Thursday, May 5, 2016
Soon after my trip to Ireland in 2012, I learned about Grace O'Malley (Grainne Ni Mhaille) who was known as the Irish Pirate Queen or "The Sea Queen of Connacht", I read the book "Ireland's Pirate Queen - The True Story of Grace O'Malley" written by Anne Chambers. I am still hoping to discover that I am related somehow to both Grace O'Malley and Anne Chambers.
The Westport House is a beautiful historic home built in 1650 by Colonel John Browne and his wife Maud Burke (Grace O'Mallley's great great granddaughter). It was built near the site of the O'Malley Castle.
I missed seeing the Westport House in 2012, but decided it was a "must see place to visit" on my latest trip to Ireland. Although the Westport House property also contains a Pirate Adventure Park and campgrounds, our sole focus was the historic house.; The house is located in parkland setting with a lake and terraces. It also has a view of Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick. It is definitely a must see on anyone's trip to Westport!
In 2012, my husband and I visited Westport for just a few hours. We stopped there on our way back from Castlebar and Islandeady to Galway. We ate some lunch and did a little shopping. I thought it was a darling town and decided then that I needed to return some day to do more exploration. So, of course when planning our latest trip a stop in Westport was a no-brainer!
Westport (or in Irish "Cathair na Mart") is located on the southeast corner of Clew Bay. Croagh Patrick is just ten kilometers west of the town. One of the main things that I love about Westport is that the Carrowbeg River runs through the town, surrounded by low stones walls with hanging baskets of flowers from the walls and the bridges.
We visited St. Mary's Catholic Church in Westport. The original church was built in 1831 in a neo-Gothic style. However, the congregation became too big for the church so the present day church was built in two phases in 1928 and 1958.
Spending just the afternoon in Westport was not long enough, so we decided to return the next day to tour the Westport House.