Hiring a car in Knock

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Hiring a car in Knock

Pick up a hire car at Knock airport and prepare yourself for a divine break in north-west Ireland.

60-second guide to Knock

in its own head

"We're the jewel in Ireland's crown. Why else would the Virgin Mary, no less, choose to make an appearance here in 1879?"

but more realistically

Knock is indeed home to one of Europe's most important Catholic shrines, but it's a small town - though a great one from which to discover the picturesque north-west of Ireland.

the vibe

Very religious. Pack your prayer book and prepare to sing a few hymns!

the natives

Very religious. Pack your prayer book and prepare to sing a few hymns!

the weather

There are three certainties in life - death, taxes and the fact that it will rain at some point if you visit the west of Ireland.

the local speciality

A slice of barmbrack - a sweet loaf of bread with sultanas and raisins - goes down well with a nice cup of tea.

the celebrity

Pope John Paul II was an early trailblazer for Mayo's growing Polish community when he visited Knock in 1979.

did you know?

Some 1.5 million people visit the shrine annually - including Mother Teresa in 1993.

they say

"Are there miracles at Knock? Of course there are. Every day. Everywhere" - www.knock-shrine.ie

5 to see in town...

1. Knock Shrine, Apparition Church

The Knock Shrine is a big hit with the Catholic crowd - it's where the Virgin Mary, St Joseph and St John the Evangelist are believed to have appeared to local townsfolk in 1879.

where to park?

Free street parking is available outside the church and on nearby roads. But there are no public car parks near by.

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2. Knock museum

Find out all about the event that made Knock famous, and see what life was like in Ireland during the 1800s at the town's museum.

where to park?

There is an on-site car park.

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3. Marlene's Chocolate Haven, Westport

The nearby picturesque town of Westport is home to some stunning bays, excellent pubs and this cafe which makes some of the finest chocolate treats in Ireland.

where to park?

There is a free on-site car park.

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4. Foxford Woollen Mills, Foxford

The town of Foxford is a tourist hub, due mainly to its suitability for outdoor sports and its mills, famous for producing cosy blankets. It's under 30 minutes' drive from Knock.

where to park?

There is a free on-site car park.

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5. National Museum of Ireland, Castlebar

Half an hour from Knock, Castlebar is Mayo's largest town and home to one of the most important natural history, arts and heritage museums in Ireland.

where to park?

The museum has four sites: Two have on-site car parks (Decorative Arts and History and Country Life), one has several car parks in close vicinity (Archaeology) and the last one (Natural History) is currently closed for refurbishment.

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and 4 to drive to...

1. Kylemore Abbey

Founded by nuns who fled Belgium during the First World War, Galway's Benedictine abbey is set on the grounds of Kylemore Castle, which looks like something out of a fairytale.

how to get there?

Follow the R232 north out of Knock until merging with the R320. Head southwest towards Kylemore. It should take about an hour and a half.

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2. Westport House

The stately home of the Marquess of Sligo has seen plenty of action over the years. And if history lessons aren't your thing, be sure to check out the Pirate Adventure Park.

how to get there?

An hour's drive northeast of Knock. Follow the R230 east until you join the N60, and then head west towards Westport.

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3. Ballina Dolmen

According to folklore, the ancient tombs near the town of Ballina are the burial place of the Four Maols - four brothers who were murdered for apparently betraying the King of Connaght.

how to get there?

Just under an hour's drive away. Head north on Knock/R329, and then follow the R232 north towards Ballina.

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4. Croagh Patrick

The mountain near Westport is an important Catholic pilgrimage as Saint Patrick is rumoured to have spent 40 days at its summit. The challenging walk to the top is certainly worthwhile on a clear day - the view is spectacular.

how to get there?

Head east along the R230 towards Westport, and then follow the N5. It should take you under an hour.

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