A day spent exploring North Clew Bay is a day you won’t forget. Rolling countryside, coastal views, cycle tracks, beaches, bridges, villages and even a golf course… a great day out, guaranteed.
North Clew Bay
What better way to see North Clew Bay than from the saddle of a bicycle? Take a spin from Westport along the renowned Great Western Greenway, an off-road walking and cycle track taking in farmland, rolling hills, picturesque villages, dramatic mountains and wonderful views of the bay – or go off the beaten track to explore the hidden boreens, bogland byways and mountain routes. The Westport to Newport section is 12km long, while the Newport to Mulranny section is 18km.
And after all that fresh air and pedalling, you can look forward to an evening meal in any of Westport’s fine restaurants and gastro pubs, and maybe even a few creamy pints. Sure haven’t you earned them?
Point your car or bicycle north, and before you can spell Granuaile, you’ll be in Newport. This friendly village is dominated by the magnificent Seven Arches Bridge, also known simply as ‘The Viaduct’. A trot up the hill to see the magnificent Harry Clarke stained-glass window St Patrick’s Church is a must for art lovers.
Just outside of town, discover romantic Rockfleet Castle, a 16th-century stronghold of legendary pirate queen Grace O’Malley, or lose yourself on Rosturk beach. Or do both. It’s your day after all.
A little further up the coast from Newport is the gorgeous seaside village of Mulranny. Marvel at the Mulranny causeway, built across Trawoughter Bay in 1889. Check out Mulranny’s Blue Flag beach and machair dunes, and Mulranny salt marsh and pier.
Other must-sees include thatched treasure trove The Greenway Antiques and Book Store, as well as the Old Irish Goat Centre, where you can learn all about the rare ancient breed that lives wild locally. There’s even a spectacular golf course right on the beach. What a place to swing a club!
A little bit of of the Rockies right here in Mayo. North of Newport, up into the mountains past Lough Furnace and Lough Feeagh, a solitary old cottage called the Brogan Carroll Bothy marks the trailhead for the dramatic Letterkeen Loop. This 12k walk boasts wild and rugged landscape with deep valleys, mountain trails, sandy paths, deep forests, gushing waterfalls and the Altaconey River gurgling through. Whether you decide to do the full loop or flop down on the grass beside the river, this is the perfect place for a picnic and a ramble.
A hauntingly beautiful gothic ruin, Burrishoole Abbey sits at the edge of a peaceful tidal estuary just northwest of Newport, off the main Achill road. It was founded in 1469 by Richard de Burgo of Turlough (also known as Richard of the Curved Shield) as a friary for the Dominican Order. His grandson, Tomas Crosach (Scarred Tomas) married Grania O’Malley, Granuaile’s great-grandaunt. Tomas and Grania’s names are inscribed on the abbey’s base, along with the date 1494.
Now a national monument, the church and the eastern wall of the cloister still remain. A visit to this poignant site will remain with you for a long time afterwards.