A popular pilgrimage site, Knock also has atmospheric cliff walks and easy access to the attractions of north-west Ireland.
Many visitors take a flight to knock in order to visit the Holy Shrine. The shrine was developed after an apparition of the Virgin Mary, St John the Baptist, St Joseph and Christ, as the Lamb of God, appeared to the congregation of the parish church in 1879.
Set in a glorious garden landscape dotted with churches, Knock is a centre of prayer and pilgrimage for Roman Catholics, with around 1.5 million pilgrims each year visiting the shrine. Pope John Paul visited in 1979 to celebrate the centenary of the apparition and the village continues to be an important place for both religious and secular visitors.
There is a museum in Knock with exhibitions on many aspects of local history, particularly the shrine and the events that led to its development within the context of the history of the area. Knock itself and surroundings would be the perfect place to find accommodation if you're on a pilgrimage yourself or a holiday looking at religious sites. Sites of interest around Knock include the Ceide Fields, the world's oldest field system, and the remains of the 13th century Roscommon Abbey.
County Mayo is particularly rich in festivals and other cultural events, especially in the warmer months. Each spring, there's an Irish music and song festival. Ireland's links with the building and fate of the Titanic are explored in the Mayo Titanic Cultural Week. There are also walking festivals and many more musical festivals. Galway, too, has a huge variety of annual and special festivals and events, from music to literature with something for every taste. Hotels, naturally, are booked up in advance for these popular times of year, so book early if you wish to attend.