Reasons You Need to Explore the Unique Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park

> Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park is Ireland’s newest national park. And while I only made a quick drive through this area, this park is one I want to explore more and one that I’m recommending to you. This is a gorgeous, unique and time worthy destination as well as a spot for those of you seeking something a bit off the main tourist trail. As always, we’ll begin with the where.
This incredible park in located in County Mayo. And specifically Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park is in the northern part of this county between the towns of Mallaranny and Bangor Erris. You can get there from the fun town of Westport in about 45 minutes to an hour by car. This park was first established in 1998 as Ballycroy National Park. In 2017 it was expanded to include the Nephin Beg mountain range. Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park is 11,000 hectares so it’s a good-sized park. It’s an under visited piece of Ireland and in the middle of nowhere — 2 aspects that make it worthy of time. So why else should you visit? And what makes Wild Nephin Ballycroy so special and unique?
irst of all, Ireland’s newest national park is also its least visited park. It’s located in a less dense population area so it doesn’t draw as many visitors from outside of Ireland. This is simply because it’s not on the main tourist trail like Killarney National Park in County Kerry. So if you want to visit a spot that sees fewer people then Wild Nephin Ballycroy is the place for you. Sure, it will take a bit more time to get here. But once you do you’ll be rewarded with peace and quiet.
The West of Ireland has a lot of bog land. Connemara in County Galway has some incredible tracts of bog. Be sure to check out Connemara National Park! Here in Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park you’ll find Owenduff bog. Owenduff is one of the last intact active blanket bog sstem in Ireland and in Western Europe. This bog is a significant scientific and scenic feature of the park. So much grows and lives in these blanket bogs. They’re like the rain forests of Ireland with lots of flora and fauna in them — even wee little micro organisms we can’t see with the naked eye. This active blanket bog is what makes Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park so special and unique — and why you should visit!
The addition of this mountain range to the park was a great idea. You know me — I love mountains. So of course I’m all for adding mountains to a national park! But it really was a natural addition since these mountains are next to the bog land that comprise the original Ballycroy National Park. There is some forested area along the mountain range as well. The Nephin range looks over the bogs so it does dominate the landscape of the park. Nephin is actually the highest peak of the range at 806m (2646 ft). You can climb it as it’s not particularly long at 10km. But since this is Ireland and weather is an issue, do tackle it only if you have decent weather and have a bit of experience hiking mountainous trails.