Westport is an appealing Georgian style town, arranged in wide, tree lined avenues by the architect James Wyatt in the 1770’s on behalf of the Browne family, who settled in County Mayo from Sussex. Established in conjunction with the estate at Westport House, the town began as a trading centre for slate, yarn and cloth, and beer, but failed to follow the trend to industrialization in the mid 1800s. Its population went into serious decline during the Famine years.
In the 1950s, the visitor trade and new industry breathed new life into the town, where attractive Malls sit along the Carrowbeg River. A farmer’s market is held in the town’s octagonal centre each Thursday morning, and shops that sell traditional items line the streets radiating out from the town centre. Westport has many interesting restaurants and pubs, one of the most famous being Matt Malloy’s, named for its owner who is also famous as the Cheiftains’ flautist.
Westport Quay has recently been the site of extensive renovation, including a huge former warehouse that is now the home of an attractive group of holiday apartments.
Westport is normally a busy town, and literally bursts at the seams with visitors every year on the last Sunday in July, when the annual St. Patrick pilgrim’s walk to Croagh Patrick takes place.