There's lots to see and do in Westport, all within range of Broadlands B&B
The Great Western Greenway
The Great Western Greenway is a trail in County Mayo, Ireland. It is 42 kilometres (26 miles) long and begins in Westport and ends in Achill, passing through the towns of Newport and Mulranny as it runs along the coast of Clew Bay. It is an off-road trail intended for use by cyclists and walkers. It follows the route of the former Achill extension of the Westport railway line, which was constructed in the 1890s and closed in 1937.
Fascinating interpretive centre recounting and revealing the 5000 year old Stone Age landscape of stone-walled fields, dwellings and megalithic tombs that are preserved under the blanket of bogland in Ballycastle, Co. Mayo. Also in the vicinity there are majestic sea cliffs towering 100 meters above the Atlantic Ocean.
Knock Basilica - Marian Shrine
The story of Knock began on the 21st August 1879 when Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist appeared at the south gable of Knock Parish Church. The apparition was witnessed by fifteen people, young and old. From this miraculous Apparition Knock has grown to the status of an internationally recognised Marian Shrine. While the original church still stands, a new Apparition chapel with statues of Our Lady, St Joseph, the lamb and St John the Evangelist, has been built next to it. Knock Basilica is a separate building showing a tapestry of the apparition. A number of cures and favours are associated with visitors to Our Lady of Knock’s Shrine and those who claim to have been cured here still leave crutches and sticks at the spot where the apparition is believed to have occurred all those years ago.
Museum of Country Life, Castlebar
The National Museum of Ireland – Country Life is home to the national collection of objects representing the traditional way of life in Ireland since 1850. A visit is a must to explore the lives of the Irish people from the mid 19th to the mid 20th Century. A great destination for all the family, view crafts and exhibitions. You must also visit Historic Turlough House; there is no entry charge to either the Museum or the House.
Visit Ballintubber Abbey, which marked the start of the ancient pilgrim path, called Tochar Phadraic, to Croagh Patrick. Enjoy a period of quiet reflection among the ancient walls of the Abbey. View the Audio visual documenting the history of the abbey and visit the small gift shop. The Celtic Furrow Visitor Centre offers guided tours from June to end of August tracing 5000 years of Irish culture from Neolithic farmers, to the Celts and the early Christians.
Cruises on the Killary
Killary Harbour, Connemara is Ireland's only Fjord. You can board the all weather luxury catamaran in Leenane village; about 40 minutes drive from Westport. Four sailings daily which travel out the Killary to the Atlantic Ocean with breathtaking views of Mweelrea Mountain the highest mountain in Connaught on your right and the Connemara Mountains on your left. No matter what the weather you can enjoy the beautiful rugged scenery that is unique to this part of the world. Look out for the wild dolphins! Full bar and food available on board.
Westport Leisure Park
A great destination for all the family, especially for rainy days. You can 'Pay and Play' as you go. There is a Children's Playground adjacent to the Leisure Centre and a Cineplex for those rainy days. The Leisure Centre caters for people with disabilities or special needs and there is no charge for carers. There is a twenty five metre swimming pool while kids and toddlers will love the children's pool area which is fully supervised. Use the sauna and plunge pool or relax in the jacuzzi after your work-out in the state of the art Techno-Gym fitness suite.
Westport Golf Club
Set in 260 acres of rolling parkland on the shores of Clew Bay, Westport Golf Club is situated in the shadow of Croagh Patrick, Ireland's Holy mountain amidst some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable. Westport Golf Club has a well-earned reputation for its hospitality, warmth and friendliness to visitors. One thing you can be sure of at Westport Golf Club is being made feel welcome.
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.
The staging of the 2002 Smurfit Irish P.G.A. Championship in Westport clearly establishes Mayo as the premier golf county in Ireland. No other county has the combination of a regional airport, a wide range of affordable accommodation, a National Tidy Town Award Winner and most importantly easy accessibility to every type of golf course imaginable.
