When a modest fleet of French military ships landed in this pretty bayside village to aid the Irish in their quest for freedom back in 1798, Killala would forever mark its place in history as the point of the first failed Irish Rebellion, with countless heartfelt ballads like Minstrel Boy or The Wind that Shakes the Barley inspired by the bloodshed spilled by the conquerors. Dominating the village's narrow, twisting lanes is an impressive 12th-century limestone Round Tower. The 84-foot-high structure is visible from the surrounding countryside, and it's one of the finest examples of its kind in the country. Killala is also the gateway to Mayo’s rugged northern coast, a dramatic, windswept stretch of cliffs, where the wind howls in from the Atlantic directly from Iceland, the nearest landmass. The cliffs at Downpatrick have spectacular blowholes and have weathered dramatically since Stone Age farmers built Céide Fields, now a unique visitor center showcasing one of the oldest known field systems in the world.
Not everyone has the courage to explore these macabre destinations. Do you?More