Westport, designated one of Bord Failte's Heritage Towns, is situated in the shadow of Croagh Patrick, overlooking Clew Bay. One of the few planned towns in the Country, Westport was designed in the 18th Century by James Wyatt. It has become one of Ireland's established tourism centres, with many outstanding features, most notably the beautiful tree lined boulevard known as The Mall, running parallel to the Carrowbeg River.
Westport House and its adjoining Adventure Park combine to create the most stunning combination of culture, fun and adventure for all the family.
Over the years, Westport has been growing in popularity as a visitor destination. The town boasts many fine restaurants, specialising particularly in seafood and many fine traditional pubs, all providing a friendly ambience and warm Irish hospitality.
Croagh Patrick, one of Europe's best know places of Pilgrimage, has provided a tough ascent for many pilgrims each year, climbing barefoot in the memory of St. Patrick, who spent forty days and forty nights fasting on the summit more than 1,500 years ago. A small church at the summit of the mountain welcomes penitents, while magnificent views of Clew Bay, with an island for every day of the year, provides inspiration for many walkers and visitors throughout the year. (Read this brilliant account of a climb written by Jim Burns, Quincy, IL, USA).
Westport town boasts many tourist facilities. An excellent 18 hole Championship Golf Course is located on the Golf Course Road, just off the Newport Road, approximately one mile outside the town centre. This fabulous golf course guarantees excellent golf and scenic splendour.
Horse riding and pony trekking are on offer all year round in a number of local equitation centres. Clay pigeon shooting, paintballing, hill walking, sailing and adventure sports are among the many other activities on offer to the visitor. Contact, The Westport Tourist Office The Mall Westport. Telephone: ++ 353 (0) 98 25711.
Westport is also a leading sea angling centre. Boats may be hired by groups or individuals and leave the harbour daily, bound for the rich fishing grounds in the Bay, where a variety of fish offer excellent sport.
The freshwater angler is well catered for on the many lakes and rivers. For a modest license fee, a day's or a week's fishing may be had. The Erriff and Delphi fisheries are well known and there are many lesser streams and lakes to enjoy.
There is a wide selection of sandy beaches to choose from on the North and South shores of Clew Bay, and down the coast south of the Bay to where the isolated strand of Thallabawn meets Killary Harbour, Ireland's only fjord. Many of the beaches are EC Blue Flag winners including Bertra, near Murrisk, Old Head and Carramore in Louisburgh.
Another key attraction in Westport is The Clew Bay Heritage Centre, located at the Harbour.
There are many festivals and events taking place in Westport every year: Westport Horse & Pony Show (May/June), Westport Folk & Blue Grass Festival, Westport Sea Angling Festival, (both June), Westport Music Festival, Gaelforce West Adventure Festival (both Aug), Westport Horse Fair (Sept), Westport Arts Festival (Oct).
Art and crafts lovers will be well impressed with the array of contemporary art to be seen in a choice of art galleries such as the Custom House Studio at The Quay, the Andrew Stone Gallery on Bridge Street or the Clew Bay Hotel Gallery, all open year round. A number of craft shops in the town have work by local artists on display also.
Westport's proximity to many blue flag beaches and magnificent scenic drives ensures a unique holiday to suit all visitor tastes.