Are you looking for a brilliant base to discover west Mayo, including Achill Island, The Greenway and the Clew Bay area? Then, Mulranny may be exactly what you are looking for.
Mulranny is a idyllic seaside village located on the northern shores of Clew Bay in County Mayo, the west of Ireland.
It is probably the only village in Ireland with so many variations to its name: from Mallaranny to Mulrany, Mullaranny to Mullranny…the list goes on….
For the sake of clarity, we’ll stick with the most common one: Mulranny!
In any case, this small coastal village is a place I personally have fond memories of as I spent many happy days here as a young fella (and an older one)
For this reason (and many more) I feel compelled to share with you why I believe Mulranny to be an absolute gem along the Wild Atlantic Way and an excellent alternative to some of the busier nearby locations of Westport and Achill.
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Why Visit Mulranny?
Mulranny has been awarded the ‘European Destination of Excellence’, an award which recognised the sensitive and sustainable development of many local attractions, including the restoration of the hotel and the implementation of the Great Western Greenway.
These attractions are just 2 of many activites you can enjoy in the village of Mulranny. Here’s why we reckon Mulranny is a great seaside destination:
1. The Scenery
I have to start here. Having been there literally 100s of times, I’m still entralled by the scenery of this magnificent pocket of Clew Bay.
From sweeping panoramic views out over the whole of Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick, to magnificent beaches, Mulranny on a warm summer’s day almost resembles somewhere in southern Europe.
Then you hear the local sheep letting out a good old ‘maaah’ and you’re quickly brought back to reality…
2. The Location
Mulranny’s location is ideal. Situated between Newport and Achill, while only being 30 minutes from Westport, you have a wealth of fantastic locations to explore. Mulranny is a brilliant base for exploring West Mayo.
3. Countless Great Activities
Mulranny is an excellent location for outdoor activities for all ages and levels of fitness. The iconic Greenway, Ireland’s longest defined cycle lane passes through the village, there’s golf, horseriding, endless walks, beaches for swimming and watersports, fishing and hillwalking, the list goes on…
4. The Flora & Fauna
Mulranny is one of a few locations in the country which is home to the Old Irish Goat, a native species which can be found roaming the hills behind the village. There’s is even a visitor centre in their honour in the village!
One thing that will strike you when you visit in the warmer months is the incredible density and variety of vegetation to be found around the village of Mulranny, owing to the mild influences of the Gulf Stream.
There’s even a Meditteranean Heather festival! We’ll get on to that a little later.
5. Some Great Places to Stay
Mulranny has a long history of tourism dating back to the late 19th century. In fact the main hotel in the village (currently the Mulranny Park Hotel) dates back to this time.
The hotel offers stunning views out over Clew Bay and is home to the ‘John Lennon & Yoko Ono Suite’, after the famous couple’s stay here in 1968.
There are other tasteful guesthouses and b&bs in and around the village too, along with some great modern self catering houses. More on accommodation later.
When is the Best Time to Visit Murlanny?
Due to the large number of outdoor activities in and around Murlanny, we believe the best time to visit is in the warmer months: from April to September.
During these months, you’ll have the best chance of getting good weather. The driest months in the west of Ireland are, generally speaking, May and September.
Here is the weather for the next days in Mulranny:MULRANNY WEATHER
Things to Do in Mulranny
Cycle/Walk The Greenway
The Great Western Greenway is a 42-kilometer-long cycling and walking trail that passes through Mulranny. The Greenway follows the route of the old Westport to Achill railway line, which closed in 1937.
There are 3 main sections: Westport to Newport, Newport to Mulranny and Mulranny to Achill.
In our humble opinion, the stretch from Newport to Mulranny is the most scenic, providing stunning views of the surrounding countryside and Clew Bay, with its hundreds of islands.
If you don’t have access to your own bike, no worries. You can rent in Mulranny, at the old station house. It’s a set price for the day. You may drop the bike off at any one of 3 locations; Mulranny, Westport or Achill.
- Adult Bike Hire €25
- Childrens Bikes and Accessories €15
- Premium / Electric Bikes €50
- Ute Family Bikes €50
More details here.
The Greenway is also very popular for walkers and you’ll find it nice, easy going. The section of the Greenway near the station is fascinating as you will encounter almost jungle-like vegetation.
