The Lost Valley
The Lost Valley
5
Historic SitesNature & Wildlife AreasFarms
About
The Lost Valley offers a unique window into the cultural heritage of the west of Ireland. Indeed it is itself arguably the finest memorial of the Great Irish Famine that remains today. As The Lost Valley is an active working farm, visitors can experience life on the farm with pet lamb feeding for younger adventurers, a working sheep dog demonstration and a sheep shearing demonstration in season on request. Meeting point/Reception is located at the lost valley - Silver Strand, Louisburgh, Co. Mayo, Ireland.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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  • Aine C
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Lost Valley Tour-famine walk
    Highly recommended tour that has it all-really informative story of the Famine, a warm welcome from the hosts, stunning landscape, the sheepdog experience, sitting outside the cottage with a cup of tea. We think we know the story of the Famine, the Bourkes make it real. Cannot recommend highly enough.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 21 June 2023
  • Mary L L
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A truly incredible and unforgettable experience
    The Lost Valley walking tour was the highlight of our 2 week trip to Ireland. We were awe struck by the beauty. The entire experience engaged all of one's senses and, in the words of Yeats, it touched "the deep heart's core." The walking trail sights were spectacular and included scenic vistas from the hillside to the green sheep farm valley below, untouched famine potato beds, wild Atlantic, and Killary fjord. We made frequent stops along the trail to view a waterfall, remnants of stone houses from the Great Famine, and beautiful flora. Gerard's weaving of famine history with its local impact, poetry, and property sights was informative, skillful and heartfelt. A rest stop at Gerard's ancestral family cottage, with a cozy peat fire, and tea and cookies, was such a special touch and reinforced the feeling of a step back in time. All of the above was sandwiched between a warm welcome by Maureen, an opportunity to feed small lambs and a herding demonstration by a sheep dog - good job, "Gyp," your performance deserved an extra dog biscuit! A heart-felt thank you to Gerard, Maureen and daughter for sharing your spectacular sheep farm and historical knowledge. You provided a truly incredible and unforgettable experience...
    Visited May 2023
    Written 23 June 2023
  • FabiolaPal1
    Durham, North Carolina82 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Spectacular tour
    Spectacular tour. Despite a bit of rain, very satisfying and informative. I know a fair amount about the Great Famine but Garrett knows an infinite amount more and relates the history with passion and precision. His knowledge of local flora and fauna is also deep and wide. We ended the tour with a demonstration of Jip (?)'s herding skills, impressive. Could not have been better.
    Visited June 2023
    Written 30 June 2023
  • Anna B
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    What an amazing Experience
    What an amazing 3 1/2 hours my daughter, Katie, and I had visiting the Lost Valley.. Started off with a warm & friendly welcome by Maureen, before setting off with Gerard on our adventure. He was so knowledgeable, interesting and passionate on our walk & talk tour. It was well paced easy walking .The main theme was The Great Hunger.. I know of the history, the evictions and the terrible times from my own mother, whose grandparents were also evicted close to this area. Seeing and hearing the reality unravel in the Lost Valley was so powerful and emotional. No one could fail to be moved. As Gerard pointed out this period of history has been air-brushed out of the history books. We need to be reminded of the facts . All of this was interspersed with information on local folklore ,poetry, flora & fauna,sheep dog trials ,lamb feeding & fabulous, out of this world scenery. Much appreciated tea /coffee and biscuits was served in Gerard's grandfather's house 3/4 of the way round . The house itself is as it was & gives a good idea of how things were . At this point a lift back to the car park was offered for those who wanted one. Much appreciated for some folk I'm sure. A brilliant afternoon and one I would strongly recommend .
