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    Visit The Ceide Fields & Downpatrick Head

    Achaidh Cheide – “Flat Topped Hill Fields”

    The Ceide Fields

    The Ceide Fields tell a story that is set in bog and stone of some of Irelands earliest settlers. The Interpretive center showcases an ancient bog oak which stands to ancient days. The bogland is such that much has been preserved since ancient days relatively unchanged by the passing of time. It is worth stopping of for the stunning views of the Wild Atlantic Way alone. You can tour the archaeological site as it was first discovered by Seamus Caulfield.

    Céide Fields, Ballycastle County Mayo, showing the impressive Domestic enclosure. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

    The Doonfeeny Ogham Stone

    The Doonfeeny Ogham Standing Stone can be seen here. It stands nearly 7m tall and dates to the 5th Century. It guards the entrance to the Doonfeeny graveyard. It is the second largest standing stone in Ireland and is believed to have been Christianized in the 6th or 7th Century (the crosses carved onto its face). According to local sources, the stone aligns with clefts in neighboring hills and solar positions.

    Downpatrick Head

    Downpatrick Head is located 3 miles north of Ballycastle Village and is a stunning headland which stands 126ft above the sea. It offers fantastic views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Staggs of Broadhaven and high cliffs. There is also a small stone building at the top of Downpatrick Head that was used as a lookout post during the Second World War. It can now be used to view the many species of birds on “Dun Briste”.

    The seastack at Downpatrick Head. | Courtesy of Kelvin Gillmore

    The ruins of a church, holy well and stone cross mark the site of an earlier church founded by St. Patrick. Pilgrims visited Downpatrick Head on the last Sunday of July – ‘Garland Sunday’. Mass is now celebrated on Downpatrick Head on this day. A statue was erected in 1912 and  replaced in the early 1980’s. You can also see a spectacular blow-hole known as ‘Poll na Seantainne’ with a subterranean channel to the sea, where 25 lost their lives in the aftermath of the 1978 rebellion. They are said to have taken refuge on the ledge at the bottom, but the tide came in before the ladder could be relpaced.

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        Ceide Fields
        Bog Oak - Courtesy of Peter McCabe
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        Ceide Fields
        Wild Atlantic Way
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        Ceide Fields

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