Top 10 Best things to do in Westport, County Mayo in 2024

things to do westport

If you are looking for a charming, quintessential West of Ireland town which offers something a little different from the crowded tourist locations of Galway and Killarney, then the town of Westport is an ideal option for 2024.

Westport is a designated heritage town located in the south-east corner of Clew Bay. When conjuring up images of Westport, the first that comes to mind is undoubtedly the majestic peak of Croagh Patrick, which provides a stunning backdrop to the town.

In addition to all the scenic beauty, the town itself is both charming and welcoming, with its tree-lined streets and colourful shop-fronts. Some of the best restaurants, cafes and pubs in the region can also be found in Westport. So all in all, it ticks many boxes.

I grew up close to the town of Westport and have visited more times that I could ever count. That’s why all the tips and advice I am going to give you today is 100 % local advice, (not AI generated!) and are experiences I highly recommend.

So let’s get into it, but first let me give you a brief overview of Westport and some tips and advice for visiting.

Basic Info & Facts about Westport, County Mayo

County: Mayo

Name in Irish: Cathair na Mart (city of the markets)

Population: 6,872 (2022)

Public Transport: Train station/bus station

Famous for: Croagh Patrick, The Great Western Greenway, Clew Bay, Grace O’Malley, Westport House & Estate, lively pubs & restaurants, beautiful nearby beaches and scenery.

Fun Facts: Westport folk are known as ‘Coveys’ and once spoke a dialect incomprehensible to outsiders. The world’s largest producer of Botox, Allergan, has a large facility in Westport.

Our Tips for Visiting Westport

  • Westport is best visited during a spell of good weather as there are some fantastic outdoor activities on offer.
  • Westport is at its busiest during the months from June to September, meaning accommodation is expensive. If possible, visiting during the shoulder season (March- May) will provide better rates.
  • We advise booking accommodation well in advance. Due to the Ukrainian crisis, as of 2024, some hotels are not open. Look here for more details.
  • Westport is a perfect base to explore one of the most beautiful areas of Ireland. Rent a car to make the most of it.
  • 2023 saw the opening of a new dual-carriageway which bypasses the nearby town of Castlebar, meaning it’s only around 3 hours by car from Dublin now.
  • If driving is not your thing, there is a train service from Dublin to Westport. Book seats in advance to avoid disappointment.

Our Favourite Things to do in Westport

As outlined in our best things to do in County Mayo article, Westport and its environs provide a plethora of excellent attractions and sights which will ensure you will have a great holiday in the region.

The ones I will present today are my ‘go-to’ activities and places I like to visit when in the area.

Conquer Ireland’s Holy Mountain, Croagh Patrick

things to do westport
Are there many better views in Ireland? image copyright: sweetisleofmine.com

Standing at 764 metres in height and within 15 minutes of Westport town, Croagh Patrick is famed far and wide as a site of pilgrimage and devotion. If you are lucky enough with the weather, climbing ‘The Reek’ is a must-do.

Its pyramid shaped peak is clearly visible from anywhere in the town and surrounding area and on a clear day you’ll be able to make out Patrick’s Chapel on top. It is said that Ireland’s patron, Patrick fasted on its summit for 40 days and nights.

The climb is quite challenging but 2024 saw the completion of naturally built steps on what was once an often treacherous gravel path. This has made a massive difference to its safety.

things to do westport

Although a challenging climb, the views from its summit make it incredibly rewarding. You’ll be amazed by the endless islands of Clew Bay and the sweeping coastal panorama.

It’s a mountain I have personally climbed many times and I can assure you, I never get sick of those views.

Related Read: Have a look at our detailed hiking guide to Croagh Patrick here.

Tip: For those of you looking for a challenge, why not check out the annual Sea to Summit Race.

Cycle, run or walk The Great Western Greenway

things to do westport
image: Gardiner Mitchell

Ireland’s longest designated off-road cycling trail, The Great Western Greenway starts in the town and finishes on Achill Island. It takes in some beautiful West of Ireland countryside and coastal views.

The facility has been further extended as of 2024 and now has a total length of 49 km. The first section will take you through rolling hills to the village of Newport, with its iconic bridge and recently unveiled Grace Kelly statue.

The next section is my personal favourite, as you will be rewarded with mountain views to your right and Clew Bay to your left. Take a break in Mulranny and visit one of the beautiful beaches there or grab a coffee at McLoughlinn’s.

things to do westport
image copyright: sweetisleofmine.com

The bike lane then goes all the way to Achill Island from here. The cycle is graded as moderate, but there are no steep inclines to be worried about. Bike rental companies are found in locations mentioned above and also offer pick up services along the trail.

