atlantic Way follows the west coast of Ireland hugging the Atlantic seaboard from Donegal through Mayo down to Kerry and then along the south coast to Cork. It provides a combination of rugged scenery, dramatic seascapes and breathtaking panoramas which provide an inspiring and rewarding experience.
Croagh Patrick View is located on the south shore of Clew Bay at the base of Croagh Patrick. The viewpoint is immediately adjacent to Murrisk Cemetery and the ruins of Murrisk Abbey (founded in 1456 by the Augustinian Friars). Open views of Clew Bay against the backdrop of the Currane Peninsula. Established walks exist from the Discovery Point around the Bay and to Croagh Patrick, Ireland's holy mountain its here that St Patrick fasted and prayed for 40 days and nights and the mountain continues to draw pilgrims to climb its 764m. 8km (5 miles) west of Westport on the Louisburgh Road (R335), Croagh Patrick (pronounced Croke Patrick) stands at 764m (2,507ft) and is the third highest peak in Mayo, after Mweelrea and Nephin. Best known for its association with Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, who is said to have fasted for 40 days at the summit in 441AD, Croagh Patrick has been a pilgrimage destination since pre-Christian times.
Long before Saint Patrick’s arrival, the mountain was known by its ancient name of Cruchán Aigli, deriving from Cruach as a variant of ‘rick’ or ‘reek’, a reference to its distinctive conical shape. Hence, the mountain common local name, The Reek, spans the millennia. It was not until the 10th century that it became known for its link to Saint Patrick, taking the name Cruach Phádraig, and subsequently the anglicised version, Croagh Patrick. The most popular route to the summit begins at the west end of Murrisk on the Louisburgh Road (R335) at the signposted carpark. The route is 7km (4.3 miles) long, round-trip; bring sturdy boots, rain-gear and layers, as the temperature can be much lower at the top, and the wind can be quite strong. The Croagh Patrick Visitor Centre includes a coffee shop/self-service restaurant, as well as a craft shop. Hot showers, secure lockers and pay and display parking are also available. Guided tours to the Statue are available from the Centre during peak season with advance notice.
Murrisk is surrounded by wonderful cycling terrain. There is a designated cycle track along the coast into Westport using the National Coastal Path. From Westport there is access to the most popular cycling track in Ireland, the Great Western Greenway, which runs to Achill Island through Newport. There are lots of small back roads over the mountains in the area which provide a challenge for the keen cyclist.