Co. Mayo's Peninsulas

The Dun Chaochain Peninsula

The Dun Chaocháin peninsula  is one of great physical beauty and has retained many of its old traditions and culture.

The Irish language is still in full vigour as the Kilcommon parish, Erris

The spectacular Dun Chaochain cliffs have featured in various walking guidebooks and walks during the summer periods are organised by Comhar Dún Chaocháin Teo in Carrowteige, the main village on the Dún Chaocháin peninsula.

The environs of Benwee Head, with its cliffs, arches, stacks and islands, offers some of the most dramatic coastal scenery in Ireland. These cliffs tower over Broadhaven Bay in the Atlantic Ocean and there are way-marked cliff walking trails along them for which maps can be obtained from Comhar Dún Chaocháin Teo in Carrowteige. To appreciate the cliffs fully, you need to see them from the sea.[1] Benwee Head is in the townland of Kilgalligan in the parish of Kilcommon, Erris, a townland whose microtoponyms (field place names) and folklore traditions has been studied in detail in the 1975 book, The Living Landscape: Kilgalligan, Erris, Co. Mayo by Seamas O Cathain & Patrick O’Flanagan.

An Bhinn Bhuí is the 1001st highest summit in Ireland and is all the more spectacular as its north sides drop vertically into the wild Atlantic Ocean. An Bhinn Bhuí is the most northerly summit in the North Mayo area.


Benwee Head at 255m high is the crowning glory.


The Stags of Broadhaven (a group of four precipitous rocky islets rising to almost 100m) are located about 2 km north of Benwee Head and are a site of ornithological importance.

The Stags of Broad Haven are a group of five cliffed rocky islets with a total area of 4 ha and rising to almost 100 m, above sea level and are about 2 km north of the cliffs of Benwee Head. The sea has cut an east/west tunnel entirely through An Teach Beag. The Stags are a popular site for visiting divers, sub aqua teams and kayakers.
Sea Birds

Stags of Broad Haven SPA
These rocks host large numbers of breeding seabirds. This is the only location in Ireland where Leach’s Storm Petrel and, possibly, Great Skua breed.

The looped walk incorporates the Children of Lir Tir Saile sculpture [2] – the well-known legend tells the tale of children who were turned into swans and condemned to wander the countryside for 900 years. The key feature of the loop is the black ditch – a dry ditch which runs parallel to the coastline and clifftops and probably marked the boundaries of lands in previous times.

The looped walks along the cliffs are marked with red, green and blue arrows according to the type of walk the individual or group wishes to follow

Ceathrú Thaidhg (anglicised as Carrowteige)[1] is a Gaeltacht[2] village and townland on the Dún Chaocháin peninsula in northwestern County Mayo, Ireland. It is within Kilcommon (Cill Chomáin) parish in the barony of Erris. Carrowteige is a relatively small townland with an acreage of just 403 acres (1.63 km2).


Chaocháin, after whom the peninsula is named, was a legendary giant of Celtic sagas (poss 1st century AD) who had only one eye. His image was represented on the slopes of the hills overlooking Sruwaddacon Bay when the Tír Saile was created during the 1990s.

In 1841, a road was approved to run from Glenamoy to Carrowteige. In 1842 the drains for the road were partially opened. By 1843 a report declared that ‘the chief part of the draining, forming and sodding of the road from Glenamoy to Portacloy has been executed'(Ballina Advertiser, March 10, 1843) but by 1845 the road was still far from completed. Eventually in 1846, it was declared completed. There were no bridges on the road. At Muingnabo, the river bed was paved at a ford and remained that way until 1886 when the Annie Brady Bridge was erected. During the Irish Famine and its aftermath, emigration was a way of life from this area. The emigrant and their family parted at this river ford, most never to meet again – ‘here indeed were witnessed, scenes of lamentation almost as bad as death, for in most cases in those days it meant separation forever, a living death. Friends and exiles alike carried the painful remembrance of the sad parting’ (Corduff, I.F.C. Ms.1242 p. 438). Annie Brady was the wife of the Inspector of Fisheries for the area who witnessed these sad partings and the difficulty in crossing the ford. She raised money to build a bridge at the site, so that the poor of Erris could travel further with their loved ones. In 1933, a flood carried away the Annie Brady Bridge but it was replaced and is still there today.