It’s seldom you’ll encounter rhodedendron, erica heather and fuschia growing alongside pine, palm, ash and beech trees!
You can join the Greenway in the village, just next to Doherty’s shop of near the hotel.
Here, you’ll see a map of where you can join The Greenway and where to rent bikes (blue markers)
Visit the Beautiful Beaches
images: sweetisleofmine.com/Failte Ireland
Mulranny is home to some beautiful beaches. The most visited is the main Blue Flag beach, next to the pier. This beach offers beautiful clean waters and views out over Clew Bay to Croagh Patrick.
It is worth noting that the tide usually comes in here fully but you’ll still see plenty out swimming in the water on a summer’s evening. There is decent parking too, along with toilet facilities.
The other main beach is Mulranny is located near the golf course and in my opinion is one of the best beaches in the county. We have included it in our list for the best beaches in Mayo. More details here.
In a nutshell, this beach is spectacular, with fantastic views and almost white sands. It’s a bit of a challenge to get there, as you’ll have to drive over a very bumpy road, but certainly worth it!
Play a Round of Golf
Mulranny also has an excellent 9 – hole golf course located on the shores of Clew Bay. The course finishes with a challenging hole where you’ll have to clear water and hit upslope to get to the green.
Each hole is a challenge, with a great mix of open fairway and sand dunes to keep almost every level of golfer satisfied.
One of my favourite things is the free-roaming sheep, which seem to keep the fairways impeccable. But, don’t worry the greens are fenced off to keep your shortgame safe.
More details about the golf club can be found here.
Explore the Magnificent Atlantic Drive
images: sweetisleofmine.com/Christian McLeod
While most are aware of the Atlantic Drive on Achill, many are unaware of the wonderful Atlantic Drive which starts just after the village of Mulranny. From here, you’ll drive directly along the coast, always on an elevated position.
You’ll be treated with some breathtaking views out over the whole of Clew Bay and across the waters to Croagh Patrick. Directly in front of you, you’ll see Clare Island with the towering cliffs of Knockmore (400m) in clear sight.
You’ll also come by The Spanish Armada Viewpoint, a place of remembrence for the 5 Spanish ships that sank here in 1588. It is believed that only 16 men survived, while 100s perished in the waters of Clew Bay.
From this particular viewpoint, you’ll have exceptional views over the bay. Here, a map of the Mulranny/Corraun Atlantic Drive with the Spanish Armada viewpoint.
At the end of the red line, you may continue the loop around the north of the Corraun Peninsula or turn off for Achill and drive the Achill leg of the Atlantic Drive, which starts after Achill Sound.
The starting point is marked with the purple marker. This may interest some Banshees of Inisherin buffs, as the locations road trip starts there.
Walk the Iconic Victorian Causeway
Directly opposite the Mulranny Park Hotel, you’ll see steps which lead to The Causeway, built in 1889, during the Victorian era. This unique elevated path is a true hidden gem.
It stretches out over Mulranny Salt Marsh, a tidal area teaming with flora and fauna, including orchids, sea lavender and various species of birds, including Brent Geese, which miragte to this location in the winter months.
This is a unique marine environment and an equally unique walking route. This would also be the shortest route to Mulranny Beach from the village. A must-do on your visit to Mulranny.
Walk, Walk, Walk
As mentioned already, perhaps the most popular walk in Mulranny is The Greenway. Have a quick look above at the ‘Greenway’ section to see where to start from the village.
The walk along the causeway is also a walk we highly recommend and this can be completed as a loop where you turn right at the beach and continue along the road, which will bring you past the church and back to the village.
There are also 2 other walks we highly recommend. The first is the ‘Lookout Hilll Loop’, which is an easy-moderate hike and offers stunning panoramic views.The exact details along with a map can be found here.
Another almost ‘hidden walk’ is one we personally love and a lovely little hike for kids. The starting point is located near the old station house and it’s easy to miss.
The first section passes through some tunnel-like vegetation and the end point offers amazing views. The ground can get wet here so wear some good sturdy shoes!
There are countless other walks in Mulranny. For example, walking along the beach near the golf course is beautiful and at the far end, you may spot some seals relaxing on the rocks.
