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This page is
excerpted from:

Cruising the Wild Atlantic Way

SSCA Cruising Station

OCC Port Officer

Trans Ocean

An Afternoon in Westport on Clew Bay

It was a crisp but gloriously sunny Sunday in February in the west of Ireland.  Naturally, the breakfast conversation was all about the options for the day’s potential activities.  Should we take a walk in the wooded hills, ride our bicycles along the Greenway, or take a boat trip on the Bay?  Such difficult decisions. As the tides were fair, the boat trip won. And since we’d gone to Newport last weekend, we decided to head in the opposite direction for lunch in Westport.

As we carefully picked our way among the islands on a rising tide, the sunlight streamed in welcome warmth. It was another remarkably calm day on this often wind-swept coast.  There was little swell so the ride was relatively smooth.   The way into the Quay was well marked.  We picked our way cautiously among shallows until we made our way past the old factory and ruins on Roman Island. (It’s too bad that there’s such blight on such a magical spot.) As we rounded the bend and entered the Quay area, we chose our spot close to the head of the harbour where we tied up to one of the fishing vessels. There are stairs and ladders all along the wall, providing good access to the street level.

We strolled leisurely along the Quay looking into shop windows and greeting other strollers.  We bought a Sunday paper and then moseyed back to The Helm, one of our new favourite places for lunch.  We were greeted warmly at the door, given a choice of bar or table, and soon the lovely creamy Guinness was flowing.  Every table was packed. The atmosphere was jovial, with families and groups enjoying a hearty winter lunch with friends.

I had the seafood chowder which, always a winner, warmed my core. Alex had a burger done just the way he likes. We were satiated and toasty, ready to head back out on the Bay towards home.  Of course, we had to stop on a couple of the islands to explore a treasure or two washed up in the last storm.  There’s always a treasure waiting to be discovered. 

It was a glorious day on beautiful Clew Bay. The mood on Croagh Patrick was totally different on the way back with rain showers and sunshine casting eerie shadows and lighting.  The centre of the Bay stayed warm and sunny all the way home. The cloud patterns are curious here. Clare Island parts the clouds as the come in off the Atlantic, and they get caught on the peaks of Croagh Patrick and Nephin on either side, while the middle of the Bay stays remarkably clear on many days .  Already we realized that we’d had more time on the water this year than all of last year and it’s only February. May the good fortune continue to shine down on us. 

Croagh Patrick - Ireland's Holy Mountain
There are grand development plans for Westport Quay including a marina dredged to a good depth behind a new breakwater.  Availability of funding will determine its future.  The waterfront is already charming having benefitted from Celtic Tiger years, and it’s about to receive a facelift with new walkways and an outdoor amphitheatre.  Get out there and find out for yourselves what’s new here and there.

How to get there

If sailing into Clew Bay, pass Clare Island (stop for a visit to Grace O’Malley’s Castle and to hike the beautiful heritage trail and unspoilt terrain) and continue toward Inishgort to pick up the marked channel into Westport Quay.  There are two recommended anchorages inside Westport Bay. The most protected is the anchorage inside Inishlyre (where there is also potable water at the pier).  The second is between Rosmoney and Collanmore. Take care to stay clear of the Mayo Sailing Club mooring field.  The pier at Rosmoney has water as well. A new pontoon installed in 2013 provides access to the pier at all water levels.  It has water and electricity. Visitors are asked not to spend more than 10 minutes tied up as the pontoon is used for access by both the islanders and the sailing club. There is a third anchorage off Dorinish More but it is very exposed to the prevailing winds.

Westport is not a port that is easily accessible.  The Quay dries out at low tide so you have to be able to tie up quayside and sit on the muddy bottom.  You also have to thread your way around shallows and hazards.  It’s a rather long way in from the anchorages and truly impractical to get in by dinghy from a sailboat.  If your vessel doesn’t draw much, there is a hole deep enough to anchor a small boat opposite Quay Cottage.  With a powerboat, however, a bit of careful navigation gets you to the heart of the action.

From the lighthouse on Inishgort, turn North to make way past Inishlyre.   Pick up the markers off Dorinish More where the channel turns East.  Follow that in toward Roman island, then follow the markers carefully to thread your way past the tip of Roman Island (factory and factory ruin) leaving the large green cone to starboard as you round into the harbour along the Quay. It’s best to stay closer to the Quay as shoals extend far into the harbour from the port shore.

