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13 THINGS FOR KIDS TO DO IN CASTLEBAR

Funster Indoor Play Centre | www.funster.ie | Breaffy Road Business Park, Castlebar | Tel: 094 903 8939

Breaffy Buddies Kids’ Club | At Breaffy House Hotel | www.breaffyhouseresort.com/kids-camps-hotels-mayo.html | Tel: 094 902 2033

Children’s Playgrounds | There are playgrounds in Castlebar at the entrance to the tennis club; at rear of the Lough Lannagh lake; and at Castlebar Town Park

Robotics Workshops | www.colmac.ie | Colman: 087 612 8644 | Junior builders, robo engineers and lego workshops

Vivian’s Kids Cooking 4 Life | Call: 087 689 6973 | Facebook: @vivianskidscooking | Kids learn practical and nutritional skills for life, baking and cooking dishes from scratch!

Princess Parties at Kelly’s Hair & Beauty Salon | Castle Street | Tel: 094 902 2973

Play dress up! | Visit All Affairs Fancy Dress Shop at Moneen Industrial Estate | Tel: 094 904 4570

Go to the movies | Mayo Movie World has a weekly kids’ club as well as ‘movies with babies’ shows for parents with young, pre-school children | Tel: 094 902 7777 | www.mayomovieworld.ie

Mayo Leisure Point | Everything from bowling and laser quest to Nokey’s Adventure Land and arcade games (next to the cinema) | Tel: 094 902 5473

Feed your kids well at Café Rua | Winner of the 2017 All-Ireland Irish Restaurant Awards ‘Best Kids Size Me’ menu, which is judged on the size and nutritional value of meals for children

Go for a hot chocolate with mini marshmallows! | Take the kids to the Belgian chocolate heaven that is Helena Chocolates café on Cavendish Lane | Tel: 094 902 2755

Have a sweet time! | Find more than 100 different types of sweets at Eureka! sweet shop on Castle Street | Tel: 094 903 5142

Horkan’s Garden & Pet Centre | Visit the fish, reptiles, parrots and rabbits... if you’re here at Christmas time, come to see the reindeer! Horkan’s is also home to the popular Bay Leaf restaurant

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16 SPORTY THINGS TO DO IN CASTLEBAR

Anyone for tennis? | Six state-of-the-art all-weather courts await at Castlebar Tennis Club. The courts are covered by an air-supported dome and are floodlit at night  | Tel: 094 902 3644

Go swimming! | Fancy a dip? There’s a huge new pool being built at the moment but for now, choose from Castlebar Swimming Pool (094 902 1357), Castle Leisure Club (094 902 6749) or the pool at Breaffy House Hotel (094 9022033)

Bikes & Boards | Rent a bicycle and hit the Greenway, or take to the water and hire a boat or stand-up paddle with this sister company of Mayo Adventure Experience | Lough Lannagh Holiday Village | Tel: 087 436 3310 or 087 752 5934

The Bike Clinic | Gents, ladies and children’s bike rental. Children’s seats, trailers and tag alongs also available | Springfield | Tel: 094 90 24800

The Great Western Greenway | Explore the town’s greenway routes –  cycle from Castlebar to The National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough (10km) or from the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life – Lough Lannagh – Rehins Woods (16km)

Castlebar Golf Club | Play a round or two at the club that hosted former American Vice-President Joe Biden in 2016 on a visit to the county of his ancestors. Prior to his visit, Secret Service agents were spotted diving in the club’s water hazards! Castlebar Golf Club is a classic 18-hole golf course located 5km from Castlebar at Rocklands | Tel: 094 9021649 | www.castlebargolfclub.ie

Run a 5km! | Castlebar Fit for Life meets every Monday at 7pm and Thursday at 8pm at the car park beside Aldi. Newbies always welcome. Meanwhile, Castlebar Park Run – a free weekly, timed recreational run – takes place every Saturday morning. Meet at 9.30am at the tennis club | www.mayoac.com | www.parkrun.ie/castlebar

