The Great Western Greenway, Westport in Co. Mayo

The Westport-Newport section is a 12.5km long trail.

In Westport an official access point is located to the right just off the N59 travelling in the direction of Newport approx 500m from Westport town centre. The official access point in Newport is located to the left just off the N59 travelling in the direction of Westport, approx 2km from Newport town.

The estimated time is 1-1.5 hours for cycling and 3-3.5 hours for walking.

This section starts from the beautiful town of Westport, situated in the shadow of Croagh Patrick, overlooking Clew Bay.

Westport boasts two centres: the main town, built along the shore of the Carrowbeg River, and the Quay, nestled near the estuary of the river, where the old village was located, not far from Westport House. There is a pleasant walk, suitable for all the family, which connects Westport Quay to the town centre.

The actual town was designed in the 18th Century by James Wyatt and is a fine example of the Georgian architectural style.

Westport has always been associated with Croagh Patrick, the Holy Mountain for Irish people, which is also one of Mayo's most famous landmarks, soaring to a height of 765 metres. The town is also well known for being the first stronghold of the O’Malley Clan from whom Grace O’Malley came.

Out from town the trail, heading towards Newport, winds along the Clew Bay shore. The undulating land is testament to the drumlins of limestone deposited by the last glaciation around 10,000 years ago. The stunning bay has 365, one for every day of the year, and some of them are among the Ireland's best example of drumlins of limestone which come up in all shapes: ovals, lozenges, snakes, dragons, arrowheads or long-legged beasties. Clare Island is the biggest island and is located at the entrance of the bay.

The track now runs parallel to the N5 passing under old stone archways and along grassy fields and a small coniferous forest. Then it reaches a high point on a hilltop. Here the view is stunning: Croagh Patrick and Sheeffrey Mountain come into sight to the south, while Ben Nephin and the Nephin Beg Mountains can be seen to the north.

Passing through wetlands and a mix of scrubs and trees, the path climbs Barley Hill and reaches the little village of Kilmeena with its beautiful Kilgallan Church, Grotto of the Virgin Mary and Celtic Cross which honours the memory of the local men who died in the Kilmeena Ambush on the 19th May 1921 during the Irish War of Independence.

Not far away from Kilmeena there is another Celtic Cross erected as a memorial of the Kilbride Ambush which took place in this area on the night of the 23rd of November 1922. Here General Michael Kilroy, Jack Feehan and J. J. Leonard stopped the Free State soldiers with heavy fire before to succumb to the enemy. Four Free State soldiers were killed and many were wounded.