Kilcommon people have a reputation of protest which may be in their genes. In the 1950s the roads through Dún Chaocháin were in terrible condition. Having failed to draw the County Council’s attention to the matter, Harry Corduff, national schoolteacher refused to pay his road taxes. He was imprisoned in Mountjoy Jail for a week. Public support for his cause was great.

Throughout Erris until about 1900, the custom was ‘in most cottages, the family lived and slept in one room using the others as store rooms. they knew no other kind of house life. In this one room the family retired to sleep, only partially undressed. Often the only furniture in the room was a chair, a couple of small wooden stools, with a cooking pot, a kettle and a tea pot and some cups'(Micks, The Congested Districts Board. p. 92). The biggest industry was that of lace schools. The Department of Lands and Fisheries took over the lace schools from The Congested Districts Board about 1923 and formed Gaeltarra Eireann, a semi-state body, to manage them but to curback expenditure the lace school in Carrowteige was closed in 1976. Sewing and knitting industry gave most of the employment in both factories and homes over the years.

A Catholic Church, ‘Church of the Immaculate Conception’ was built and opened in 1972. Mass here is in the Irish language.

[edit]Cliff Walks


There are several looped cliff walks which start and end at Carrowteige village. Maps are available from Comhar Dún Chaocháin Teo, Sean Scoil in the village. The walks are of various lengths and suitable for individuals and groups. This area would have great appeal to walkers who love wilderness, high cliffs which overlook Broadhaven Bay and the wider Atlantic Ocean, nature and wildlife. They take walkers past some of the Tír Saile sculpture trail, a trail of sculptures to commemmorate over 5,000 years of human habitation in this part of North Mayo.

Kilcommon (Irish: Cill Chomáin) is a parish in Erris, north Mayo consisting of two large peninsulas; Dún Chaocháin and Dún Chiortáin. It consists of 37 townlands, some of which are so remote that they have no inhabitants. Habitation is concentrated mainly along both sides of Sruwaddacon Bay which flows into Broadhaven Bay, in villages including Glengad, Pollathomas, Rossport and Carrowteige, and in the Glenamoy area further inland.[1

The view from Dún Chiortán promontory fort, Glengad, Kilcommon, Erris.

Kilcommon parish takes it name from St. Comán who lived around the end of the sixth century AD. The saint is allegedly buried in the old church yard at Pollatomais, near to the entrance where the walls of the old Church can still be seen. In the Ordnance Survey Letters of 1838 (O’Donovan), the writers says “of the old church itself only a part of one gable remains from which little can be learned of its style or age”.[2][3]


Much of the Kilcommon landscape of elevated moorland, borders the Atlantic coast. It is a wild and rugged landscape with large tracts of blanket bog, tiny isolated villages, white sandy beaches and towering cliffs of Benwee Head which, for thousands of years has remained relatively unscathed by over-development by successive generations of Kilcommon inhabitants. Farming is small scale non-intensive. Situated at the mouth of Broadhaven Bay, on its 21st century surface, Kilcommon is characterised by its scenery, huge towering cliffs and rugged sea stacks interspersed with miles of white sandy beaches, tranquil islands and vast tracts of blanket bog with its rare and fragile biodiversity. Unlike the west of Ireland landscape further south in Galway and Clare, there are few huge rocks randomly scattered across this landscape.

The blanket bog dominates the landscape changing its hues and texture in accordance with the seasons – sometimes fresh and brightest green, sometimes purple and gold and covered with billowing white bog cotton, and, in November and December, the wonderful rustic tones of golden orange/red species light up the winter landscape. At all times the bog is a living habitat for many species of insects, spiders and plants for whom this is the perfect habitat not found anywhere else. Grey fronted geese fly across on their way to their breeding grounds further north and it is possible to spot the corncrake and the rare Red-necked Phalarope whose only breeding ground left in Ireland is in this remote corner of the country.