Become a black belt! | Train with Castlebar Shotokan Karate Club (087 267 3062) or try Haedong Kumdo, Savate or kickboxing with White Tiger Martial Arts (087 295 1006 or 087 640 7263)

Get hot to trot! | Learn some salsa, rueda, merengue, bachata or even some cha cha cha (dahling!) at Bridge Street bar on Thursdays from 8pm – 10pm | 086 306 8590

Zumba | Let loose, get fit and dance up a sweat with some zumba moves at the tennis club | Call 086 773 4245 for class times

Hit the gym | Castlebar has lots of options when it comes to gyms and personal training. They include Mayo footballing star Andy Moran’s ‘The Movement’ (085 878 1074), Functional Fitness (087 6523603 or 086 3068006), Castle Leisure Club (094 902 6749), Ultrafit Studio (085 806 3400), Breaffy Club (094 9044150), Sheer Fitness (086 058 1956) and LookFit (087 6919111).

Bubble Football | A fun alternative to regular football, why not try to be the next Ronaldo while playing while encased within a bubble (also know as a zorb). Easy! | Tel: 087 207 5508

Visit McHale Park | Home of Mayo GAA & Castlebar Mitchels | Just make sure one of its 38,000 seats is yours on match day! | Tel: 094 925 0487 | www.mayogaa.com

Make a racquet! | An Sportlann (094 902 2983, next to McHale Park) and the De La Salle (094 902 4828) sports halls are the places to go if you fancy a spot of racquetball, squash or basketball

Castlebar Celtic | The town’s soccer HQ. To book an astroturf pitch, call 087 192 4100. For fixtures, call 087 225 5448 | www.castlebarceltic.wordpress.com

Jump around! | Jumping World fitness trampolines have bounced onto Castlebar’s fitness scene | Tel: 087 354 7438

 

 

 Mick Baynes and Conor Geraghty enjoying a meejum at Johnny McHale's. Picture: Keith Heneghan/Phocus.ie

Mick Baynes and Conor Geraghty enjoying a meejum at Johnny McHale's. Picture: Keith Heneghan/Phocus.ie

DRINKING IN CASTLEBAR

Have a meejum in Johnny’s | A very Castlebar thing to do is to have a meejum of Guinness in Johnny McHale’s pub at New Line. It’s not a full pint or a half pint... it’s somewhere in between. Find it here in one of the oldest pubs in Castlebar – you won’t find a meejum of the black stuff in very other many places in the land.

Wine and cheese tastings | From one of Castlebar’s oldest pubs to one of its newest, don’t leave town without having a tasting paddle or cheese and wine in Bridge Street on a Wednesday. Settle into a snug and the only decision you’ll have to make for the rest of the night is whether it’s going to be beer or whiskey from their fantastic local, national and international selection. (Top tip: Afterwards, head to The Cobweb for one of their famous Wednesday night sessions – who says Christmas comes but once a year?!)

Of all the gin joints... Castlebar is on a mission to become the Gin Capital of Ireland and is home to the country’s first permanent gin trail. At the moment, there are 51 different gins available in the town. You can beGIN the trail at any of the 15 pubs on the route (The Bungalow, Bridge Street, Mulroy’s, Mick Byrne’s, The Irish House, Johnny McHale’s, Bar One, Coady’s, Bosh, The Yew Tree, The Cobweb, Rocky’s, The Castle Inn, Tolster’s and the Connaught Inn). Just pick up a pocket-sized Castlebar Gin Trail booklet (available from all of the 15 pubs) to find out about each of the featured gins. The guide also features a handy map so you won't get lost! Please remember to drink responsibly. | facebook.com/CastlebarGinTrail and www.CastlebarGinTrail.ie

Drink Mayo beer | You'll find local beers aplenty in Castlebar, including offerings from West Mayo Brewery in Islandeady, Mescan Brewery in Westport, Reel Deel in Crossmolina and Achill Brewery. From Belgian-style beer made by vets to a home-grown brew made on a family farm, keep it local with a tasty tipple.