The Course was designed by the internationally renowned Golf architect, Fred Hawtree, of the renowned British firm of Hawtree and Sons. He said of the course, "the nature of the terrain, part inland and part seaside, the panorama which it commands and its considerable golfing virtues, make it uniquely attractive and memorable."
The Westport Sli na Slainte is a traffic free 2.5km linear route along a disused railway line which links Westport's Town with the Quay Area, which was once a thriving commercial port and has enjoyed recent rejuvenation, as a major tourism base.
The disused railway line, now known as the Westport Greenway offers users traffic free walking and cycling and a gentle gradient not greater than 1.6% as well as impressive vista of Croagh Patrick and Clew Bay. The Greenway continues along the original railway line from Westport to Newport one of Mayo’s historical towns to Malranny which is a beautiful seaside village. Overlooking Malranny strand and Croagh Patrick across Clew Bay, it continues through the mountains and along the sea-shore to historic and beautiful Achill Island with its majestic mountains blue flag beaches spectacular coastal roads with awesome unspoilt scenery cliffs and more. You will be on first name terms with sheep that usually rest and sleep in the middle of the road and are not one bit phased by either cyclists or cars going by. Achill Island has had its share of tragedies apart from the Great Irish Famine a large number of families were bereaved by the Clew Bay drowning of 16 poor souls when their boat sank and the Bothy Fire in Kirkintillock near Glasgow in Scotland when 10 “tatyhokers” were burned to death in a Barn. They are all buried in Kildownet cemetery which is on the road to Cloughmore.
Clew Bay Heritage Centre
Clew Bay Heritage Centre is located on the Quay, Westport in a 19th century building, just 2 kilometres from the centre of the historic town of Westport. It is a fascinating museum of local heritage, traditions, people and places. It has a full genealogical service.
Clew Bay Heritage Centre traces the history of the planned town and the Clew Bay area from pre-Christian times to the present. Artefacts, documents and photographs connected with the general Westport area provide a basis for the presentation of local history, customs and traditions.
Clare Island, located 3.5 miles off the Mayo coast, is well worth a visit. With its rugged cliffs and breathtaking views, it is the largest of the 365 islands in Clew Bay.
The island's complex history can be read through its landscape: from archaeological remains of the Neolithic and Bronze age, to rare medieval wall-paintings in the 14th century abbey, to the 'Pirate Queen' Grace O'Malley's (Grainneuaile) castle and burial place.
The island lies roughly four miles off the nearest mainland point ie Roonagh Prior near Louisburgh approximately 26km from Westport. The ferry crossing takes approximately 20 minutes at regular intervals. The current permanent population of 130 increases substantially during the summer when there is a steady tourist season.
Designed by the famous architects Richard Cassels and James Wyatt in the 18th century. Westport House is located west of the Shannon and is one of Irelands most historic homes open to the public. Westport House enjoys a superb parkland setting with lake, terraces, wonderful 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, Grace O'Malley. Lord and Lady Altamount and their family are in residence.
During the 16th century Grace O'Malley or Granuaile was a famous Pirate and 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 (now known as the Dungeons) which is on view to the visitors.A bronze statue of Grace O'Malley by artist Michael Cooper is situated on the Westport House grounds.
The original house was built by Colonel John Browne, a Jacobite, who was at the siege of Limerick, and his wife Maud Bourke. Maud Bourke was Grace O'Malley's great-granddaughter. The House then had no lake or damn and the tide rose and fell against the wall.
As well as the magnificent Historical and Cultural aspects Westport House and Country Park has to offer, there is also a wide range of other fun attractions and facilities (suitable for a variety of age groups) available to the day visitor. These include: Childrens play area, Swan Pedaloes, Log Flume, Train Ride Jungle World, Pitch and Putt, childrens karting, zorbing, archery, laser clay pigeon shooting, zip-wire and much more.
The newest attraction on the grounds of Westport House is The Westport Festival of Music and Food which occurs at the end of June each year. It is an eclectic mix of music performed by national and international musicians presented at a family friendly venue. For extra information contact the Westport House website.