    Visited June 2023
    Written 4 July 2023
  • arvillat
    86 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must-do for anyone who thinks they know Irish history
    Our host Gerard is an amazing historian. Born and raised on the farm in Lost Valley, he has research to support every word and statistic he said, and makes the horrors of the Potato Famine in Ireland come to life. The walking tour goes through breathtaking areas so rich with history it is tangible. The working sheep dog demonstration was amazing. Highly recommended.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 15 July 2023
  • Duvvy
    Cork, Ireland56 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A unique experience
    What a wonderful experience! This is totally unique. This section of County Mayo is cut off and has escaped being developed with holiday homes. It belongs to the Bourke family and they offer a very special tour with loads of historical facts. Gerard Bourke is passionate and very well informed on the subject. He must have done so much research both on his own family history and famine history as well. We thoroughly enjoyed the walk around the ruined village, stopping at Gerard's ancestral home for complementary tea and biscuits and again for an amazing sheep herding demonstration. Maureen let us feed the lambs with bottled milk too. Great fun. It is certainly well worth the €25 fee.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 18 July 2023
  • jane
    Rockville, Maryland6 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    One of the best things in Mayo!
    This walking tour is beautiful, educational, and heartbreaking. Gerald Burke, whose family has lived in the lost valley for 300 years, is an EXCELLENT guide. I highly recommend this for adults and older children who want to learn about Irish history (particularly the famine years) and the flora of the area. This is a walking tour of about 2.5-3 miles in fields. There is some incline and decline through sheep fields, so wear appropriate footwear and please make sure you are able to walk for the entire tour. You will get to see either sheep sheeting (in summer) or sheep herding. Near the end of the tour you stop for a bit of tea or coffee. This is a must!!!!
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 20 July 2023
  • p2mey1
    Rockville, Maryland21 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must See in Mayo
    An amazing experience. The Burke family has lived on this stunning land for at least 300 years. The valley was isolated until about 1986 by the lack of a road. The undeveloped valley contains the ruins of a number of stone houses and remains of potato plots from before famine times, as well as a mass grave of famine victims. Now Gerald Burke runs a sheep farm on the land and provides 3 hour walking tours of his land. With an encyclopedic knowledge of its history and environment, he is an engaging and passionate guide to the past. Also included, a sheepdog demonstration and shearing in season.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 20 July 2023
  • Kevin M
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing, Informative, Moving and Fun
    This was one of our best decisions on our holiday in Mayo. Maureen and Gearoid are so friendly and helpful in every way, and there is apparently only 1 tour per day now, so there is no rush. Gearoid told the story of his family history with the beautiful place, and then expanded to tell us the plight of the poor people of Uggool and their treatment at the hands of the landlords during the famine. All of this is backed up by historical writings from the day and is displayed on plagues along the way. So all very real and told in a most engaging way. We had 2 families of 5, one who is a little unsteady on her feet, but the 5K walk is very well punctuated with stops and then finsihes with a drink and biscuits to replenish the reserves. If you have an interest in history and want to get a sense of the real story of the Famine in Ireland then this is the place for you.
    Visited August 2023
    Written 13 August 2023
  • GerPerdi
    14 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must do in Mayo
    A fantastic tour, it uniquely blends history, culture, nature into an amazing experience told by Gerard. You'll learn about the Great Famine, and it's impact on communities, but also about the amazing location and Gerard's family. It's told with passion, humour, and some great tea and biscuits!
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 17 August 2023
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5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles291 reviews
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1
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4

Pat B
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Family
The trip is an amazing visit to a time of tragedy and also survival. Gerry's descriptions are deeply authentic and moving. Add to that the most stunning location and a star performance by Gyp the sheepdog and Maureen's West of Ireland welcome. Unmissable.
Written 20 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

M B
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Family
Can't recommend this tour enough. Some facts were known to me but to be able to match them to the landscape is invaluable. Such beauty and sadness in the land. Gerry is a great guide. Well spoken, informative and good craic. Jip deserves a mention too.
Written 20 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

bjh2376
La Grange, IL3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023
Gerard and Maureen do a remarkable job sharing their land and its history. You can certainly appreciate the passion in the story shared. They welcome questions and have a restroom available near their car park. Our kids came a long and loved visiting the sheep and dogs. Drinks and snacks were a bonus at the end. highly recommend a visit to this lovely part of the world.
