The History of Uggool: The Eagles Egg

potato ridges irish famine

Uggool from the gaelic "Ubh Iolair" meaning Eagles Egg so 'The Lost Valley of the Eagles egg' is the more complete title. 

The lost Valley of Uggool is a poignant reminder of times gone by, the silence now undisturbed by the families who once lived and farmed here. It offers a unique window into the cultural heritage of the west coast of Ireland in terms of nineteenth century way of life and the catastrophic disruptions of  the famine and its aftermath.

Indeed the Uggool Valley is in itself arguably the finest memorial of the great famine that remains today, quilted as it is with the clearly visible remains of a multitude of potato ridges that have lain undisturbed and unattended for nearly two centuries. 


Here you can take a walk back in time to when children played around the long deserted village now overgrown with hazel and bracken, from which the villagers were cruelly evicted as the Great Famine ended, so that high society could maintain their living standards. The quietude that surrounds the remains of the deserted village today is very striking in such a picturesque setting, overlooking the wild Atlantic.

The Cross: A reminder of desperate times

irish famine

The Cross was erected by the Bourke family in memory of the banished, lost and forgotten and those lying here in unmarked graves. The Rev. Fr. Patrick McManus, the local parish priest, wrote in February 1847 of the state of this parish. “A population of 12,000 persons, all of the cottier class, hitherto solely depending on the potato., now without one ray of earthly hope., famine, fever and dysentery.,”

A fantastic 3-hour tour of The Lost Valley with The Bourke Family Tripadvisor review


Had a wonderful visit to the lost valley in Louisburgh Co Mayo today. It really is a hidden treasure. Amazing scenery and the Bourke family give a history of the famine times and the flora and fauna of the area told by Mr Bourke in a most entertaining and knowledgeable way. I was so impressed. The sheep dog put on a show-stopping performance gathering the sheep from the hills. We were in awe and he enjoyed the big round of applause which was well deserved. If in the west on a staycation it's a must visit.


Date of experience: August 2020



An incredible insight into the history of the Great Irish Famine Tripadvisor review


I would highly recommend a tour of the Lost Valley to anyone visiting Mayo. Given by the charismatic, knowledgeable and passionate Gerard, the tour weaves its way around the rugged, haunting lands around the lost village of Uggool. Gerard intersperses the walk with tales of farming, Irish folklore and history and offers an extremely well researched view of the social and political historical events that effected those living in the area. For those with an interest in the Great Famine, this tour is an absolute must-do as the experience is one the is not offered elsewhere in the country. A really unique and special thing Gerard and his family have going, and possibly one of the most important sites in Ireland in terms of being able to present a comprehensive, real-life example of the impact and effects the famine had on a specific area of the country. It also happens to be an area of stunning natural beauty too. Cannot say enough good things about this tour - €20 extremely well spent.


Date of Experience: June 2021