Kilcommon parish comprises a very ancient landscape of glittering schist and pale creamy psammite along with some two billion year old pre-Cambrian pink striped gneisses. Boulders of snow white quartz which intruded into the bedrock from geological turmoil below, some 450 million years ago (Silurian period) are to be found in the western part of the parish. The bedrock, exposed when the blanket bog is cut away to provide fuel for the rural community here, demonstrate that this land has seen geomorphological turmoil over the last two billion years – periods of intense heat, intense cold, pressure and tectonic shifts which have moulded and remoulded the landscape into what it is today.[4]

There are two main peninsulas in the parish – Dún Chiortáin and Dún Chaocháin. They are named for two ‘giant’ brothers who live on in the folklore of the area. They each had a Dún or a promontory fort and folktales relate that they shared kitchen utensils which they used to throw across Sruwaddacon Bay (Sruth Fhada Chonn – Bay of the Long Hound) which divided their territories.



The Stags (or Stacks) of Broadhaven, Kilcommon Parish, Erris

Sea cliffs run along much of the coast from the 892-foot (272 m) high Benwee Head and along the north coastline to Glinsc mountain. The rocky islands known as The Stags, pictured below are to be seen off the North Kilcommon coastline.[5]


Unclassified megalith on northern slopes of Faulagh Mountain, Kilcommon parish, Erris

The fossilised remains of ancient Scots Pine trees which were part of the ancient forests which covered most of inland Ireland after the retreat of the last Ice Age some 15,000 years ago are to be seen across the landscape, exposed by turf cutting in recent years. There are many archaeological remains throughout the parish also, mainly in the western portion as the land to the east was, and still remains to a great extent, inaccessible and uninhabited. The area has a very large number of megalithic tomb remains and most types of megalithic are represented although because there has been no money spent on archaeological investigation in this parish, the archaeological resource is little documented. In the eastern portion of the parish there is evidence of the presence of possible crannogs in lakes which point towards some habitation in the past. In recent times the growth of blanket bog, conifer forestry plantations and the absence of roads through the area, has made townlands such as Bunalty, Barrooskey, Baralty, Srahnaplaigh and Muingnabo difficult to access except by the most intrepid of explorers. In the western parts of the parish, archaeological remains stretching from the Mesolithic through Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Early Christian, Plantations, to the current day are widely seen.[2][6][7][8][9][10]


On Cnoc Nansai, Graughil. This may be a prehistoric way-marked walk across the mountains – Comhar Dún Chaocháin Teo

There are several way-marked walks along the remote cliffs of Benwee Head in the north of the parish. Maps have been published by Comhar Dún Chaocháin Teo, Ceathru Thaidhg as Dún Chaocháin Walks and Suiloídi Iorrais.[11][11][12][13] [14][15][16]

Much of Kilcommon (Cill Chomáin) parish is Gaelic speaking and Catholic Mass is celebrated in Irish in Ceathru Thaidhg in the far north of the parish. There is an Irish language summer school in Ceathru Thaidhg.

[edit]Kilcommon Churches


There are five Roman Catholic Churches in the parish namely:- Christ the King Church, Aughoose, St. Paul’s Church, Glenamoy, St. Patrick’s Church, Inver, Star of the Sea Church, Cornboy, and Séipéal Muire gan Smál, Ceathru Thaidhg [17]

During the 18th century, at a time known as the Penal Times, the Dublin government restricted the number and movement of Roman Catholic clergy. At that time the parish of Kilcommon comprised all of ‘mainland’ Erris (from Claggan, Ballycroy to Portacloy). That territorial name and boundary is still used for civil administration. [18]

[edit]Kilcommon Townlands


Kilcommon used to refer to almost all of Erris but it was so large that in the early 19th century, it was further divided into three districts – Ballycroy, Kilcommon West and Kilcommon East. In 1873 it was again reorganised and divided into four parishes – Kilmore, Ballycroy, Kiltane and Kilcommon which remain to this day. There are 37 townlands in the modern parish of Kilcommon. Some of these are:-




Sruwaddacon Bay from Aughoose td.

