Westport and Clew Bay
The town of Westport was recently voted the best place to live in Ireland by the Irish Times and you can see why when you visit the town. It’s a seaside town but not beach holiday type, it has a big port where people have their boats moored and it sits in Clew bay which legend says has 365 islands dotted throughout the bay, but it is more like 117. It is in Co Mayo in Western Ireland.
It is also on the Wild Atlantic Way, on the way to Croagh Patrick locally known as “The Reek” which overlooks the town.
It was designed in the 1800s on a Georgian theme, with a couple of streets of nice little shops and the river running throughout with flower decorated bridges going across at certain points for traffic and walkers.
Westport is home to Matt Molloy’s pub of Chieftain fame and he regularly still plays live music there during one of the regular Irish music sessions. Matt Molloy is a traditional Irish musician and plays the flute; he is very famous in Ireland and has won many accolades for his talent. The pub is typically, traditional Irish from what I’ve seen of Irish pubs so far while I have been here, the main theme seems to be collections, they all have huge collections of memorabilia and Matt Molloys is no different, lovely atmospheric place where fun and joy combine with Guinness and music to make for a wonderful night out.
When I arrived at Westport it was a beautiful sunny day so I visited the port first and took a walk around the boats and just admired the views out to sea where the horizon is dominated by mountains and islands, an amazing sight.
Westport is very keen to encourage more cycling and they have steel bicycles placed all over the town encouraging people to cycle more often, part of the Great Western Greenway cycle route runs from Westport all the way to Achill Island and is on traffic free trails.
After my walk around the port I stopped off at Matt Molloys for a quick half of Guinness which really is a lovely drink over here in Ireland. I met a couple of ladies who had been shopping they were locals who often came in for a quick glass of wine during their shopping trips, we spent the afternoon chatting, I love to meet the locals.
I also took a walk around the shops not that I like shopping but I knew I was staying close by in Castlebar so wanted to check out my environment, lovely place, it is quite expensive for most things in Ireland though, apart from Diesel which is under a pound over here.
I drove all around the town to get a feel for my surroundings and further out toward the islands on the road to Croagh Patrick, this was the day I discovered the mountain and I have since climbed it.
There are plenty of beaches around Clew bay and I drove to most of them on the WAW, I didn’t stay long at each one, but every different one I went to was beautiful for different reasons, especially Bertra Strand, which is a long thin piece of beach which joins the mainland with a small island, so it is like a long sand dune where you can sunbathe either side of the beach, on the inner side you would be looking across the bay toward Westport and on the other side you would be looking out at the Atlantic. There is a really good view of it from the top of Croagh Patrick.
The islands of Clew bay are mostly uninhabited but there are quite a few that people live on throughout the whole year. There are plenty of water sports schools in the area and you can take a ferry trip around the islands. It is said to be the most beautiful bay in Ireland and I definitely think so too. Another place I would like to come back to. I have included a video made by the BBC about Clew Bay, with aerial footage, you can see how beautiful it is.