List of Historic Sites in the Town of Westport

    (1) Clew Bay Heritage Centre

    Prior to its acquisition by Westport Historical Society, this building was once used for holding live pigs for shipping from the Quay. The original sloping floor with gridded tiles remains. This Westport museum has a variety of local artefacts, documents and photographs relating personal and national histories. There is a 3-D model of Westport town as well as a collection of farming and marine machinery.

    (2) John MacBride's Family Home (The Helm)

    This pub was built on the site of the McBride Family home, birthplace of Major John McBride, one of the executed leaders of the 1916 Rebellion.

    (3) The Custom House

    This early 19th-century former Customs Offices and Stores for the Harbour are now an art gallery that holds regular exhibitions of work by contemporary visual artists. Upstairs are studios used by visiting and local artists.

    (4) Terrace of 18th-Century Harbour-workers' Houses

    In behind these 18th-century row houses are the remains of earlier dwellings.

    (5) Old Harbour-Master's House

    At the bottom of Boffin Street stands the Harbour Master's house, including old stone granaries and stores behind, as well as a walled garden.

    (6) Revenue Row

    19th-century houses for the Revenue Officers.

    (7) Westport House

    This was built on the base of the original 15th-century castle belonging to the O'Malley clan, the remains of which can still be seen in the dungeons. The most famous of the O'Malleys was Gráinne Uaile, or Grace O'Malley, also known as “the Pirate Queen,” who controlled the seas around Clew Bay and Connemara.

    In the early 17th century John Brown married Maude Burke, great great granddaughter of Gráinne Uaile, and in 1650 started building a house for them on top of the original castle. Additions and alterations to the house were completed in the 18th century. The architects who infuenced the Georgian character of the house are Richard Cassels, James Wyatt and Thomas Ivory.

    Following the death of the 11th Marquess of Sligo in 2014, Westport House was sold to the Hughes, a local business family, bringing to an end the Browne family's ownership after nearly 400 years.

    (8) Cathair na Mart

    The mound under the trees just beyond the front lawn to the east of Westport House is said to be the original site of the settlement of Cathair na Mart, which is the Irish name for Westport.

    (9) Old Church Tower in the Trees by Westport House

    The stone tower is the only remaining part of the original Church of Ireland. There are some monuments and graves nearby under the trees. The church was replaced by Holy Trinity Church closer to the centre of the town in 1872.

    (10) Demesne Wall

    Built partly as a boundary to keep out unwanted visitors and straying animals, but also to provide local employment in a time of hardship, such walls around similar big houses and estates are often called Famine Walls.

    (11) Holy Trinity Church (Church of Ireland)

    Built in 1872 to replace the previous church in Westport House Demesne, it was designed and built in the neo-Gothic style by Woodward and Deane, incorporating Arts-and-Crafts style hand-carved stonework. The interior is unusual, featuring a single nave with a hammer-beam roof and striking murals.

    (12) Holy Trinity National School

    Also called the Lecture Hall, it is used both as a primary school and as a venue for community events. Prior to its opening as a school in 1831, it was used as a cholera hospital during an epidemic.

    (13) Jeffers Hotel (Railway Hotel)

    This substantial hotel was financed by Peter Browne in 1780 to encourage visitors to the town. Following the canalising of the Carrowbeg river, the North Mall became the main route into Westport House, passing through enormous gates positioned near the present Library and Hotel Westport. That entrance to Westport House was in use until the 1970s.

    (14) Post Office

    This was built in 1899 and displays a new architectural style, which features horizontal lines, in contrast to the vertical lines of Georgian architecture. The architect, Howard Pentland, designed several Post Offices for the Office of Public Works.

    (15) Old Dower House for Westport House (Currently Credit Union, formerly Bank of Ireland),

    This was built as the Dower House for Westport House and is the most signifcant Georgian structure in the town. It does not seem to have been used by the Brownes, but was leased instead to a Robert Patton and eventually became the residence of the agent for the Bank of Ireland. Westport was one of the first branches that the bank established outside of Dublin. After the Bank of Ireland moved out in 2014, it was acquired by Westport Credit Union.

    (16) Courtyard and Georgian Walled Garden (Curtilage of the Old Dower House)

    Although now belonging to different owners, originally the property included the Old Dower House, with the Courtyard, consisting of outhouses and a carriage house, a kennel and animal quarters (all now falling into some neglect), along with the Walled Garden, which provided the residents of the house with fruit and vegetables, flower beds and leisure areas, the remains of which still exist beneath the creeping tangle of brambles. Many of the original flowers lining the paths still bloom, and the fruit trees and bushes in the old orchard still bear blossoms and fruit.

    (17) Old Methodist Church

    The original chapel was built in 1791 and in 1874 was replaced by the present one, which is now used as a restaurant.

    (18) St. Mary's Church (Roman Catholic)

    Built in 1813, the church was slightly modifed in 1932 and rebuilt in 1961. The facade of the old church was level with those of the houses along the South Mall and had Gothic windows and a central door beneath a bell tower. The facade of the new church is recessed, with an open porch. It has a dome over the apse in a Renaissance-style building. The position of the altar was changed from the east to the south of the building.

    (19) Bridges

    The three main bridges crossing the Carrowbeg River in the centre of town were constructed in the early 19th century when the river was canalised.

    (20) The Octagon

    This 8-sided structure, central to Westport, is a striking feature of the planned town and is crowned with a statue of St. Patrick atop the central column. The Wyatt Theatre, to its west side, has a prominent clock cupola and was used as a market house when the open-air market was held on the Octagon. There was a weigh-bridge in front, the outline of which can still be seen. Today the Theatre stands empty.

    (21) Former Garda Barracks (now the local office of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection)

    Imposing steps lead up the front of this building to a fine doorway, best viewed from across the James Street. Attached to the building are old terraced houses. It was used by the Browne family during the Famine, when Westport House was closed, as the Dower House had already been leased to a third party.

    (23) Postboxes

    The pillar-box on the corner of Shop Street next to the Clock Tower has embossed on its front the letters GR, along with the Imperial Crown, signifying George V, who was king of England from 1910-1936. It used to be painted an Imperial red, but is now green. There is a smaller postbox set into the wall at the Train Station, also similarly embossed and re-painted.

    (24) Clock Tower and Phone Box

    Built in 1947, this is the only Art Deco municipal clock in Ireland. It is also known as the 4-faced liar, due to the fact that it often displays different times on each of the 4 faces! Beneath it stands a traditional wooden phone box.

    (25) The Merchant House (now La Bella Vita Restaurant)

    Boasting three foors and elegant decorations on the facade, this building is grander than most houses in the town.

    (26) John's Row

    The oldest street in the town, much of it was built as accommodation for soldiers in the Military Barracks, which stood in the present-day Elms housing estate.

    (27) Prospect Avenue

    Many of the houses lining one side of this lane were built to house officers at the Military Barracks.

    (28) Old Military Hospital

    “The Laurels,” at the end of Prospect Avenue, now privately owned, was the former military hospital.

    (29) Boffin Street

    Old fishermen's cottages huddle at the top of Boffin Street.

    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