History of Ballycroy National Park

Land Use

Prior to their purchase by the State, the National Park lands were used for turbary, agriculture and recreational uses including fishing, shooting, and hillwalking. There is evidence of previous human habitation along the Bangor Trail, near the Owenduff and Tarsaghaun rivers, where the remains of stone buildings and traditional cultivation ridges can be seen. People have fished and hunted game in the area for a long period. Fishing and hunting lodges, still present outside of the Park, were bases for these activities. Native red deer, which formerly roamed the Nephin Beg Mountains were one of the species hunted.

The Bangor Trail

The Bangor Trail itself has a long history and may date back to 16th century. Landlords were responsible for the maintenance of the sections of the trail that passed through their land. The trail was used as the main route for people and livestock before the introduction of modern roads between the Bangor Erris region and Newport. Emigrants travelling from Bangor Erris to Westport would have used this trail.