National Enterprise Town Awards: Belmullet

We are profiling all the towns to enter this year’s National Enterprise Town Awards. Today we are looking at Belmullet in Co Mayo.

Belmullet, or more correctly Béal an Mhuirthead, is a bustling town in the heart of the barony of Erris and the Mayo Gaeltacht.

It may only have a population of 1,019 (2016 Census), but it is the chief shopping hub of the Mullet peninsula, which is the size of Co Louth. It is a beautiful and remote area, and in 2014 won The Irish Times Best Place to Go Wild competition.

There are no motorways, bypasses, big supermarkets or shopping centres anywhere near Belmullet. The nearest big towns are Ballina and Castlebar, 40 and 50 miles away respectively.

As a result, and almost by accident, Belmullet is a now-rare example of what small town Ireland used to look like.

Community spirit

Key to the development of Belmullet has been the sense of community and the co-operation between various stakeholders in the area.

Strong links between Mayo County Council, Udaras na Gaeltachta, Erris Chamber of Commerce and the business sector, Erris Tourism, the sporting, community and voluntary sector has seen the town develop to become a major tourist, leisure, commercial and business centre with the Irish language and the arts at the heart of it.

Belmullet has recently undergone the Community Futures process and the launch of the 5-year plan is imminent. The process has brought together many of the various stakeholders and community groups together and has produced a vision for the next 5 years with buy in from the whole community.

The people and their welcome brings the saying “there are no strangers, only friends we have yet to meet” to life!

Blacksod Lighthouse at Belmullet, Mayo, image: PJ photography/Shutterstock 

Published by John Kennedy (

Published: 23 September, 2019