Take in the Views
All the walks mentioned above will reward you with stunning views of land and sea. We recommend getting out and exploring the area of Mulranny either by foot or by bike to really get a feel for the place.
To the east you’ll spot the unique drumlin (glacial) islands of Clew Bay. Directly across the bay, the dominant peak of Croagh Patrick will catch your eye. On a clear day, you’ll be able to make out the chapel on top.
To the right of Croagh Patrick, The Sheefry Hills are clear to see and directly west, you’ll spot Clare Island, at the entrance to Clew Bay. Clew Bay is home to a plethora of marine life and you may spot a dolphin or 2 off the coast.
Mulranny is a popular spot for fishing and you’ll see fishers casting from the pier during high tide. Fish such as wrasse and dogfish are quite commonly caught, while there is a posibility of hooking a sea trout also.
The beaches are also popular for fishing when the tide comes in. Some of the most commonly caught fish here are bass, mackerel and flounder.
The town of Newport (about 15 minutes away) is home to Clew Bay Charters, where you can get out on Clew Bay to do some proper deep sea fishing. The exact details are here.
Carrowholly Stables, a very well established equestrian centre based in Westport, offer horse-trekking along the wide open sands of nearby Rosturk castle.
This is an activity we have not personally done, but judging by the photos, this seems like a dream come true for horse enthusiasts. These treks run from April to October. Click here to see some photos and for more details.
Visit the Old Irish Goat Centre
With all this talk of the incredible marine life, flora and fauna of Mulranny and the Clew bay area, we can’t go any further without mentioning the iconic Old Irish Goat. As briefly alluded to earlier, these unique and native Irish species are to be found roaming the hills and mountains around Mulranny.
Mulranny now has an excellent little visitor centre, which will give you an insight into the life and times of these wonderful creatures, the challenges they have overcome and the wonderful story of how the local community put all hands on deck to save them from extinction.
There is also an adjoining gift shop and garden. It’s completely free to enter, wheelchair accessible and there are bike racks outside. What a great way to spend a rainy afternoon! The Old Irish Goat Centre is open Wed – Sun from 11am-5pm and are open most of the year. More details here.
Get creative at Mulranny Arts
Mulranny Arts is located in the old convent and hosts a wide range of workshops. Some of these include life-drawings, stone mosaics and working with shells and seaweed to creative beautiful works. These courses are suited to anyone, from beginner to advanced.
But, there’s also so much more to experience here.
The centre also offers yoga, meditation, creative breaks, retreats and intimate concerts. A true credit to those who run Mulranny Arts and another example of the brilliant initiative shown by the locals. More details can be found here.
Go to a Festival
For a small village Mulranny sure does have a lot a festivals! As mentioned earlier, the Meditteranean Heather Festival takes place here, usually towards the end of July. The details of this festival are here.
There are some other festivals too, including the fascinating ‘Stone Wall’ festival. This includes a whole variety of events from talks to demonstrations.
There is also the possibilty to partake in a ‘Stone Mosaic workshop’, where you’ll learn the tricks of the trade from the craftsmen themsleves. This takes plcae this year (2023) in May. More details are here.
Mulranny also has an annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, where the local pipe band make their way through the village. The Mulranny/Tiernaur Pipe band are very well known and this part of Mayo is known for its pipe bands.
Nearby Achill Island also puts on a memorable St. Patrick’s Day parade where the pipe band start playing at 6 am in the mornning, continuing for most of the day!
Appreciate Mulranny’s Fascinating Railway History
The railway line that passed through Mulranny was part of the Westport to Achill railway, which opened in 1894. This railway was a branch line of the Midland Great Western Railway (MGWR), which connected Westport to Achill Sound.
A Huge Achievement
The railway line was a vital lifeline for the people of Mulranny and the surrounding areas, as it provided access to markets and allowed people to travel easily to and from the village.
It also helped with the economic growth of the region, transporting goods such as livestock, turf, and other agricultural products.
The construction of the line was a huge engineering achievement, as it involved building tracks across the rugged and mountainous terrain of the west of Ireland. The line included several viaducts, tunnels and bridges, the remnants of which can still be seen today in nearby Newport.