Explore Westport House & Estate

things to do westport
image copyright: sweetisleofmine.com

Built in the 18th Century near the site of the O’Malley clan’s castle, this idyllic stately home and adjoining grounds is a great place to pass an afternoon.

Take a guided or an audio tour of the 30 rooms and 6 permanent exhibitions, where you get to experience how the aristocrats of Ireland lived during the Georgian era.

The grounds are lush and green, with wide open gardens and ancient Irish oak trees dotted around the estate. Take a leisurely stroll around the 400 acre grounds where you’ll come across idyllic woodlands, rivers and inlets.

westport house
image via Failte Ireland/copyright: Christian McLeod

In summer, there is a coffee trailer set up near the outhouses and there is a playroom set up inside the buildings.

Recently on a visit during the Christmas holidays, we paid a visit to the Gaming Zone in the Farmyard. Both young and old enjoyed an hour of virtual ball games and was an excellent way to pass a rainy afternoon!

You can also jump on the little train during the summer months which takes in the grounds and the town of Westport. This is very popular for families in the summer months, along with the ‘rentable swans’. You’ll have no problem finding them as they are in high demand during fine weather!

Grab some food at one of the many excellent restaurants

things to do westport
West of Ireland Mussels

Westport is known far and wide for its culinary scene. Its coastal location means you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to seafood. You’ll find a great variety of west of Ireland dishes on offer, from fresh mussels to local lamb.

Perhaps the most well-known restaurant is An Port Mór, where head chef cooks up some beautiful dishes using locally sourced ingredients (I highly recommend the Clew Bay scallops)

There are countless other great restaurants in the town. Recently I visited Arno’s, a restaurant combining French and Irish cuisine. Booking well in advance is highly recommended here.

For more casual dining with hearty Irish food and fantastic seafood, a visit to the Helm is an absolute must. Fresh fish is always on offer here and Shane and staff are always friendly and accommodating.

Enjoy a few pints in a traditional pub

things to do westport
 image: Failte Ireland/Outlier

No visit to Westport is complete without a visit to one of the many fine public houses. The go-to is Matt Molloy’s and for good reason. The bar staff informed me recently that they have live music every night of the year! Matt’s will get busy during the weekend but midweek is ideal.

Tip: For those of you who enjoy a pint of Bavarian Weissbier, Matt Molloy’s has the well known ‘Weihenstephaner’ on tap!

Next door is the Porter House, an award-winning spot known for Irish music and a great alternative if Matt’s is thronged.

A pub I have grown very fond of lately in Westport is Moran’s. Entering, you may be confused as the front part of the pub is stocked with groceries! This was quite common in Ireland in years gone by, the pub doubled up as a shop (or the other way around, depending on where your priorities lie)

In any case, I am going to stick my neck out here and say Moran’s has the best pint of Guinness in Westport. Try it and let me know what you reckon…

Take a cruise on majestic Clew Bay

things to do westport
image copyright: sweetisleofmine.com

If you are lucky enough with the weather, I highly recommend a cruise on Clew Bay. Clew Bay is regarded by many as Ireland’s most beautiful bay. Whatever you may believe, it is certainly its most unique.

The Clew Bay cruise is something I have personally done and the sunset I witnessed on that summer’s evening will stay etched in my memory for a long time.

The cruise starts at the Quays and will take you out amongst the many drumlin islands of the bay, passing a seal colony, and with majestic views of Croagh Patrick. The commentary is both interesting and humorous, with a great little anecdote about when John Lennon decided to buy one of Clew Bay’s islands.

Check here for sailing times and rates.

Why not climb Croagh Patrick in the afternoon and take an evening cruise on the bay? Then off into town for a few pints? Now, there’s a day out to remember.

Catch a show at Westport Town Hall Theatre

things to do westport

The Town Hall Theatre is a fantastic facility in Westport town. It hosts numerous shows from comedy nights to drama, traditional music to magic. It is located on the Octagon across from An File pub.

Last year, I had the pleasure of seeing Sean Keane in concert, as he had a residency in the theatre. Summer 2024 will again see a return to Westport of the Irish legend with shows starting in June and running to the end of August.

Keep and eye out here and maybe a show will coincide with your visit to Westport.

Take a leisurely stroll through the town & along The Quays

things to do westport

The locals take great pride in their town and rightly so. A multiple winner of the national ‘Tidy Towns’ competition, Westport is both clean and colourful.