Westport Quay

What to do

Westport consists of two distinct areas. The ocean waterfront area, known as The Quay, is about 1 mile outside of the main town.  It has some shops, galleries, several pubs and restaurants, a hotel, B&Bs, as well as easy access to Westport House estate which is open to the public. 

About a mile’s walk over the hill (or a walk/ride on the Greenway) brings one into the main part of town.  Westport is one of the most picturesque towns in Ireland. It has won the Tidy Towns competition several years in a row.  The Carrowbeg River runs through town with a Mall along the river banks.  This is where festivals often take place. The rest of the town has a one-way traffic system for cars and forms a U-shaped commercial district.  Bridge Street leads from the Mall to the Clock Tower.  Shop Street leads from the Clock Tower to the Monument. James Street leads from the Monument back to the Mall.

There are pubs galore in Westport including the famous Matt Molloys.  Traditional music can be found somewhere on any given night.  Croagh Patrick looms ever present in the distance. Beaches can be found in many directions.  The Great Western Greenway, a bicycle and walking path that follows the old railway track, runs almost the entire way around Clew Bay, from Achill to Murrisk.  It is one of the most scenic routes in Ireland, and anywhere to be precise. 

Dinghy racing at nearby Mayo Sailing Club

General Information


Tourist Office

James Street (very good source for local information)

Train Station

Daily trains to Dublin. Across from Tesco on the Galway Road.


A webcam of Clew Bay is available at

Clubs/Marinas and Boat Services


Maybe some day!

Mayo Sailing Club, Rosmoney

Mayo Sailing Club ( has visitor moorings. Clubhouse with showers, toilets, kitchen, bar when open. The clubhouse is only open on days when club events are taking place. Thursday evening club racing. The website has links to the club anemometer and tides information.  No phone. Current contacts listed on the website.

Adventure Islands

Adventure Islandsl is located on Collanmore and has facilities active in summer including a bar.

Clew Bay Boats

Chandlery and Boat repair shop in the Industrial Park on the Newport Road. Telephone: 098-50633 Mobile: 087-3230499 Email:

Clew Bay Marine

Things to do

The Great Western Greenway

Pick up trail into Westport near the Asgard or pass through Westport House estate to bypass Westport via the golf course road.  Bicycle rental available from Clew Bay Bike Hire.

Croagh Patrick

Climb the Holy mountain where Saint Patrick banished snakes out of Ireland.  Several miles bike ride out from the Quay.

Westport House

Pirates Park for children, walking, water slide, theme park – near the Quay


The Custom House. On the Quay.


Shops in Westport town centre. 

Westport Cinema

Multi cinema theatre in town.

Sea angling

Very active sea angling centre. Inquire at the Helm.


The Helm

Popular pub with good food and lively atmosphere.

Quay Cottage

Charming nautical restaurant at the gate to Westport House serving delicious locally sourced dinner nightly. 

The Creel

Inventive lunch menu, at a good value.

The Asgard

Traditional pub fare in the surrounds of Irish sail training memorabilia.

Westport Town

Westport Town has a broad selection of pubs and restaurants to satisfy almost any palate.  1 mile walk from Quay.


Centra Supermarket The Quay

Full service supermarket a short walk from the Quay.  098 27516


Fishing Tackle and licenses

A Shore Thing
The Quay, Westport, Co. Mayo.
Tel: +353 (0)98 28447 or +353 (0)87 0585752

Fuel (Diesel, Petrol/LPG)

Available from petrol stations in town. No fuel at the Quay.

Post office

An Post on the Mall

Police Station

Garda Siochana on the Mall


There are no laundromats. Several dry cleaners and laundries in town.
Gill’s Launderette
(098) 25819


Gavin’s Video & Internet Cafe has computers with high speed internet. Several pubs and cafe offer free wifi to patrons.  Internet also available at the library on James St and The Mall.

Clew Bay Home - Clare Island - The Inner Bay - Water Activities - Westport - Newport

Clew Bay area Activity Map (1.2MB pdf)

Joy of sailingCoastal Boating (Reg. in Ireland No. 443222) is a division of Knowledge Clinic Ltd.
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