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About 5 km north of the village of Ballycastle in Mayo county near the Irish coast stands a striking headland called Downpatrick Head. Towering 126 feet above the sea, it offers fantastic views of the Atlantic, the Staggs of Broadhaven to the west, and high cliffs along the shore. The name Downpatrick is derived from a time when St Patrick himself founded a church there. You can still see the ruins of the church building, a stone cross and holy well at the top of Downpatrick Head. This was once a popular pilgrim destination, and today the crowds still gather here on the last Sunday of July – known as Garland Sunday – to hear mass at this sacred site. During the Second World War a coastguard watch-house was constructed here which is now used to view the many species of birds that visit the high cliffs.

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© Amusing Planet, 2013.


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