Westport, historically known
as Cahernamart ( ), is a town
Mayo, Ireland. It is situated on the west coast of Ireland, at the
south-east corner of Clew
Bay, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean.
Westport has a gracious town centre in the
Georgian architectural style
as one of the few planned towns
the country (by James Wyatt
planning of the town was commissioned by Lord Sligo of the stately home, Westport House, as a place for his workers and tenants to
Among the picturesque features of the town are its
tree-lined, flower decorated, promenade (The Mall) and several
stone bridges over the river Carrow Beg.
pilgrimage mountain of Croagh Patrick, known locally as "the Reek" lies some 10 km
west of the town near the villages of Murrisk and Lecanvey.
mountain presents a striking backdrop to the town. The church on
the summit can just be made out with the naked eye from
Westport has won the Irish
Tidy Towns Competition
three times in 2001, 2006 and
Westport is unusual in Ireland in that it is a planned town. The
original village of Cathair na Mart
was moved to its
present site in the 1780s by the Browne family. The town was laid
out by James Wyatt
, a famous English
architect. He also completed Westport House,the stately home of the Marquess of Sligo and designed the dining
Westport House had originally been built by Richard Cassels
, the German architect, in
the 1730s, on the original O' Malley Castle. The dungeons of the O'
Malley castle still remain. The most notable feature of James Wyatt
's plan is the lovely tree-lined
boulevard, the Mall, built on the River
by the famous architects Richard Cassels and James Wyatt in the
18th century, Westport
House is considered one of Ireland's most beautiful
historic homes open to the public.
Westport House 2008
Westport House is
situated in an impressive parkland setting with a lake, terraces,
gardens and magnificent views overlooking Clew Bay, the Atlantic
Ocean, Achill, Clare Island and Ireland's Holy Mountain, Croagh
Patrick. It was built and is still privately owned by the Browne
family, who are direct descendants of the 16th century Pirate Queen
During the 16th century, Grace
or Gráinne Mhaol was a famous Pirate Queen of
Connaught. After her death, a report stated that for forty years
she was the stay of all rebellions in the West. She was chief of
the O'Malley Clan and ruled the seas around Mayo. Grace O’Malley
had several castles in the west of Ireland and it was on the
foundations of one of these that Westport House was actually built.
There is still an area of her original castle in the basement of
the House (the Dungeons), which is on view to visitors.
There is a Bronze statue of Grace O’Malley by the artist Michael
Cooper situated on the grounds of Westport House.
The original House was built by Colonel John Browne, a Jacobite,
who was at the Siege of Limerick, and his wife Maude Bourke. Maude
Bourke was Grace O’ Malley’s great-great granddaughter. The House
then did not have the lake or a dam and the tide rose and fell
against the walls.
Today Westport House is one of Ireland's premier visitor
attractions, having welcomed over 4 million visitors since opening
its doors to the public in 1960. The historic home and its original
contents are on full show combined with a Pirate Adventure Park
which includes a
Pirate Ship thrill ride and Ireland's first log flume ride - The
'Pirate's Plunge', among many other attractions.
Westport Town Council
Westport Town Council consists of nine members who are elected
every five years by local electors (persons whose names are in the
Register of Electors). Any person of 18 years and over is eligible
to register and to vote at elections. Council members are elected
according to a system of proportional representation. The next
local elections will be held in 2014.Each year the Council elects a
Cathaoirleach at its Annual Meeting which is held in May or
People from Westport town are traditionally known as Coveys
. Some decades ago the Covey dialect still
existed and was unintelligible to outsiders. For example the Covey
word for a woman was a "doner". To this day inhabitants of nearby
areas, including Castlebar, refer to the people of Westport,
sometimes mildly disparagingly, sometimes somewhat affectionately,
of the Chieftains
has a vibrant musical pub on
Bridge Street at the heart of the
PubImage:westport night.jpg|Westport is a lively entertainment
townImage:westport pub.jpg|McCarthys Pub.
Westport through the year
Several festivals are held in and around Westport each year.
- The Westport Horse & Pony Show is held on
the first weekend in June.
- The Sea Angling Festival is held annually in
the third or fourth week in June. This is internationally acclaimed
and in existence for over 42 years, attracting sea anglers from all
over the world.
- The annual Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage is held
annually on the last Sunday in July.
- The Arts Festival is held in the second two
weeks of September. This is a festival of arts, music and
literature. Last year there was a revival of the [Westport
music festival]. This five day event will now run annually
in July at the Fairgreen. It began July 18 2006.
- The Westport Seafood Festival is held on the
October Bank Holiday weekend.
