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Killala

in County Mayo in the West of Ireland

Location

Killala (in Irish: Cill Ala) is a beautiful coastal village 6.5 miles north-west of Ballina in north Mayo, en route to Ballycastle, and the world famous Céide Fields which date back over 5,000 years.

Tourism

Killala is a friendly and welcoming tourist destination with many amenities and a host of activities to occupy visitors of all ages. A strong tradition of fishing prevails in the area and the village harbour is a focal point for many visiting fishermen. Other locations for fishing include river, shore and offshore fishing.

There are beautiful, unspoilt beaches in the region, including nearby Ross - a Blue Flag beach, excellent for swimming and other watersports.

If bird-watching or seal-spotting is your fascination, a medley of waterside birds can be spotted, such as cormorants, gulls, brent geese, ducks and more. Seals can often be seen in Killala Bay or nearby Bartra Island.

Killala Round Tower

An ancient round tower dominates the Killala skyline and wherever you happen to be in the village, the round tower is always visible. It is one of the best examples of round towers in Mayo and is evidence of the historic distinction of the village as an ecclesiastical centre. The Killala tower was most likely used as a belfry, as many round towers were - the Irish name 'Cloig Teach' denotes this.

The origins of the Killala diocese date from the time of St Patrick who appointed his disciple, St Muredach, over the church there - dating back to 442 or 443 AD.

There is a Church of Ireland cathedral in the centre of Killala, which was built in 1670 from the remains of a ruined medieval Catholic cathedral that had stood on the same site. The adjoining graveyard has a 9th century souterrain with numerous chambers.

History

Killala has established itself as a popular location for historians, not least because of it association with the famous rebellion of 1798. In August of that year, General Humbert arrived into Kilcummin pier from France and combined with the Irish forces against the English forces in the area. Killala was also the site of the last land battle of that rebellion when, on Sept 23rd 1798, the British army defeated a rebel Irish force there.

This year is chronicled in Irish history as the Year of the French and a book and television history celebrate this unique event. Killala was used as a major location for the 1981 multi million pound film "The Year of the French" (based on the book by Thomas Flanagan). In 1998 Killala celebrated the bicentenary by twinning with a town in Chauvé in France.

Archaeology

There are many sites of archaeological interest in Killala and its immediate environs, including the following:

  • Moyne Abbey
  • Rosserk Abbey (founded in 1400 AD as an early Franciscan Friary)
  • Rathfran Abbey (Dominican Priory 1274 AD)
  • Meelick Castle
  • Humberts Rock
  • Céide Fields (the oldest enclosed farms in the world) are a short distance away near Ballycastle.

Population from Census

  • 569 (2006)
  • 650 (2002)
  • 657 (1996)

Accommodation

A choice of Bed and Breakfast or Rental Accommodation can be found in Killala with an excellent selection of Pubs and Restaurants with traditional music and food including fresh seafood dishes.

Other services include a Post Office, Shops, Taxis, Chemist, Garage and there is a daily bus service in the town.

Community Centre

Killala Community Centre is one of the largest centres in the north west catering for handball, football, soccer, badminton, volley ball, squash and tennis. It has a fully equipped kitchen, meeting rooms, tourist office and community council offices.

For further information contact the Community Council office:

Tel: + 353 (0) 96 32166
Fax: + 353 (0) 96 32484