Just a couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Westport, Co Mayo for the very first time. Westport, located in the West of Ireland is a quaint Irish town that’s known for its friendly welcome, its lively Irish pubs and its access to Croagh Patrick.
My two night stay was jam-packed and so much fun. I enjoyed a stay in a fabulous hotel, I left my comfort zone at home, I ate great food and I enjoyed learning some fantastic history along the way – what was not to love!
If you’re planning a breakaway in Ireland and you’re looking for some inspiration on where to go and what to do, keep on reading! Because in this post, I’m covering everything there is to do in the wonderful destination of Westport as well as where to stay and more. Enjoy!
Things to do in Westport
Firstly, after experiencing this wonderful town, I can confidently say that Westport has something for everyone. Whether you’re travelling with kids, your significant other, or a group of friends, you’ll find something to enjoy. Here’s what I got up to in Westport.
Westport House & Tour
Westport House was such a wonderfully, surprising attraction. Sitting upon acres of beautiful land and forest, Westport House is is a historic attraction dating back 300 years. The main house is stunning and a stroll inside will wow you even more than the outside!
We did a fantastic tour of the house and our guide was so knowledge and passionate and we that we found ourselves completely enthralled by the storytelling. During the tour you learn all about Westport House’ original tenant, Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen, who’s old castle can still be visited (or at least the dungeons of it), under the Westport House that stands today, right up to the current owners.
There’s also a tour you can take form the grounds around the town of Westport that fills you in on its very interesting history and I cannot recommend it enough! We had a great laugh on the road-train as we took in the sights, got some great photos and learned a thing or two along the way. There was also a lot of families enjoying the trip, just as much as we were!
What surprised me most about Westport House though was its strong family-friendly focus. The grounds are packed with so many things to enjoy with your loved ones. From swan boats on the lake to archery and an on-site water-park, you certainly will not be bored during your visit. In fact, you could probably visit more than once if you’re staying for a few days. Overall though, I really enjoyed Westport House and found it a wonderful attraction and a must when in the area.
Ps, did I mention Humpty Dumpty is sat on a wall amongst the grounds!? Why not try and spot him on your trip!…if he hasn’t fallen off the wall! 😉
Clew Bay Bike Hire – Great Western Greenway
If you’re planning a trip to Westport, you just have to cycle the Great Western Greenway, or like us, even a portion of it.When it was suggested to me to cycle the Greenway, I was at first apprehensive as I would be a leisure cyclist, but I was so happy I challenged myself to do it.
The Great Western Greenway is built upon an old railway line and it runs from Achill, all the Way to Westport, approx 40km. Its also the longest off-road walking and cycling trail in the country and its very safe. And, on the Monday morning of our trip, we made our way to Clew Bay Bike Hire, which was approx 2-3 minute walk from our hotel. We were ready!
After speaking with their very friendly, knowledgeable team, the assured us we’d be well able for the 18km journey on the Greenway which was from Mulranny to Newport. I had mentioned that I was hoping to see some of the incredible Wild Atlantic Way Coastline and the team suggested this was the best portion of the route to do this.
So we agreed, excited by their enthusiasm and we were on our way. The Clew Bay Bike Hire team transferred us to Mulranny, which was approximately 30 minutes away and there, we were given our bikes, helmets and high vis jackets and because the rental is just that, a rental, we were on our way, all by ourselves.
What can I say about the experience? cycling the Great Western Greenway was probably one of the most amazing, rewarding experiences of my life. It was challenging, fun, exciting and the sights we saw, were just breathtaking – it was rural Ireland at its best.
Once we got to Newport (it took us approx 2 hours to cycle including stops for photos), we rang the Clew Bay Bike Hire team to advise we had arrived and that we were leaving our bikes at their Newport store. We were actually hoping to continue our cycle to Westport which was another 10km but it was raining really heavy and we already soaked after the 18km we had done. And so, we decided we’d go for some well deserved lunch in an old Irish pub and I swear, it was the best meal of my life!
Clew Bay Bike Hire run transfers back to Westport in the early afternoon and so we were sorted for getting back to our hotel.
Doing the Great Western Greenway was just so much fun and I’m planning a trip back next year to take on the full route! I loved it that much! Its an absolute must for anyone visiting the West of Ireland and who want amazing views over Clew Bay, which is home to 365 islands – one for every day of the year!
Where to Stay in Westport – Westport Plaza Hotel
The Westport Plaza Hotel is a 4* hotel that’s located right in the heart of the town and it is just a short 10 minute walk from Westport Train Station. On arrival, we were greeted by a bustling lobby and a very friendly team.
As we arrived early, our room wasn’t quite ready so we decided to go exploring and see our room later. Thankfully, the reception team offered to take our luggage and deliver it to our room for us. We were thrilled! And after our day or exploration, we got our keys to our room. We were staying in a standard room, but our room was truly anything but standard! It was spacious, comfortable, had a small private balcony and a massive, modern bathroom, complete with a jacuzzi and separate shower.
Another fantastic service that the Westport Plaza Hotel offered in-room was free Netflix! Something that was welcomed by us after our day cycling the Greenway! The hotel also had free WiFi and two dining options on-site. We ate in Restaurant Merlot on the first night and this restaurant offered a relaxed ambience, a friendly smile and delicious food. The steak and the Toblerone Cheesecake are to DIE for! So good.
Another dining option on-site, which we also ate in was the Plaza Bar. This lobby based bar had a really big menu and it offered something for everyone. I had lasagna for dinner here and it was one of the best lasagna’s I’ve ever had! I was also thrilled to see that the hotel served Toblerone cheesecake in here too so of course I had some for dessert! 😉
Breakfast wise, the hotel offered a continental buffet breakfast and an Al A Cart option for hot food. If I’m honest, the breakfast wasn’t great for me. I was disappointed by that but maybe it was just unlucky because all the other food I enjoyed at the hotel was so good. I certainly wouldn’t let this hinder my opinion of the hotel though and I’ll definitely stay here again when I return to Westport and tackle the Achill to Westport route on the Great Western Greenway!
I’m also delighted to say that the Westport Plaza passed three of my most important hotel rules! 🙂
- Amazing towels and plenty of them
- Large fluffy, high quality pillows
- No shower curtains
Overall, I think a 2 night stay is the best way to experience at Weekend in Westport or if you’re budget conscious, a stay mid-week will be even better value for you. The town is so charming and outside of all that I’ve mentioned, you can enjoy cute cafes, traditional Irish pubs and lots of lovely walks. I adored my trip and I’ve been telling everyone about it since. Basically if you’ve not been to Westport yet, be sure to head that way soon! 🙂
Useful Links for Planning a trip to Westport:
Disclaimer: A special thanks to Destination Westport and all of their partners, who via the Westport Plaza Hotel invited me over to experience their wonderful destination. As always all views are my own and no money was exchanged in place of this review.Google+