Aghoose townland is on the Dún Chiortáin peninsula overlooking the lower reaches of Sruth Fada Conn Bay. It consists of 898 acres (3.63 km2). There was a little chapel along the stream at Lenamore in the 18th century (a rare sight due to the Penal Laws at that time). Until the 1950s Aghoose had a dance hall where the young people flocked from outlying areas. There was a lace school organised by the Congested Districts Board. Lace schools were at their prime during the World Wars when they made buttons for uniforms and other goods for foreign armies. Later on they turned to knitted and crocheted goods. From the early 20th century local headquarters of the Lady Dudley Nursing Scheme was based at Aghoose. The nurses based here cared for patients across the whole parish. In the early 1970s the Nursing Scheme was absorbed into the current Health Services structure. Aghoose townland is close to Bellanaboy where the Corrib Gas pipeline tunnel is proposed to come above ground again. The people of Aghoose are opposed to the development but a large portion of Lenamore has been sold to Shell.


Barnatra straddles the parishes of Kilcommon and Kilmore at the lower end of Broadhaven Bay. Situated at a crossroads, its roads lead westwards into Belmullet and the Mullet Peninsula, northwards out the Dun Chaocháin peninsula to Glengad and Pollathomas, eastwards to Glenamoy and the Ceide Fields and southwards to Carrowmore Lake, Bangor Erris and hence eventually to Castlebar and Ballina some 80 km distant. John Healy runs a fairly large general store, shop and petrol station at Barnatra which serves much of the Kilcommon area.[19]


This townland consists of an area of 1,050 acres (4.2 km2), most of which is now enclosed around a fossil fuel refinery under heavy security which has been built on Irish government Coillte controlled afforested conifer plantation land by Royal Dutch Shell. The townland is situated at the most south easterly point of the Sruwaddacon Bay estuary. The Aughoose River, also known as the Yellow river flows through the townland on its way to Carrowmore Lake, the drinking water supply for the whole of Erris. Found along the river bed is the soft yellow subsoil which gives the townland its name. The townland has flooded many times over the years and people have been killed in these floods.[20] In the 19th century the home of the Swift family in this townland was a well known house of hospitality where any travellers were welcomed for overnight stays as they travelled between Belmullet and Ballycastle/Killala.




The Gaeltacht townland of Cill Ghallagáin (Kilgalligan), Erris, North Mayo. Portacloy Beach in the bottom left

Carrowteige (Irish: Ceathru Thaidhg) is a Gaeltacht village situated close to the end of the Dún Chaocháin peninsula. It consists of 403 acres (1.63 km2). It has a Catholic Church, a national school and a shop. Comhar Dún Chaocháin Teo is based in this village and way-marked cliff walks start from here.

[edit]Cill Ghallagháin

Cill Ghallagáin (English: Kilgalligan) is a coastal townland situated on the extreme north tip of the Dun Chiortáin peninsula in Kilcommon parish. There is a small village of the same name. It is a wild and rugged place of immense beauty overlooking Broadhaven Bay and the wider Atlantic Ocean. Notable for its massive microtoponymic collection and its ancient graveyard situated on the northern side of Sruwaddacon Bay.


Cornboy is a coastal townland on the Dún Chaocháin peninsula. It extends 2,755 acres (11.15 km2) in size. The village centre is now situated as far inland as the townland extends, close to Garterhill td. In the past the centre of population was based around the old chapel on the hill overlooking Broadhaven Bay. The people once lived further down close to Cornboy Pier but over the years blowing sand has moved the centre of population further from the extensive sand dune areas.

There is an area known as the ‘Sandhills Settlement’ which consists of settlement features, possibly cairns and middens where a population lived (possibly Iron Age). It is a large area consisting of large sand dunes and sandy beaches which sometimes becomes exposed after a storm but the next storm covers it up again with deep sand. The Gweedaney River rises at Portacloy and flows past the old chapel in the dunes into Sruth Fada Conn bay. The modern church is situated much further inland. Cornboy shares Knockadaff mountain with Garter Hill. Knockadaff was an electoral district of the Belmullet Poor Union and was a local administrative body of Erris. Cornboy was, at the end of the 19th century the most progressive village in the area. These days it has a community centre which serves meals at lunch-time and is a centre where some classes take place for local people.


