Westport Town

    Westport, Co. Mayo is situated on the rugged west coast of Ireland, directly across the country from the nation’s capital, Dublin. It is nestled in the southeast corner of Clew Bay, studded with 365 islands, one for every day of the year (as legend has it). Towering above the bay is the striking pyramidal mountain of Croagh Patrick, Ireland's holy mountain and ancient pilgrimage site.

    Westport originated as a 16th-century settlement, surrounding one of the castles belonging to the famous “pirate queen,”Gráinne Uaile – also known as Grace O'Malley – of the powerful seafaring Ó Máille (O'Malley) clan. The castle was built upon land near the tidal port where the Carrowbeg River, which flows through the centre of present-day Westport, joins the coast in the southeast corner of Clew Bay.

    Westport House was constructed in the 1730s on the foundations of the O'Malley castle. The castle's dungeon is still incorporated in the basement of the house. The settlement surrounding it expanded, and in 1780 John Browne, the Earl of Altamont, decided to move the village further inland.

    A Georgian architect, William Leeson from Tipperary, was commissioned to design the new town along the Carrowbeg River, an area now known as “The Mall.” This initiative distinguished Westport as one of Ireland's few planned towns. The town and its port became busy centres of trade, as industries developed, such as linen and cotton mills, breweries, whiskey distilleries, a herring fishery, and corn and flour mills.

    Today Westport is considered a Heritage Town and is also one of three of Ireland's designated Historic Towns, along with Listowel and Youghal. It is a thriving centre of about 5,500 inhabitants, with a great variety of businesses, arts and crafts enterprises, markets, hotels, restaurants and pubs, surrounded by farmland, mountains, woodland and sea, providing a variety of natural amenities.

    Westport Civic Trust Aims

    Promote and initiate the preservation and protection, renewal and improvement of the buildings and other features of the natural, historical, cultural, scientific and architectural interest of the area, for the benefit of the community.

    Westport Civic Trust


    © 2018 Westport Civic Trust