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The Ballina Destination constitutes the western portion of the country of Ireland. Notable cities within the region include Ballina, Galway, Castlebar, and Westport, among others. Much of the draw to the region comes from fishing and visiting the coast, with Ballina, in particular, gaining the moniker of “Salmon Capital of Ireland.” Those looking for a more guided coastal experience can embark from Galway along the Wild Atlantic Way, which stops at a number of notable natural and historic sites. Galway is also home to a number of historic buildings from the city’s past, such as St. Nicholas Church and the Spanish Arch. It is common for the weather to remain relatively cool throughout the year, with average temperatures usually reaching about 18 degrees Celsius at their hottest point. Thus it is generally accepted that the best time to visit the region for warm-weather travelers is between June and September. The destination’s history includes a number of notable historical events, such as the Irish Potato Famine; however, it is currently more well-known for being a tourist destination and a place of industry. The most notable company producing in the region is Coca-Cola, which manufactures a concentrate used in many of its drinks at its factory in Ballina.
Situated in western Ireland is the Ballina Destination, which encompasses a number of counties along the country’s west coast. The destination is named for the town of Ballina, known by some as the “Salmon Capital of Ireland” due to the large amount of salmon fishing that takes place at many spots near the city. Moy River, which runs through the city, is the main source of local fishing, with its tributaries providing alternative locations. Ballina is also known for having a number of historical sites, including the ruins of Moyne Abbey and the Enniscoe House. Additional history can be explored at the National Museum of Ireland south of Ballina on the other side of Lough Conn.
Galway, another major city in the region, has a number of attractions that guests can participate in. One of the largest is the Wild Atlantic Way, a 2,600-kilometer trail that follows the west coast of Ireland. Along the route, tourists can stop and get a closer look at the Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Peninsula, and Horn Head, as well as other natural formations and historical landmarks. Within the city itself, much like Ballina, there are many ancient buildings that offer a glimpse at a bygone era, such as the Spanish Arch, which is one of two remaining arches from the original wall that surrounded the city. The 14th-century St. Nicholas Church also welcomes guests for church services and is built in the style of a medieval parish church. Those interested in shopping around town may also take an interest in the Galway Market, which is held seasonally and offers the opportunity to try a number of foods and products made by locals.
One of the principal counties in the Ballina Destination is County Mayo, which encompasses Ballina in addition to other towns such as Castlebar, Westport, and Claremorris. In total, it has an area of roughly 5.5 square kilometers and a population of about 130,000 people. Across each county are a number of notable natural formations. Within County Mayo is Wild Nephin National Park, also known as Ballycroy National Park. The location is designated as the first Mayo International Dark Sky Park, and as such, it is reported to be relatively easy to see stars at night within it. Further south in the destination, a short distance from Galway, one can find the Aran Islands, noted as Ireland’s largest archipelago of inhabited islands. Croaghmoyl Mountain National Park, in the destination’s eastern portion, offers vistas to tourists of the surrounding region.
Throughout the year, temperatures around Ballina remain relatively consistent, usually remaining cooler a majority of the time. On average, temperatures hover between 8 and 10 degrees Celsius, with the coldest time of year occurring between November and March. The Ballina Destination is also notably humid, with the chance of some form of precipitation rarely dropping below about 35% and the monthly humidity usually being slightly more than 80%. Considering these factors, the generally accepted best time to travel to the destination for warm-weather travelers is from June to September, as these months are usually warmer (about 18 degrees Celsius).
Most of the Ballina Destination encompasses County Mayo, County Galway, portions of County Roscommon, and County Clare. The region is relatively flat, with some expanses of rolling hills. Wild Nephin National Park provides a large area of natural land one could explore, with some of the destination's mountains and a number of trails traversing its bog biome. Another area one could go to observe the region's vistas is the Croaghmoyle Mountain National Heritage Area, where tourists can hike to the peak of the mountain and can see the surrounding landscape. People interested in a longer hike or cycling trip can walk or ride along the Great Western Greenway in County Mayo, which is regarded as the longest off-road walking and cycling trail in Ireland. It is also notable as it follows the now-closed Westport to Achill railway line.
With regard to the area's local flora, due to the nature of the destination and its varied habitats, many plants can be found. In the more boggy parts of the region are patches of bog cotton, primrose, and Irish lady's trusses, with the latter being a rare orchid most commonly found near lake shores or in damp meadows and swamps. Other plants found throughout the area are Scots pine, wild angelica, and narrow-leaved helleborine. Among the local fauna known to roam the region is the Marsh Fritillary Butterfly, one of the rarest invertebrates in Europe and can be found in various marshes and bogs. Otters and seals can also be seen along the coast.
Generally, historians agree that the history of the Ballina Destination began around the end of the 14th century with the establishment of an Augustinian friary; however, some groups had settled in the area prior to this time in the 12th century. Much of the early history of the region occurred around Galway due to its access to the North Atlantic Ocean, which made the city a major trade route and naval destination nearly from its inception. The region saw struggles in the 1500 and 1600s, as a conflict emerged between the Irish and British over the independence of those in Ireland, culminating in the Williamite War in Ireland, which left the Irish government in Galway dismantled. Much of the destination met further hardship during the Irish Potato Famine between 1845 and 1852.
In recent years, the destination has seen a period of growth and has become a tourist destination in Ireland. Some of the largest events that occur annually include the Ballina Salmon Festival, Galway Arts Festival, and Galway International Oyster Festival, among others. The economy has also seen a revival, with a number of local companies and larger corporations manufacturing products in the region. One of the most notable among these is Coca-Cola, which manufactures the concentrates that are used in a number of the company’s drinks from its factory in Ballina. Part of the reason for this economic success is attributed by one website to the infrastructure found in Galway, Ballina, and other towns in County Mayo, specifically the international airport and opportunities to collaborate with county research institutions.