Main article: Faulagh



Unclassified megalith on the northern slopes of Faulagh mountain – known locally as the Grey Stone

Faulagh Village lies on the southern slopes of the mountain of the same name overlooking Carrowmore Lake. Its area is 946 acres (3.83 km2) lying along the northern boundary of Carrowmore Lake. This remote spot, much of it blanketed in bog nowadays, belies its busy prehistoric past. There are many prehistoric megaliths and prehistoric field systems across its landscape and that of its neighbour, Muingerroon td.



Glengad (Glen of the Gads), also known as Dooncarton is a large townland stretching along the north western shores of Sruwaddacon Bay. Its name is derived from willows or ‘gads’ from the Cromwellian period when the native Irish were sent “to hell or to Connaught”. The settlers who came to Glengad brought with them the craft of basket weaving. They planted willow branches on wet sites in the townland and willows have grown in the streams of Glengad ever since. It is a linear village with individual houses and farms all along the main road. The land here was divided up by the Land Commission in the early 20th century and each farm is a narrow strip of land which runs from the mountain down to the sea, a remnant of the Rundale System of farming which can be seen in many areas of the parish. In recent years Glengad has been the scene for much of the Corrib gas controversy.




Glengad Stone Circle sits just below the 2003 landslide area, Kilcommon, Erris

Glinsk is a remote townland in Erris, North West Mayo. Glinsk Mountain is covered with blanket bog and rises steeply to overlook Broadhaven Bay and the Stags of Broadhaven, pictured below, from very high vertical cliffs continuing from the spectacular Benwee Head cliffs. Its area covers 2,054 acres (8.31 km2). There are currently no human inhabitants of this townland and the road past it was only tarred for the first time in 2004. There is the ruins of a 1798 English watch tower on the southern slopes of Glinsk mountain.


Gortbrack td. occupies a large section of the southern side of the western peninsula, Dun Chiortain. It is 1,070 acres (4.3 km2) in size. The Owenduff River flows through the townland It has much of archaeological interest due to its location along the south facing slopes along the coastline. There are many megaliths dating from the Neolithic period.




Inver village, Erris

Gortmelia is on the west side of the Dún Chiortáin peninsula overlooking Inver Bay. It is 1,237 acres (5.01 km2) in size. In the Tithe composition Book of 1834, Gortmelia was divided into three parts – Gortmelia Mills, Gortmellia Gallagher and Rookstown. Later in the raeable valuation Books the three areas are colled Gortmellia Mills, Gortmellia Gallagher and Gortmellia Houston.Today, the townland is in four areas: Gortmellia, Parkbaun, Ballur and Ballyhonry.


Irish: Inbhear Area: 663 acres (2.68 km2). This townland is situated on the western side of the Dún Chiortán peninsula overlooking Trá Kirtaan (Chiortáin’s Beach). The Owenduff River which rises in Knocknalower td. flows into Broadhaven Bay through Inver td. In 1636 Michael Cormuck lived in Inver Castle which was built close to the shore. While Cormuck laid claim to much of the land in Erris, the Protestant bishop had, according to the Stafford Inquisition of Mayo [2] which investigated the ownership of land in the county in the early 17th century, the “right of the sea all around Erris”.[22] The castle had fallen by 1802 and on its site today there is very little to be seen except its gate posts. Many cottages locally, now mostly in ruins, are constructed of particularly well masonried stone blocks, so presumably the castle was pilfered of its stonework due to population pressure in the years between 1802 and the Irish Famine some 40 years later. Several ships of the Spanish Armada and many other ships were lost on the rugged coastline of the Dún Chiortán peninsula over the years. The 17th century story of Brian Rua relates just such a story. This townland was the centre of sporting activity down through the years. Sports such as horse-racing and curragh racing were held at the Inver sand-banks. There are many megalithic relics in the Inver area. Its a pretty place on the southern slopes of the hills and gets a lot of sunshine throughout the year. This townland features in the story of the Táin Bó Flidhais and an archaeological mound found in Inver is alleged to be the burial place of the unfortunate husband of Flidhais when left stranded by the Kilcommon Celtic hero, Chiortain, after whom this peninsula is named.