Find the best coffee in Castlebar | Get your caffeine fix at some of the town’s best coffee purveyors. Try out Rua’s own special blend from local roasters Bean West; Cloud Picker coffee in Bridge Street; a special butcher’s brew in De Burca’s on Main Street; Market Square’s Galway Roast or Le Patisseria Di Angelo; or any of the independent cafés in the town centre.

Have a cuppa! | There is no shortage of tea options in Mayo’s county town. The Olive Tree boasts flavours from around the world while The Brewery Cup and McHugh’s pride themselves on the perfect cuppa.

 
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EATS & TREATS IN CASTLEBAR

Buy chocolates from a World Chocolate Ambassador | Castlebar’s answer to Willy Wonka, master chocolatier and Antwerp native, Dirk Schonkeren runs Helena Chocolates café and chocolate shop on Cavendish Lane. You’ll want to taste everything! Their gift boxes make fantastic presents – if you can manage not to eat them all straight away... | Tel: 094 902 2755
Go to market! | Market Square – the town’s traditional trading square – comes alive on a Friday. Treat yourself to a catch of the day from the fish stall or stock up on your five-a-day from the fresh veg purveyors.
Relax at Rua | With two premises in Castlebar, Rua is a genuine local success story. The multi award-winning cafés and deli are a must for foodies. Rua’s very special Mayo mezze board (available at New Antrim Street and Spencer Street) is a perfect example of the very best produce the county has to offer, while its homemade brown bread, cakes, pickles and dips are not to be missed. In the deli on Spencer Street, stock up for a picnic on The Mall and be sure to include a bottle of Fionntan Gogarty’s Wildwood Vinegar (blackberry is our fave!). If it’s good enough for royalty...
House of Plates | An exciting addition to the town’s burgeoning dining scene, House of Plates offers up mouthwatering tasting plates with provenance and invention at the core of this restaurant. Also a great spot for brunch at the weekend.
Sweets central | Satisfy your sugar cravings at traditional sweet shop, Eureka! on Castle Street. | Tel: 094 903 5142
The Olive Tree & Appetite | Experience a taste of the Mediterranean at Castlebar gems, The Olive Tree (Newtown) and Appetite (Linenhall St). From delicious falafels to a legendary chicken korma, The Olive Tree's motto: ‘Eat healthy, live healthy’ carries through. Don't miss Appetite's delicious soups, wraps and salads. Prepare to be wowed!

Bar One | Winner of the 2017 All-Ireland Irish Restaurant Awards ‘Best Casual Dining’, this Castlebar favourite has more awards than you can shake a stick at! The most recent is Georgina Campbell's 'Pub of the Year' accolade. Advance bookings recommended in the evenings. (Top tip: If you're feeling under the weather, ask for the recipe for their secret Indian cold remedy!)
Gastro Pubs | More pub food highlights not to be missed in Castlebar, include Mulroy’s (Chef Toby was crowned Catex Best Chef in Ireland 2017), The Yew Tree, Bosh, Cox's and The Connaught Inn. For soup and toasties, try the Irish House.
Hotel dining | In town, the Ivy Tower, the Harlequin and the TF all serve food on a daily basis; while a few miles out the road, Breaffy House flies the flag.
The Bay Leaf | The Bay Leaf at Horkan’s is always a popular choice, particularly on a Sunday afternoon. Arrive early!
Go for chips | Castlebar’s most famous burger, Caffola's Big C, has been filling the faces of locals for decades. Not to be missed! Meanwhile, across the road, Danolla's has picked up the 'Best Takeaway In Connacht' award for the second year in a row! And we must reserve a special mention for the curry chips from Blue Thunder...!

