Attymass is a place of beautiful scenery, pollution- free air, splendid fishing lakes and a rugged and challenging countryside. For the fishing enthusiasts there are seven coarse fishing lakes and four miles of the famous salmon-fishing River Moy flows through the parish, with easy access points to the river.
For the walkers there are mountain walks (linking with the Foxford Way), historical walks and bog-land walks to be enjoyed. The walks range in distance from three to ten miles.
A must for all tourists when in Attymass is a visit to the Fr. Peyton Memorial Centre where the apostolic live of the famous “Rosary Priest” -Fr. Peyton is commemorated. What a beautiful place of peace! a place where we could meditate in the gardens and Oratory or enjoy the tour and the multi-media inspiring story of Fr. Peyton's life.
For the historians and archaeologists, the ruins of Kildermott Abbey is well worth a visit.
The ruins of Kildermott Abbey overlook Ballymore Lough. As well as being an important national monument the abbey has several fascinating Folklore tales associated with it.
The Abbey was founded by Norbertine Monks who it is believed were already established in the parish at this time. It is possible the Abbey and its townland are now known as Kildermott (Cill Diarmuda: Dermots church) due to patronage by the McDermott Lordships during the reign of Henry 8th. No connection with a Saint of that name can be traced.
The Abbey was partially destroyed after the Cromwellian Act of 1697 persecuting the Catholic Faith at which time the McDermott Lordships lost their freeholds in the parish. Two Holy Water Fonts from the Abbey were recovered from the lake by a Mr. Thomas Gallagher where they were presumably dumped. One has been returned to the Abbey whilst the other resides in the National Museum.
Kildermott Abbey was declared a National Monument in 1939.
"Dawn Mass" is celebrated annually at the ruins on Easter Sunday morning. What a spectacular site to watch the sun rise over Ballymore Lake.
In the townland of Currower east of the Abbey there is an Ogham stone standing 11 feet in height, one of only eight examples known in Co. Mayo. An examination of markings in the Celtic Ogham script have been translated as "Mac Uí Riaghan". Local tradition says Mac Uí Riaghan was an important chieftain in Attymass & that the Ogham stone marks his grave.
Carradoogan Famine House
A pre-famine cottage from Carradoogan in the parish of Attymass was carefully dismantled in 2002 and rebuilt stone by stone in New York where it supplies the centrepiece of a Famine Memorial.
The cottage was a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Slack, and Mr. and Mrs. Chris Slack. The Slack family's occupancy of the cottage can be traced to 1820 when Slacks lived as tenant farmers on the land. The cottage was just one room through the famine years. In 1891, the Congested District Board provided support for upgrading rural housing. By 2001, the cottage had been abandoned. It was being used as a cow pen and was considered unsafe.
The memorial was formally opened in New York's Battery Park, with President Mary McAleese as guest of honour. Rather than create another statue or traditional monument, American sculptor Brian Tolle chose to use the quarter acre available to him to recreate a corner of rural Co. Mayo, complete with the reconstructed remains of the cottage from Attymass. Other features of the memorial include wild plants from Ireland and a stone from every County. This memorial in Battery Park is a much visited and appreciated site. – A little piece of Ireland in New York!
To mark the location of the ruins in Attymass a plaque as pictured above was erected in 2003.
By Della Ginley