In the warmer months, keep your eyes open for flowers nestled on the old stone bridges over the Carrowmore river, along with the colourful shopfronts and tree-lined streets. It’s no wonder Westport attracts plenty of local and overseas visitors.

Make your way up Bridge Street to the Clock Tower and drop into ‘This must be the Place’ for the best coffee. Coffee in hand stroll over to the Octagon and take in the beautiful building of the Wyatt, as well as the Glendenning Monument.

If you are still up for it, continue down to the Quays (a 2 km walk) and loop back up to town via the grounds of Westport House.

Visit one of the beautiful nearby beaches

things to do westport
Old Head: image copyright: sweetisleofmine.com

A very common question you’ll hear is, ‘Does Westport have a beach?’ While there is no long and sandy beach, there is the well-known ‘Point’ located at the most westerly point of Roman Island.

You’ll find this spot is very popular with the locals on a fine day. The waters are of course on the chilly side but there are magnificent views out over Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick.

Recently this whole area has been renovated beautifully with plenty of parking and picnic benches, so if you’re not up for braving the Atlantic, you can still relax and take in the beautiful views.

If it’s proper beaches you are after, well the good news is are some of the West of Ireland’s finest beaches a stone’s throw away from the town. You’ll need to have a car to reach them though.

A 15 minute drive is the stunning sand spit strand of Bertra, nestled beautifully at the foot of Croagh Patrick.

things to do westport

A few minutes further out the road towards Louisburgh is possibly Mayo’s best beach for families, the wonderfully sheltered Old Head.

Driving out past Louisburgh and you’ll be treated to more gorgeous, expansive beaches, such as Silver Strand, Carrownisky (known for surfing) and the wildly beautiful White Strand. Many of those beaches have featured on our best beaches in Mayo article here.

Go on a breathtaking road trip on the Wild Atlantic Way

things to do westport

Strategically, for those of you wishing to experience the Wild Atlantic Way, Westport is a perfect base. We recommend staying a minimum of 3 nights, which will give you ample opportunities to enjoy the outdoor activities on offer and to experience the scenic beauty of West Mayo.

We recommend the following 2 road trips from Westport:

  • South Mayo Loop: Westport-Louisburgh-Doolough-Leenaun-Erriff Valley-Westport
  • Clew Bay & Achill Atlantic Drive: Westport-Newport-Mulranny-Corraun-Achill- Westport

The South Mayo Loop will take you along Clew Bay, through the jaw-dropping Doolough Valley, Ireland’s only true fjord at Killary and through the picturesque Erriff Valley. In terms of variety of scenery, there are few roads to match it.

Just key in these directions and off you go!

The Clew bay and Achill Island drive will take you along the northern shores of Clew Bay through picturesque Mulranny and onto one of the true highlights of the Wild Atlantic Way, Achill Island. You’ll finish up at one of the world’s best beaches at Keem.

Here are the directions for this fantastic road trip.

Related Read: Keem Beach guide.

What if it’s raining when I visit Westport?

Yeah, the West of Ireland sure sees its fair share of rain. Well, as they say it never rained on a high stool! All jokes aside, if the weather is terrible, why not go on a road trip to experience the real Wild Atlantic Way in all its splendour?

Or have a look at our post here which gives you a nice overview of some indoor activities in and around Westport.

Conclusion

Many claim Westport to be a ‘mini Galway’, which in our minds is no bad thing. It has all the same ingredients that make Galway a top place to visit, minus the massive crowds.

We reckon Westport is an excellent place for both and active holiday or a relaxing break. We hope our list has been helpful and if you have any further questions, we’d be delighted to help. We know the place like the back of our hands!

Your Questions about Westport answered

Over the years, I have been asked many questions about Westport and these are the ones that crop up again and again.

Is Westport worth visiting on my trip to Ireland?

Westport has so much to offer. From a rich history and cultural heritage to the nearby scenic beauty of Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick, along with a vibrant food and pub scene, Westport is without doubt one of Ireland’s top destinations.

What is a fun fact about Westport?

Here are 2. Westport folk are known as Covey’s and once spoke a dialect incomprehensible to outsiders. Also, the world’s largest producer of Botox, Allergan, has a facility in the town.

Is Westport expensive to visit?

In the summer months, hotels are quite expensive. We recommend scouting around for B&Bs as you’ll find better rates here. Also if visiting in the spring or autumn, hotel rates are far mroe reasonable.

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