To see the wonderful array of fish from Mayo’s shores and rivers, from shellfish to crustaceans to sea veg, stop into Tiernan’s Fishmongers on Main Street. Foxford sits between the Nephin Mountain range and the Ox Mountains and is surrounded by a variety of natural resources, including Lough Conn and the Natural Heritage Areas of Cunnagher More Bog and Croaghmoyle Mountain. For an up close experience of nature in the area, take a ramble along the Foxford Way, an 86km walking trail through beautiful scenery, taking in archeological sites along the way, as well as boglands, river banks and the lake shore.
One of the town’s highlights is the Foxford Woollen Mills, one of the last working mills in Ireland producing vibrantly coloured wool which is then transformed into magnificent works of wearable art. Established in 1892, it was the brainchild of Agnes Morrogh-Bernard, a Sister of Charity, who was charged with the task of founding a convent in Foxford. The Woollen Mills became the engine of the town and in its early years the mills’ clock tower served to punctuate all the town’s activities with its distinctive ring. The same sister founded the Foxford Brass and Reed Band, which also thrives today. A tour of the mill reveals the mysterious behind-the-scenes processes of skilled craftspeople, which when compared with finished products in the craft shop, are even more interesting. Unique pieces from the Woollen Mills are sold around the world.
One of the town’s most notable sons, Admiral William Brown, was born here in 1777. He went on to become a national hero in Argentina, having created Argentina’s that nation’s Naval Forces and served as its first admiral. Especially admired for having defended Buenos Aires in the war with Brazil, he came to be known as the ‘Father of the Argentine Navy.’ A memorial to him stands in the town.
The natural environment with gently undulating hills and pastures sliced by the silver waters of the Moy invite contemplation. James Stephens wrote:
Upon the hill--they wind about
Through the heather in and out
Of the quiet sunniness.
And there, the goats, day after day
Stray in sunny quietness.
If you are passing through town on the Saturday closest to May 15th, be sure to stop at the Goat Fair, the only one of its kind in the country. Believed to have begun in the late 1600s, it’s unusual purpose and ancient heritage invite the visitor to stop and engage with the animal traders and craft vendors for stories about the fair and the life of the town.