Ballina is in County Mayo in the Republic of Ireland. It is on the river Moy near the mouth of Killala Bay. It is often used as a jumping point to the Céide Fields and the west Mayo and south Sligo areas, however the town itself represents a fine base.
Ballina can be reached most easily from Knock airport which is located approximately 35 miles away via car. Trains also run from Dublin via a connection from the Westport line, the journey takes 4 hours.
Image: St Muredach's Cathedral on the banks of the River Moy in Ballina
What to do
Ballina's location on the River Moy favours salmon fishing, and one of the best spots, the Ridge Pool, is situated in the heart of the town. The Ballina Salmon Festival is held annually in July in the town. The festival includes Heritage Day, where most of the centre of the town is closed to traffic and the streets fill with arts and craft stalls and demonstrations of transport from days gone by. The festival finale is a Mardi Gras followed by a monster fireworks display.
Tourist attractions include two museums in the town, the Jackie Clarke Collection and Belleek Castle Museum.
The Dolmen of the Four Maols - is located on 'Primrose Hill' behind Ballina's Railway Station. The dolmen dates from c2,000 B.C. and is sometimes called locally the 'Table of the Giants'. Legend has it that the dolmen is the burial place of the four Maols. The four Maols murdered Ceallach, a 7th-century Bishop of Kilmoremoy and were quartered at Ardnaree - the Hill of Executions. Tradition says that their bodies were buried under the dolmen.
The town has some notable architecture, including the 15th-century Moyne Abbey, and St Muredach's Cathedral, which is the Cathedral Church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Killala. Work on the Cathedral began in 1827. The stone was quarried locally and the roof and ceiling were completed before the Great Famine (1845). The spire was completed in 1855 and by 1875 the organ had been commissioned.
Eating & drinking
Ballina has a very lively entertainment scene and a variety of restaurants serving Irish, European and Asian cuisine and a number of late bars.
Crockets on The Quay - an award winning bar, boasts an excellent restaurant and bar bites and a very busy weekend bar. The bar is comfortable and is divided into three sections, a front 'cosy' bar, which is older, a middle bar where you can talk (and be heard) over the music and a large back bar containing a small dance floor. Crockets is a modern and comfortable bar and despite winning all Ireland Dining Pub of the Year and the Traditional Pub of the Year awards, you will not find any traditional music.
Doherty's - is a traditional fisherman's pub located beside the Ham bridge on Bridge Street. Friendly, quiet and relaxed - the pub boasts a working angling shop on the opposite side of the bar.