Westport House & Gardens

Known as “Ireland’s Most Beautiful Home”, Westport House has a story that matches its beauty. A visit to Westport is not complete without visiting this beautiful historic house on its 400-acre estate – the ideal day-out for heritage enthusiasts and families alike.

Westport House & Gardens

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Westport House & Gardens

Westport House, known as “Ireland’s Most Beautiful Home”, Westport House has a story that matches its beauty. One of the few still privately-owned historic houses left in Ireland, Westport House was built by the Browne family whose connections to Mayo date back to the 1500s and even relates them to the trail-blazing pirate queen and chieftain, Grace O’Malley.

A visit to Westport House will tell the story of the development of the house as well as the family’s contribution to the estate, surrounding area, and further afield. We hope you’ll enjoy the tales of pirates and slave emancipators as you gain a fascinating insight into the families behind the big house as well as the members of the downstairs staff who made it all possible. This tour is by far one of the more interesting and educational things to do in Westport for families.

Built-in 1730, Westport House was designed by the famous architects Richard Cassels, James Wyatt, Benjamin Wyatt, and Thomas Ivory. It features thirty rooms open to the public over three floors –

  • the main floor with formal rooms such as the Drawing Room, Long Gallery, Dining Room or smaller Library and Morning Rooms
  • the basement which was the engine of the house featuring the kitchens and servants quarters - and you’ll still find the dungeons of Grace O’Malley’s original castle here which is said to be the spookiest Mayo tourist attraction.
  • the bedroom floor showcasing the family’s private lives as well as a number of permanent exhibitions.

Perhaps the most unique feature of Westport House is that it is still filled with the original antiques, artwork, and artifacts belonging to the house.

Be sure to allow time to explore the extensive 400-acre grounds to take in views of Croagh Patrick, Westport House itself, the lake, gardens, and Clew Bay as you pass through the woodland and parkland setting.

When the kids are out of school, families can also visit the onsite Pirate Adventure Park for a full day’s outdoor fun on the rides, slides, boats, and trains ideally suited to families with kids under 12. Pirate Adventure Park is truly one of the most exciting things to do in Mayo for the entire family. Keep an eye on its vibrant Events Calendar. Guests staying in our on-site Hotel, Hotel Westport receive priority booking plus an EXCLUSIVE 25% off entry to the Pirate Adventure Park.

Consider staying over on the 400-acre estate and book a stay in Hotel Westport, spend a night under the stars when you hire a bell tent or bring your own van or tent to the Caravan & Camping Park.

Westport House - known as “Ireland’s Most Beautiful Home"

Westport House Grounds & Gardens

The Browne's of Westport House knew the value of trees in a landscape too, as the stunning woodland in the estate’s grounds attests. Westport Demesne retains 100 acres of historic woods dating back to the 1700s.

Back in the day, these trees provided a number of resources for the Westport House Estate. They created a shelterbelt from the harsh Atlantic weather systems, they provided a fuel and timber source for heating and building materials, and they created a lush green backdrop for the ‘naturalised parkland’ design landscape.

The lords and ladies loved to interact with the landscape by promenading along a deep network of tracks and trails. They would bring their visitors along these paths too, impressing them with the grandeur and beauty of the estate’s stately woodlands. Aptly enough, these design pathways and the areas of woodlands they ventured through were known as ‘the pleasure grounds’.

An elaborate network of serpentine pathways meandered along, softly curving – following the style of landscape design that was popular during the 1800s and remains timeless to this day. The trails led the walker deep into the woodlands and surrounding landscape, where they could discover hidden design elements, such as sculptural pieces of architecture, exotic plant and tree species, and new views.

The pyramidal cone of Croagh Patrick was one of the most emphasised views in the Westport House Demesne, and a number of the historic pathways were specifically designed to yield the most captivating vistas. The woodlands even had purposely made gaps to seduce the stroller with sudden framed glimpses of the famous Reek.