County Mayo (west of Ireland) is blessed by an amazing Atlantic coastline. This year we have not had much beach weather but we try to make the most of it when the sun does shine.
Beltra beach is just outside Westport. It is just one beach of a number in Clew Bay. It’s a lovely place to swim as the relatively shallow waters of the bay warm up quickly. There is lots to explore; rocky shore and rock pools when the tide is out; wildflowers where sand meets fields; and plenty of shells to collect too.
Above the beach rises Croagh Patrick. This mountain is a pilgrimage mountain. Before being a site of Christian pilgrimage, it was a site of pagan worship when people are thought to have gathered to celebrate the beginning of the harvest. The main day for climbing the mountain is the last Sunday of July. Up to twenty thousand people made the assent in previous years. This year, for the first time, people were urged not to climb it because weather conditions on the day were so bad (rain and wind), which says a lot about the kind of summer we are experiencing!