A Brief History of Westport

The earliest settled habitation of the Westport area was approximately 5000years ago which is reflected in the many megalithic monuments found on the Clew Bay Archeological Trail.  In the 16th Century Westport or Cathair na Mart as it is known in the Irish language was an important stronghold for the O Malley Clan. An infamous Pirate Queen called Grace O Malley held control of the fortress in Westport as well as many other sites along the shores of Clew Bay.


In the 17th century the Browne Family moved to Westport and built a home on the site of the O Malley Fortress. In 1730 they employed a famous German architect called Mr. Richard Cassels to design the magnificent building of Westport House and interestingly the dungeons of the old O Malley fortress can still be seen on a visit to Westport House.


The village of Westport originally consisted of thatched cabins and was situated on the front lawn of Westport House with a high street and little alleys leading down to the Carrowbeg River. In the mid 18th century Sir John Browne decided to relocate the village 1500m inland to its current position and contracted the architect William Leeson to plan the town. A proposal announcing the new town of Westport appeared in the Dublin Journal, March 1767.


In 1800 Sir John Denis Browne, Lord Sligo embarked on the ambitious plans of developing the Mall on both sides of the Carrowbeg River. It consists of 400m of tree lined boulevards, with two cascades and had three crossings of stone arched bridges. The buildings on both sides of the Mall were built in wonderful Georgian character and many remain intact to this day.

Westport Today

Westport is the third largest town in Mayo with an urban population of 5,543 (Census 2011). It hosts a remarkable natural and built environment combined with a vibrant, friendly resident population which enables the delivery of quality tourism products.  The town of Westport is located in the West of Ireland and can be accessed by road, rail, bike, sea and near by Ireland West Airport (Knock).  The site of the town offers visitors an opportunity to experience a well maintained urban setting on the banks of the beautiful Carrabawn River in addition to a bustling Quay area on the shores of Clew Bay. The topography and biodiversity of the Westport’s environs provides for spectacular scenery which enables visitors to the area to capture a real sense of our heritage and landscape. The town has won numerous awards which justly reflect the efforts of local community groups.


Here is just a sample of the awards to date:


2001    Ireland's Tidiest Town

2003    Ireland's Best Kept Town

2004    Entente Florale Gold Medal

2005    Ireland's Best Kept Town

2006    Ireland's Tidiest Town

2007    Pride of Place Award/Communities in Bloom International Award

2008    Ireland's Tidiest Town

2009    Winner of Green Destination and Winner of Five Blooms

2012    Ireland's Tidiest Town

               Irish Times – Best Place to Live

               Winner of Retail Excellence Award


Westport Tourism Organisation

JOIN WTOIf you are interested in being listed on the Westport Town Map, Westport Tourism Information Kiosk on the Quay or the Westport Tourism Website please contact: westportmap@gmail.com In the late 1950s Westport and District Tourism Development Company was established to promote tourism in the area and one of the first events they organised was an international sea angling festival on Clew Bay to encourage overseas anglers to Westport.   In the 1980’s Westport Tourism Organisation, a voluntary organisation succeeded the Tourism Development Company and to this day strives for the development of new services and activities for the visitor as well as undertaking various competitions, research and marketing projects.