Beautiful bog cotton – June/July

Owenanirragh td meaning River of the Black Mud, is an isolated area of conifer plantation which lies 6 kilometres northeast of Glenamoy, Co. Mayo. It is one of the largest sites in the Bog Restoration project [1] covering an area of 166 hectares, c. 100 hectares of which are planted with conifers. A portion of the site lies within the Glenamoy Bog Complex Special Area of Conservation. The blanket bog habitat within this SAC is one of the largest areas of the habitat in the country and is perhaps the best example of blanket bog occurring in an extreme oceanic environment. The SAC area in general has an excellent representation of typical blanket bog habitats. Of particular note is the occurrence of numerous flushes and streams, some of which are extensive and support rare plant species such as the moss Homalothecium nitens and the legally protected marsh saxifrage (Saxifraga hirculus).

Much of the afforested portion of the site comprises relatively young conifer trees under which there still exists a bog flora, albeit modified and species-poor. A substantial area of high quality, uplanted blanket bog also occurs within the site and this area contains many large pools. The bog vegetation is generally dominated by purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) and black bog-rush (Schoenus nigricans) while the blanket bog pools are characterised by a sparse flora which includes bog bean (Menyanthes trifoliata), many-stemmed spike-rush (Eleocharis multicaulis) and pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum). The European distribution of this latter species is confined to lakes and pools in lowland blanket bog areas of Ireland and western Scotland. This area of bog has also a well- developed Sphagnum cover including some large hummocks of Sphagnum imbricatum and S. fuscum.


Situated on the Dún Chiortáin peninsula and also known as Poll a tSomais, Pollatomais, Kilcommon and Pollatomish, this townland consists of 673 acres (2.72 km2). Pollathomas village has had a substantial population throughout the years. The village straddles a small crossroads and has a lovely location with views over Sruwaddacon Bay. It has a post office/shop, a busy hostel, a couple of pubs, a national school and a sizeable population. The graveyard had a 6th century religious establishment of St. Coman which was mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters. When the Anglo Normans came to Ireland there were several slayings recorded of the new English by the native tribespeople.[23] In 1585 during the Reformation Pollathomas became the property of the Protestant Bishop of Killala and Michael Cormuck who lived at Inver Castle was the lessee. Several religious settlers including the Augustinians, were driven out of the area during the penal law period of the 17th century. In 1770 Pollathomas and Glengad were leased from the Protestant Bishop by the O’Donel’s of Termon, and Kilcommon Lodge, now a thriving hostel was built.[24]



Glengad – Sruwaddacon Estuary

Famine and devastation hit Pollathomas several times in the 19th century before the Irish Famine of 1845/47 due to sheer pressure of population. During the Great Famine of 1845/47 the little relief came from the Quakers when the response for provisions to be sent to the area urgently, was to turn down the request. The people ate seaweed and sea-gulls eggs.[25] The landlord, James O’Donel was attacked in Kilcommon Lodge. He demanded that a police barracks be built to protect his family but none was ever built. He bred crows and nurtured them so that they would protect his property.[26] Throughout the 19th century, evictions and proselytising were commonplace. It is now a quiet village, occasionally affected by the rumblings of the Corrib gas project with a couple of public houses (Maguires and McGraths), a general store and post office and Kilcommon Lodge Hostel, a popular destination for visitors to the area.




The beach at Portacloy

A townland on the north of the Dún Chaocháin peninsula consisting of 922 acres (3.73 km2) on the western boundary of Porturlin, it is set around a picturesque horseshoe shaped bay with a sandy beach and water, a couple of piers and several cliff walks. Carrowteige has its nearest shop. There is the remains of a promontory fort and an English watchtower here. The Government neglected Portacloy as a fishing port, building a harbour in Porturlin instead but in 1909 a boat slip, breakwater and landing place were built to facilitate the fish curing station which had been built a few years earlier to process mackerel. In the 1960s a second small pier was built. Portacloy still remains a peaceful pleasant cove.