The track is also credited with being part of one of Ireland’s first ‘package holidays’. Passengers could purchase an all-in-one railway & hotel ticket.
In fact, the Great Southern Hotel (now Mulranny Park) was purpose-built by the Midland Great Western Railway company.
Challenges & Tragedies
The railway line was not without its challenges. The harsh weather conditions meant that the line was often disrupted by landslides, flooding and other weather-related problems.
Further to this, the rise of the motor car and the decline in rail travel led to a decline in the use of the railway line, and it eventually closed in 1937.
The railway is also well known for terribly unfortunate reasons. In one of the first years of its operation, a special train was brought into operation to carry the bodies of 30 souls back home to Achill Island.
They had died tragically near Westport, while trying to board a steamship on its way to Scotland.
The very last train which passed through Mulranny train station is also shrouded in tragedy. In 1937, once again a special train was brought into operation to carry the bodies of 10 young boys back to Achill Island.
They had died tragically in a fire in a farmhouse they had been living in while working in Scotland. A couple of weeks later the track was dismantled, never to be used again.
Today, the dismantled railway line is used as the Great Western Greenway cycle lane. The station building and other structures still stand today, which serve as a reminder of the village’s fascinating railway history.
Grab a Bite to Eat
Mulranny has good selection of places to eat for a small village. By the way, the thatched cottage may seem like a quaint Irish restaurant, but it’s an Indian…and the curries here a very tasty!
Apart from that here is a list of everywhere you can eat in the village:
- Mulranny Park Hotel
- Nevin’s (in Tiernaur (on the way to Newport)
- Taste of Mulranny
All have great food, with McLoughlin’s offering great views over the bay.
Doherty’s is one of the main pubs in the village (& shop) and frequently has live music. Food, pint & Irish tunes? Sounds like a great evening.
Nevin’s is a few miles out the road and is also excellent. The place seems almost always busy and has to have one of the biggest menus I have ever seen! There’s a great beer garden out the back and they serve food throughout the day.
Have a Pint
As mentioned Doherty’s is a lively spot and a great place for a good pint of Guinness, a bite to eat and some local craic.
McLoughlin’s is also a good, lively pub and a has a small terrace to enjoy a summer’s evening pint while looking out over Clew Bay.
The hotel is also a lovely place to relax with a drink and quite often they will have live music on. You’ll notice the outdoor area here getting quite busy on a nice summer’s evening, and why not? The views are amazing.
Visit Nearby Ballycroy National Park
About 20 minutes on from Mulranny, you’ll find the Wild Nephin National Park Visitor Centre, a very worthwhile trip with some very informative exhibitions.
You’ll learn about the history of farming in the local area, along with great info about the flora and fauna of Wild Nephin Park.
Wild Nephin is one of few locations which is a ‘Gold Tier Certified Dark Sky Park’. On a dark, clear night the skies are illumintated with a million stars and the Milky Way is in clear view.
The national park also has some very interesting walks, one 2km loop right at its visitor centre, and some which are raised wooden paths through the vast open bog landscapes of the region.
More details are here.
Visit Nearby Achill Island
If you have been scanning around this website, you’ll have noticed that we are quite fond of Achill Island! We believe it to be one of the highlights of Ireland and is probably the best day trip from Mulranny.
Take the scenic route outlined above over the Atlantic Drive and spend a day on Ireland’s largest offshore island. Achill is home to some incredible scenery, including the world-famous Keem Beach, which we have covered in huge detail here. Now that beach, you have to see…
Then, there’s Croaghaun Cliffs, 3 times the height of the Cliffs of Moher and a hike and a half. We have a very detailed and step-by-step hiking guide to these cliffs here.
There are countless other stunning beaches, drives, a deserted village and so much more to do on Achill. Check out our guide to Achill Island here.
Take a Trip to Newport
Newport is a picturesque town located about 15 minutes from Mulranny. Situated on the shores of Clew Bay and at the foot of the Nephin Beg mountain range, Newport has become a busy little town the last years.
The town itself is steeped in history and culture, with attractions such as the Burrishoole Abbey and the Great Western Greenway cycle route passes through the town.
As we mentioned earlier, the section from Mulranny to Newport along the Greenway is beautiful. Why not cycle there and back on a nice afternoon?
