Photograph of Michael Davitt with black and white background

Michael Davitt Museum: A Don’t Miss When in Mayo

By Yvonne Corcoran Loftus, Curator 

Michael Davitt is Ireland’s greatest patriot, and the most influential international Irishman of the 19th Century. The Michael Davitt Museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of this pre-eminent social activist and global reformer. 

The Museum collection is housed in the magnificently restored Pre-Penal Church in the picturesque village of Straide, County Mayo. The exhibition is enhanced by an audio-visual presentation and brought to life by the museum’s award winning tour guides. The museum has developed a reputation as a centre of excellence and has attained full accreditation under the Museum Standards Programme for Ireland.

Photograph of Michael Davitt
Photograph of Michael Davitt

Davitt is forever remembered as the Father of the Land League, an organisation instrumental in ensuring the retreat of landlordism and returning the land to the native people who tilled the soil for generations. He visited Cleveland on several occasions from the late 1870s onwards, in order to connect with the city’s growing Irish community.

The collection reflects the subject’s diverse range of national and international interests and friendships. Exhibits illustrate his role as a revolutionary figure, a land agitator and a socialist. His associations with Mahatma Gandhi, President Theodore Roosevelt and Leo Tolstoy are also featured, while his patronage of both the GAA and Celtic Football Club make it a ‘Must See’ for sports enthusiasts.

No tour is complete without a visit to Michael Davitt’s grave, which is located to the rear of the museum. It serves as a poignant reminder of a man who dedicated his life to the poor and oppressed.

Pamphlet for Michael David Museum
Pamphlet for Michael David Museum

The Michael Davitt Museum is adjacent to Straide Friary. This 13th Century Norman structure contains some of the finest medieval sculpture available on the island of Ireland. The President of the ’Ladies Land League,’ Anne Deane, is buried within the Friary walls as well.

The entire area forms part of a beautifully maintained, spacious site. Ample parking is available and this tranquil location is ideal for picnics and leisurely walks. 

Guided tours incorporating the Museum Collection, Michael Davitt’s grave and the adjoining Friary are available on request. However, to avoid disappointment, booking in advance is advisable. Tickets can be accessed by completing our online booking system or by contacting the museum before your planned visit. 

Opening Hours Monday – Saturday 10am to 5pm

Admission: Adult €8  

Children over 5 €3  

Family 2 Adults 3 Children €20

Visitors to the Michael Davitt Museum receive a Free Pass to the Céide Fields Visitor Centre in Ballycastle, County Mayo and a 10% discount card for the Foxford Woollen Mills Restaurant or Shop.

Telephone: 00353 (0)9490 31942

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