If you’re planning a trip to County Mayo this summer, here are some facts so you can get clued up before you arrive. County Mayo, Ireland’s third largest county, has a rich and interesting history and here are just a few of those fascinating facts:
- The name comes from Irish “Mhaigh Eo.”
Mhaigh Eo translates as “Plain of the Yew Trees,” which originates from Mayo village, now known as Mayo Abbey. This tree is one of the few pine trees native to Ireland.
- The term “boycott” comes from Co. Mayo.
The word ‘boycott’ is taken from the name Captain Charles C. Boycott, agent of 19th century British landowner, Lord Erne. Boycott was ignored and ostracized by the local community of Ballinrobe during the Irish Land War as part of a campaign to oust the Irish Land League.
- Mayo is the birthplace of one of the most frightening and famous Irish pirates.
The Pirate Queen (around 1530 – 1603) is Grace O’Malley from the famous Mayo O’Malley clan. Her father was a chief and marine merchant and she learned how to handle himself on his ship.
Attacking alone, she is known as the Pirate Queen who captured British ships and seized their belongings.
England moved against her, but she went to London and met with the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I, who withdrew the army and released the O’Malley family, who were detained by the British. She lived to see a ripe old age.
- The oldest known field system in Europe was found in Co. Mayo.
Céide Fields originates from five and a half thousand years ago and is a Neolithic sites and the largest field system in the world. The fields – which included megalithic tombs and houses – were covered with marshland in time, and were later rediscovered in the 1930s with the discovery of a mound of stones during peat cutting. Get to Mayo with Irish Airports such as https://irelandwestairport.com/
- Ireland’s first female president born in Co. Mayo.
Mary Robinson was born on May 21, 1944 in Ballina and became the first female Irish president from 1990 to 1997, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from 1997 to 2002.
- The two most famous Irish pilgrimage sites are in Co. Mayo.
Knock Shrine is a Catholic pilgrimage site and National Temple. In 1879 some local residents said they had observed the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, John the Evangelist, the angel, and Jesus Christ.
Croagh Patrick (Cruach Phádraig, meaning “St. Patrick’s Stack”) is a 2,507 foot high mountain and is an important pilgrimage place in County Mayo. This mountain is a destination for pilgrim climbers every year at Reek Minggu, which is the last Sunday in July.
- The largest Irish island is offshore Co. Mayo.
Achill Island is the biggest island in the country and can be reached by a bridge. Achill has a wonderful history of human settlements, and there is plenty to show that Achill was lived on as many as 5,000 years ago. It currently has a population of 2,700.