Winter is here, bringing with it biting winds and chilling temperatures. But it also means pubs with cosy nooks with roaring fires. There’s nothing like warm, dancing flames to keep the spirits up and the cold out. Westport town is blessed with a massive range of hostelries to choose from, but if an open fire is high on your list of must-haves, then read on…
Seven Pubs with Roaring Fires in Westport
A pub that is revered by regulars and loved by locals, Toby’s on the Fairgreen, overlooking The Mall river, is a real gem. First opened in 1856, the pub has been in the Gibbons family since1907 when John Toby Gibbons from Killawalla first leased it. In 1947, his son, Paddy Joe
Gibbons bought it outright, and today it is run by his nephew Toby Gibbons. It’s welcoming yellow, green and red façade is an indication of the barstool banter and fireside chats that go on within.
A firm favourite among locals and visitors alike, McGing’s of high street boasts great big open fire in its ‘backroom’, where patrons can toast their toes under the watchful eye of JFK and Jackie, while proprietors Anthony and Claire Finnegan and their friendly staff keep the embers nicely stoked. McGing’s is also one of the best places to catch some live music in town – not to mention some free sandwiches of a Friday evening! Check the McGing’s Facebook page for updates on what bands are playing.
Beloved by all who enter, Blouser’s old-world charm, open fire and relaxed banter make it a superb spot to while away a few hours on a winter’s evening – or indeed afternoon! The pub’s owner, Tom O’Grady, is a bit of a legend too: He was on the Mayo All-Ireland winning Minor side of 1985, and he went on to play senior football for the county and was on the bench for Mayo’s first senior All-Ireland Final appearance since winning Sam Maguire in 1951. Look out for Blouser’s cheerful exterior (which also bears the name R Walsh) at the top of James Street.
This well-known Westport institution is owned by Matt Molloy, flute player with one of Ireland’s most-famous trad bands, The Chieftains. Regular traditional-music sessions take place in the atmospheric ‘back bar’, with appreciative patrons hupping along beside – yes – a lovely crackling fire. Often Matt himself will be in situ, playing along. A great place to sink a Guinness and warm your bones. For more see Matt Molloy's.
Perched on the broad sweep of Quay Hill, McCarthy’s is another great place to catch some live music while letting the pub’s big glowing fire warm the cockles of your heart. McCarthy’s has a genuine feel to it – cosy snugs and a convivial atmosphere, perfect for sipping on a hot whiskey
while your cheeks turn pink. And for those who just can’t face the cold outside, McCarthy’s is also B&B with self-catering apartments so your warm bed could be just a few steps away.
With it’s warm, wooden interior, low lighting and roaring fire, MacBride’s on Bridge Street is a really lovely traditional bar offering around 100 whiskeys, a great range of craft beers and all the usual's. Settle into your own snug or prop yourself up on a high stool, and let the hours slip by in the warm glow of this lovingly restored building seep into your soul.