Porturlin (Gaelic: Port Durlainne) is a coastal townland on the east coast of the Dún Chaocháin peninsula consisting of 2,120 acres (8.6 km2). During the famine, Richard Webb, bringing relief for the distressed from the Society of Friends described it as the finest fishing grounds in Mayo but wrote that “the only access by land is over a high and boggy mountain, so wet and swampy that it is difficult to reach it even in summer. There is probably not in Ireland, a cluster of human habitations so completely secluded from easy access…”.[27] When William Bald had been carrying out improvement works in the Erris area in 1835 he recommended building piers at Porturlin and in Portacloy, claiming it would aid the fishermen of the area greatly. During the 1840s roads were made to the area. In 1886 the Roads and Harbour Commissioners finally built a landing slip 210 feet (64 m) in length at a cost of £204.00. The Congested Districts Board for Ireland erected a curing station for herring and mackerel in 1894. By 1952 the old pier had fallen asunder and was replaced in 1965 by Mayo County Council.

In February 2010, Pat ‘The Chief’ O’Donnell, owner of a fish processing plant in Porturlin and fifth generation fisherman served a contested seven-month sentence in Castlerea Prison for his participation in protests against the Corrib gas project which he believes poses an unacceptable risk to the area, including his own livelihood and that of all fishermen in the Broadhaven Bay area.[28]

[edit]Rossport/Ros Dumhach

Main article: Rossport



Justice cut in Rossport hay field



Rossport pier

Rossport has an area of 1,446 acres (5.85 km2). There is a national school and the Gaelic speaking secondary school, Colaiste Chomain in Rossport. There have been many suggestions over the years to build a bridge across the ‘ferry’ to connect Rossport with the Dún Chiortáin peninsula as it is very close as the crow flies but a very great distance by vehicle. The flowing and ebbing tides of Sruwaddacon Bay are hazardous even for the most experienced boatman. The words of a song describe the rapidity of the current:

“the Rossport Ferry and its rapid current

The second strongest that our State possess””

In more recent years, Rossport has been the scene of conflict with the Corrib gas project and protests against same.


Srahataggle townland consists of 4,167 acres (16.86 km2). It is a remote village which is reached via a turn off just before Porturlin Village. In 2004 a road which connects Srahataggle with Belderrig was tarred for the first time. Commenting on the people of Srahataggle in the early 1950s, the Western People reported, “remote as these habitations may appear to many, there is no lack of worldly knowledge and cultural attainments and many of their sons and daughters have risen to important posts in countries beyond the seas”.

[edit]Notable Kilcommon people


Brian Rua U’Cearbhain 17th century prophet from Inbhear

Willie Corduff Winner of Goldman Environmental Prize 2007



Willie Corduff and other Corrib Gas protesters try to stop the trespass of Paddy McGrath’s land by Royal Dutch Shell at Pollatomais pier, June 2007

[edit]Corrib Gas


See also: Corrib gas controversy and Corrib gas project

Since around the turn of the 21st century, Kilcommon Parish has been affected by Corrib gas project, under the ownership of Royal Dutch Shell. After many years and many changes of proposed route for a high pressure raw gas pipeline running through the area many aspects of the proposed project have been strongly disputed. A refinery has been built 10 kilometres inland by Royal Dutch Shell that has no access to the proposed landfall site. There have been several Oral Hearings held about this problem by An Bord Pleanála. They are currently deliberating on a decision to the latest hearing held from 24 August 2010 to 1 October 2010.[29][30]

[edit]Natural Resources


Kilcommon Erris has some of the best natural alternative energy resources in the world due to its location on the Atlantic Ocean which brings almost constant winds from the sea. The natural resources of ocean and wind available in Kilcommon are very valuable resources for sustainable alternative, renewable energy production for the future.[31]

There are opportunities for the development of ocean wave power projects, one of the best wave energy resources in the world lies off the shores of North Mayo.[32] Tidal power, hydroelectric schemes, and extensive wind farms are amongst many other clean, alternative energy generation opportunities for which the area has great potential for a beneficial sustainable future.

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