Written 19 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tara O
Hopton on Sea, UK8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
What a brilliant and wonderful outing, highly recommended for all. Be prepared for lots of walking but at a leisurely pace surrounded by stunning scenery. You will learn about the history of the area which has been well researched and told with charismas and charm. The stories of those that have gone before, stories often untold but should not be forgotten. An enlightening, entertaining and memorable day. Bring your cameras because the views are out of this world!
Written 18 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GerPerdi
Kildare14 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
A fantastic tour, it uniquely blends history, culture, nature into an amazing experience told by Gerard. You'll learn about the Great Famine, and it's impact on communities, but also about the amazing location and Gerard's family. It's told with passion, humour, and some great tea and biscuits!
Written 17 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kevin M
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023
This was one of our best decisions on our holiday in Mayo. Maureen and Gearoid are so friendly and helpful in every way, and there is apparently only 1 tour per day now, so there is no rush. Gearoid told the story of his family history with the beautiful place, and then expanded to tell us the plight of the poor people of Uggool and their treatment at the hands of the landlords during the famine. All of this is backed up by historical writings from the day and is displayed on plagues along the way. So all very real and told in a most engaging way. We had 2 families of 5, one who is a little unsteady on her feet, but the 5K walk is very well punctuated with stops and then finsihes with a drink and biscuits to replenish the reserves. If you have an interest in history and want to get a sense of the real story of the Famine in Ireland then this is the place for you.
Written 13 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nichola Magner
Cork, Ireland1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
My words nor my photos can capture such an amazing experience but I’ll do my best. Theres no poetic solace in Gerard’s storytelling, it is what it is, and it was what it was. He is a walking talking library of knowledge. It is the land itself that will romance you with every step you take. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, one minute heartbroken the next in awe. Stunning is the only word that might capture the scenery. Where once stood mothers and fathers striving to survive in such unforgiving landscape, now stands our noble trees, Oaks, holly, hawthorns and hazels. I can’t help but have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude to Gerard, and his family past and present for wrapping their arms around this piece of sacred historic land and protecting it with all their might. The duty of care that has been passed on for so long is in strong, determined and loving hands. So thank you for that, thank you for the privilege of allowing my kids and I the experience of walking on your land and thanks for the lift on the last leg of the journey. Small boys, although very happy to be wandering would have taken all day. It was wonderful and I cannot recommend it enough.
Written 27 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

p2mey1
Rockville, MD21 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Couples
An amazing experience. The Burke family has lived on this stunning land for at least 300 years. The valley was isolated until about 1986 by the lack of a road. The undeveloped valley contains the ruins of a number of stone houses and remains of potato plots from before famine times, as well as a mass grave of famine victims. Now Gerald Burke runs a sheep farm on the land and provides 3 hour walking tours of his land. With an encyclopedic knowledge of its history and environment, he is an engaging and passionate guide to the past. Also included, a sheepdog demonstration and shearing in season.
Written 20 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jane
Rockville, MD6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Couples
This walking tour is beautiful, educational, and heartbreaking. Gerald Burke, whose family has lived in the lost valley for 300 years, is an EXCELLENT guide. I highly recommend this for adults and older children who want to learn about Irish history (particularly the famine years) and the flora of the area. This is a walking tour of about 2.5-3 miles in fields. There is some incline and decline through sheep fields, so wear appropriate footwear and please make sure you are able to walk for the entire tour. You will get to see either sheep sheeting (in summer) or sheep herding. Near the end of the tour you stop for a bit of tea or coffee. This is a must!!!!
Written 20 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Duvvy
Cork, Ireland56 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
What a wonderful experience! This is totally unique. This section of County Mayo is cut off and has escaped being developed with holiday homes. It belongs to the Bourke family and they offer a very special tour with loads of historical facts. Gerard Bourke is passionate and very well informed on the subject. He must have done so much research both on his own family history and famine history as well. We thoroughly enjoyed the walk around the ruined village, stopping at Gerard's ancestral home for complementary tea and biscuits and again for an amazing sheep herding demonstration. Maureen let us feed the lambs with bottled milk too. Great fun. It is certainly well worth the €25 fee.
Written 18 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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THE LOST VALLEY: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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