When passing through, you’ll notice the iconic and beautiful 7 Arches Bridge over the Black Oak River, which originates from the 19th century. It carried the tracks of the railway line which passed through here until 1937.
Newport is also known for its lively music and arts scene, with regular festivals and events throughout the year. Newport is also home to the famous ‘Kelly’s black pudding’, and next to the butcher where this is sold is an excellent little spot for lunch: Kelly’s Kitchen.
The Grainne Mhaol restaurant and pub down the other end of the town also has some great food, and if you’re lucky, there’ll be music on at the weekends and during the summer months.
Take a Trip to Westport
Westport is the tourism hub of Mayo and for good reason. Nestled under the peak of Croagh Patrick, and along the shores of Clew Bay, this town is bustling in the summer months.
There is a ton of things to do and see, along with some excellent eateries and pubs. Westport is a wonderful place for a day trip. You can stroll arount the colourful streets or take a ramble through the magical grounds of Westport House…the list goes on…
Instead of trying to squeeze all highlights into a few paragraphs, have a look here at our detailed guide to Westport.
Where to Stay in Mulranny
Mulranny Park Hotel
There is a good selection of places to stay in Mulranny. The most obvious would be the Mulranny Park Hotel.
This is a wonderful option and also has an indoor pool and gym which residents and non-residents (for a price) can avail of. There are some amazing views over Clew Bay from most of the rooms.
There is a great restaurant/bar area, as well as the Nephin restaurant, offering some great local dishes in a great setting. Maybe the ‘John Lennon Deluxe Room’ is available? Have a look here for photos and rates.
This bed and breakfast is in a perfect location in the village of Murlanny, close to everything you need and with the nearby beaches within walking distance.
Guests here comment on the friendliness of the hosts, the incredible location and the excellent breakfast. It has an exceptional rating of 9.5 from Booking.com. Check out some photos and rates here.
McLoughlin’s pub and restaurant also offers rooms and if the views are half as good as from the bar, then you’ll have some sight to wake up to in the morning!
Guests commented on the cleanliness of the rooms, the comfort of the beds and the perfect location. You won’t have far to go home after a few pints downstairs! Click here for photos and rates.
Mulranny Bay Apartment
Self-catering is always an option we like and this final place on our list looks quite amazing. Mulranny Bay Apartment is brand new and the interior is beautifully modern and equipped with everything a modern-day apartment should have.
You are within walking distance of everything and to the front you’ll be spoilt with beautiful sea views. Guests commented on the very comfortable beds, along with the host ‘not skimping on comfort and quality’. This place seems like a winner in our eyes. Click here for photos and rates.
FAQs about Mulranny
Here are some of the most common questions we have heard in relation to Mulranny.
What can you do in Mulranny?
There is a huge selection of things to do, from cycling the Greenway to visiting the glorious beaches, taking a trip to Wild Nephin National Park or going on a scenic drive along Clew Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
For those who are into walking, Mulranny is also an excellent destination as there are countless walks in and around the village.
When was the Mulranny Park Hotel first built?
The hotel was first opened in 1897 by the Midland Great Western Railways, who offered one of the first package deal holidays in Ireland. Included in the fare was the rate for both hotel and train journey.
The architecture, along with the nearby causeway walk, displays some beautiful architecture from the end of the Victorian era.
Where is Mulranny located?
Murlanny is located in County Mayo, in the west of Ireland. It enjoys a beautiful setting, with wonderful views out over Clew Bay, Croagh Patrick, Clare Island and beyond. It is only 25 minutes away from Achill Island and a half an hour from Westport.
As you can tell, we are big fans of Mulranny. It has a ton to offer and is an excellent destination for a weekend away or even longer.
The incredible amount of activities on offer, coupled with the spectacular scenery, lively pubs and great places to eat ticks all the boxes, albeit in a smaller package than the nearby, bigger town of Westport.
If it’s a quieter destination is a priority on your west of Ireland trip, we highly recommend visiting. Also, it looks as though neary Achill Island will be booked out for most of the summer due to the sucess of The Banshees of Inisherin, and Murlanny would be an excellent alternative choice to stay.
If you have any queries about Mulranny or indeed anywhere in this region, we’d be delighted to help. Is Mulranny a place you plan to visit?