Have a BBQ | If the rain looks like it's going to stop for a few hours, why not organise some fun in the sun at Johnny McHale's, Cox’s or Breaffy House?
Foody Tours | Mayo is packed full of incredible producers and their fabulous fare is showcased in Castlebar’s top restaurants, cafés and delis. If you fancy a guided tour, check out www.foodytours.ie to see if there are any upcoming events.
De Burca’s traditional butcher shop and deli on Main St is a great place to pick up lunch and dinner, all at the same time! From mini lemon tarts to beef salad boxes, you'll find top quality food in this family-run establishment.
Have a 99 from Gavin's | Ice-cream at The Mall!
Apple tart from the Store House | Rave reviews.

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MORE THINGS TO DO IN CASTLEBAR

For the most up-to-date calendar of events in town, click on our 'What's On' page, courtesy of Love Castlebar. You'll find some more suggestions below:

➳ Try to get tickets to the monthly Castlebar Comedy Club!
➳ Join Castlebar Library's book club
➳ Go social dancing
➳ Spend an evening at the chess club
➳ Listen: Live music – 7 days a week
➳ Retail therapy – grab a ‘CastleBARGAIN’!
➳ Check out the myriad charity shops
➳ Visit the Linenhall Arts Centre and Gallery or take in a show in the theatre space
➳ Take a crafts workshop in the Family Centre
➳ Go on a historical tour with Brían Hoban
➳ Visit Mayo Memorial Peace Park
➳ Walk, run or crawl around the beautiful Lough Lannagh! Check out the outdoor gym and Lough Lannagh Holiday Village's wormery and ‘bug hotel’ while you're there!
➳ Take a stroll around The Mall (bring a picnic)
➳ Test drive a car
➳ Visit Mayo Crystal's showroom
➳ Hair today, gone tomorrow?! Did you know that Castlebar has more beauticians and hairdressers than anywhere else in the county? Make the most of it and enjoy a pamering session!
➳ Go to the cinema
➳ Head to Mayo Leisure Point for some bowling and laser quest
➳ Visit the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life at Turlough (it's a short drive from Castlebar but you can also pedal there on the Greenway!) and take a workshop while you're there
➳ Get a tattoo!
➳ Visit Castlebar's Saturday market at the tennis club (they sometimes hold knitting classes there too)
➳ Buy a copy of 'A Stroll Through Castlebar’ in Castle Bookshop and take a self-guided tour of the town
➳ While you're in Castle Bookshop, check out the many works of local authors, signed books, guides to town
➳ Listen to CRC or MidWest
➳ Read the news! Pick up a copy of the local Connaught Telegraph, Western People, Mayo News and Mayo Advertiser
➳ Get creative in Mandel’s Art Shop
➳ Have your picture taken at Heverin’s or Tots & Tails
➳ Spot the murals around the town as part of Love Castlebar's 'Spaces Between' project
➳ Visit the tourist office
➳ Take in the views from the booster station and The Windy Gap
➳ Find Castlebar's oldest graves, visit its historic churches, statues, the 1798 memorial or find the house where Charlie Haughey was born
➳ Take a Wild Atlantic Way photography workshop with John Mee
➳ Try your luck at Castlebar Card Club and casino
➳ Explore Downtown Records – Castlebar’s last remaining record shop is well worth a visit
➳ Enjoy a show at The TF

 

 Pic: John Mee

Pic: John Mee

FESTIVALS IN CASTLEBAR

Castlebar is home to some wonderful annual festivals and events, including:

➳ The International Four Day Walks Festival (June/July)
➳ Mayo International Choral Festival (May)
➳ RoolaBoola Children's Arts Festival (October)
➳ Love Lannagh Festival (April)
➳ Mayo Street Food Festival (September)
➳ Wild Atlantic Words Literary Festival (October)
➳ Bonamh Market & Heritage Day (August)
➳ St Patrick's Day Festival (March)
➳ Western People West of Ireland Women's Mini Marathon (April/May)
➳ Mayo Pink Ribbon Cycle (May)
➳ Culture Night (September)