Nestled on the west coast of Ireland, Westport is a picturesque town that boasts stunning natural scenery, a rich historical background, and a vibrant cultural scene. With its remote location and rugged beauty, this charming town in County Mayo offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience. From the Great Western Greenway to Croagh Patrick, there is no shortage of attractions to explore in and around Westport.
Westport House and Gardens
One of the main attractions in Westport is Westport House and Gardens, a stunning 18th-century mansion set in the heart of the town. Built by the famous architect Richard Cassels, the house is a masterpiece of Georgian architecture and features beautiful gardens, a lake, and even a pirate adventure park for kids.
Visitors can take a tour of the house and learn about the fascinating history of the Browne family, who owned the house for over 300 years. You can also take a stroll around the stunning gardens, which are home to a wide range of plants and flowers from around the world.
Westport is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with a wide range of activities available. The town is situated on the shores of Clew Bay, which is renowned for its beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters. You can go swimming, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding in the bay, or take a boat tour and explore the nearby islands.
For hikers, Westport is the perfect base to explore the nearby Croagh Patrick, which is Ireland’s holy mountain and a place of pilgrimage for over 1,500 years. The mountain offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside, and it takes approximately 3-4 hours to hike to the top.
Cycling is also a popular activity in Westport, with several scenic routes available, including the Great Western Greenway, which is a 42-kilometer trail that runs from Westport to Achill Island. The trail is a great way to explore the beautiful Irish countryside and take in the stunning views along the way.
Westport Town Centre
Westport town center is a bustling hub of activity with traditional Irish pubs, restaurants, and shops selling local crafts and souvenirs. The town is also home to the iconic Westport Town Hall Theatre, which hosts a wide range of events throughout the year, including music, comedy, and theater performances.
One of the highlights of Westport is the annual Westport Food Festival, which takes place every June. The festival celebrates the best of Irish food and drink, with a wide range of events, including cookery demonstrations, food tastings, and craft beer and wine tasting.
The History of Westport
Westport’s roots can be traced back to the 16th century, when it was a small settlement called Cathair na Mart, which means “the stone fort of the beeves” or “the city of the fairs” in Irish. The village was home to around 700 people and was located near the current front lawn of Westport House. The area was controlled by the Ó Máille clan, who were powerful seafarers and ruled over the Clew Bay region. In the 1780s, the Browne family of Westport House moved the village to its present location to make way for their gardens and renamed it Westport. This designated heritage town is one of the few planned towns in Ireland, featuring a tree-lined boulevard called the Mall built on the Carrowbeg River. Westport House, a stately home designed by the German architect Richard Cassels in the 1730s, was finished by James Wyatt and served as the residence of the Marquess of Sligo.
How to Get There
If you are traveling from Dublin, you can take a train from Heuston Station, which operates several times a day, and the journey takes approximately 3 hours. Alternatively, you can rent a car and drive to Westport, which is approximately a 3.5-hour drive.
If you are arriving from Galway, you can take a train from Ceannt Station, which operates several times a day and takes approximately 1 hour. You can also drive from Galway to Westport, which is approximately a 1-hour drive.
If you are arriving from Knock Airport, you can take a bus or rent a car and drive to Westport. The journey takes approximately 40 minutes.
For those who are arriving by car, Westport is well connected to the rest of Ireland via major roads, including the N5 from Dublin and the N59 from Galway.