A group of friends, including Liz and myself, hired a cottage in Westport for a week in May 2017. Our first port of call: a pub in Westport Quay, the “Helm Hotel”, where fresh Clew Bay Clams were washed down with pints of Guinness.
Pubs in Ireland are renowned for their convivial atmosphere, friendly locals and the “craic” Irish expression of fun. In Westport Matt Molloy’s, named after and owned by the flautist from the Chieftains, is a must visit. In pubs in Ireland you place your order, bar staff start to pull your pint(s) then take orders from the next person, and the one after, then after a period return with your pint(s) perfect, no spillage, and then you pay. Some locals leave their wallets on the bar. Most of the pubs in Westport had musicians playing, some local, also from other areas in Ireland and from other countries.
Walks included the wild Atlantic Coast and Croagh Patrick Ireland’s Holy Mountain. The ascent of 2,510ft was very challenging; scree, boulders and a rough path (penitents often make the pilgrimage barefoot, we had boots on). The view from the summit was fantastic. The descent was really difficult but as we walked across the car park, yes “Campbell’s Pub” alongside.
We hired cycles and rode 42 km along the “Great Western Greenway”, which follows an old Railway Track from the Island of Achill to Westport Quay. It is fantastic trail, moorland, alongside lochs, views of mountains (including Croagh Patrick across the Bay), and wonderful café en route. A mini-bus to the start of the trail, on returning the cycles at Westport we were asked if we need transport to our accommodation, we said no thank you but “can you recommend a really good pub?“ The young lady said the nearest of many was just across the road.
We hired mini-buses to take our group to the start of walks and collect us at the end and travelled with Ryanair from East Midland Airport to Knock. Thanks to Gerry for organising the trip.