In late March, the Irish Times asked their readers to suggest their personal favourite place to "Go Wild in Ireland", and in the weeks that followed, more than 3,800 people nominated a range of locations around the country. The nominations were put before a panel of judges and who then visited all the top contenders.

The judges were of the opinion that the winning place should be reasonably accessible while relatively unexplored. It should offer contrasting topography, healthy biodiversity and opportunities to interact with the natural world in a variety of ways, from gentle strolls through lengthy cycles to mad coasteering.

From a shortlist of five ravishing locations, they named Erris, Co. Mayo as the Best Place to Go Wild in Ireland 2014!

“A glorious, wild, uniformly unspoilt and stunning little-known area” was the verdict of Irish Times feature writer Rosita Boland after her research trip to Erris. Her words echo those of naturalist Robert Lloyd Praeger who, in the 1930s, wrote that Erris is a place where “you are thrown at the same time back on yourself and forward against the mystery and majesty of nature”.

An area the size of Louth with a population of just 20,000, Erris stretches from the 11,000 hectares of mountain and blanket bog that is BallycroyNational Park – Ireland’s only true designated wilderness – to the white sandy beaches of the Mullet peninsula. Even here there is variety: the windswept Atlantic side is heaven for surfers, while the sheltered east-facing coves are perfect for family pottering.

The name Erris comes from the Irish Iar Ros, which means “western promontory”. Sure enough, Erris has more cliffs than you can shake a walking stick at. Plunging into the Atlantic all along the north Mayo coast from Belderg westward to Erris Head, they offer not just glorious walks but the chance to spot dolphins and puffins, peregrine falcons and minke whales, as well as endless inlets and coves to be explored in a kayak.

Video link: Click here to view video

Nationwide RTE TV Program on Erris: Click here

Erris wins the Irish Times Best Place to Go Wild in Ireland Competition: Click here