- The Westport Wellness Week Festival is also now growing in
popularity and was last held in the last week of February
Westport has one newspaper based in the town, the Mayo News
, founded in 1892. It is the place to
find what is happening in Westport and the surrounding region. The
free weekly Mayo Echo
is also available
throughout the town. There are also copies of the Mayo Advertiser
delivered door to door to houses in the area, as well as being
available in many businesses around the town.Other local papers
widely available are The Western People, The Connaught Telegraph
and The Mayo Advertiser.
The skyline reflects off the sand and
sea at Clew Bay, near the town
is a major tourist draw with visitors coming for several reasons.
important is the magnificent scenery of the area, and the proximity
to Connemara, Achill, Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick.
Quay Cottage restaurant over
is well known for sea-angling and freshwater fishing is popular on
nearby Loughs Mask and Carra and on the Eriff river
. Westport House and Pirate Adventure Park is a particular draw for
families, many of whom stay at the caravan and camping park which
belongs to Westport House.
Westport has an 18-hole golf
course, popular with visitors. A nearby 9-hole course has an
attached guest accommodation.In January 2008, Westport became
's first fully 3D town
allowing potential tourists and other visitors to the town stroll
through the streets whilst sitting at their computers
Westport House in summer 2007
- Westport is twinned with the town of Plougastel
Daoulas in the département of
Finistère in western Brittany.
Schoolchildren from the two towns regularly exchange visits.
- Westport is also partnered with the town of
Aror in Kenya, and the
people of Westport have often contributed to improving the
infrastructure of Aror.
St Patrick's statue at the
- There are three churches in the town namely, the Catholic Church, St Mary's, the Anglican church, Holy Trinity, and the
Evanglical church, Calvary Church Westport.
- Historically, a Methodist church on
existed on the Mall, but it has not been used for some years. It
was renovated a few years ago and is currently a restaurant.
- Religious genealogical records for the 19th century for the
Westport area (Church of Ireland, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Civil,
Gravestone Inscriptions, etc.) are held at the South Mayo Family
Research Centre in Ballinrobe and The Clew Bay Heritage Centre at
town is the terminus of a
250 km railway route
from the capital, Dublin, which
serves the town and surrounding area. This railway also
serves the county town, Castlebar, about 18 km east-north-east of
railway station opened on 28 January 1866. The line originally
ran through to Westport Quay station (opened on 1 January 1875 and
closed in April 1977). This line was lifted overnight in 1977 by
Éireann (CIE). In order to pacify local concern, the bulk of
the trackbed of this extension was converted to a public walkway,
still open today. There was also a branch to Achill Island branching off after the station, but this closed in
N5 national primary route also connects the
town to Castlebar, as well as connecting to the N4 near Longford that leads onward to Dublin. The other major
road passing through Westport is the N59
secondary route, which rambles around the West of Ireland both to
the north and south of the town.
Sunset over Clew Bay in Westport
- Westport has a small adjoining port, the Quay, once busy but no
longer used for commercial shipping, now a suburb notable for its
many warehouse conversions.The
quay is also known for its restaurants and pubs.
- It also includes the famous "point" pitch, training ground of
- A small museum, celebrating the history of Westport and
maritime history of Clew Bay, is open to the public here, the Clew
Bay Heritage Centre.
The Gaelic football club, Westport United soccer club and the Rugby
club have a venerable tradition in both county and national
competition. Westport is perfectly poised as a setting-off point
forsurfers nationwide. Adventure sports are moving ahead from hill
walking and mountain hiking to a range of water-based sports and
indeed mountain running
. The Gael
Force West event in Autumn 2006 and 2007 signified a topographical
recognition of Westport as an idyllic location for adventure sports
has always proven a popular fairweather activity.
fishing and shore angling in Clew Bay is seen more as a day out than a sport as such,
however there are angling competitions and festivals during the
The Westport GAA
club, CLG Chathair na Mart,
have a long history going back to the nineteenth century. Gaelic football
is the main sport played
within the club.
Westport Golf Club
is rated as
one of the top golf courses in Ireland. It is recognised as a
prestigious venue and has hosted both the Ladies Home
Internationals in 1989 and the Irish Amateur Close Championship on
three occasions, most recently in 1997. It also hosted the Irish PGA Championship
The Westport United
club was founded
in 1911. Westport United won the FAI Junior Cup in
2005 in front of 2,000 supporters in Kilkenny and play their home matches in the Sports Park;
matches are advertised on the local press.
The club colours
are red and black.
Bulls Rugby Club
is located a few kilometres out of town close
to the Golf Club. Players from ages 7 to senior age are welcome to
- Placenames Database of Ireland
- 'Westport House A Brief History' published by Westport House
- MyguideTravel Blog Google Earth and Tourism,
MyguideTravel.com Blog 3D Westport
- Irish Independent, Western town boldly goes
into virtual world