Six Quirky Tours To Take In Westport
1. Fishing with Reg
Extreme fishing anyone? Why not get your blood up with a spot of deep-sea angling with Fishing Westport. Reg Roynon has captained the Lady Helen fishing boat for over two decades now, and his reputation is solid – you’ll be in the safest of hands. His fishing trips include day tours around Clew Bay with a chance to catch up to 20 separate species of fish, including mackerel, pollock, dogfish, ray, shark and skate. Reg also runs fishing trips that include an overnight stay on Clare Island – ideal for groups, stags, hens and corporate team building. For more information, call Reg on 087 7647789 or visit fishingwestport.com.
2. Soda-bread secrets
Learn the generations-old secret to spectacular Irish soda bread. Two local soda-bread gurus, ex-Home Economics teacher Carmel Healy and tour guide Mary Kelly, run soda-bread classes every Tuesday between 2pm and 4pm in the Old Mill Hostel, Barracks Yard, James Street, Westport. But this is much more than just a baking class – while you’re making your own traditional Irish soda bread you’ll also learn lots of fascinating facts about Irish food culture and way of life, past and present. Booking is essential, with maximum participants for each afternoon capped at eight. To find out more or make a booking, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 087 7858655.
3. Get beery eyed
Ever wondered what the inside of a craft brewery was like? Well, now you have the chance to find out! Take a tour of Westport’s very own microbrewery, Mescan, and discover how their hugely popular range of delicious Belgian-style bottle-conditioned beers are made using malt, hops, yeast and spring water from Mescan’s own well. Learn about the styles and flavours of Mescan beers, which include Westport Blond Beer, Westport Saison and Westport Red Tripel. Nibbles are also served during the tour, which is informal and fun – questions are encouraged. The tours last about an hour and a half. For more, visit www.mescanbrewery.com
4. Find your dinner
Archaeologist Will Williams of Walk on the Wild Side runs fascinating foraging field trips. Fill your bags with delicious mushrooms and other fabulous free delicacies in woods and hedgerows and along the coastline, and learn all about local plants and their uses as food and medicine, as well as their cultural significance. Soon you’ll be spotting sea beet, samphire, sorrel, spaghetti seaweed, wild garlic, wracks, fruits and berries, edible roots, seagrass and mushrooms galore wherever you go.
Call Will on 087 6249894 or find Walk on the Wild Side Louisburgh on Facebook.
5. Get bushcrafty
Westport-based bushcraft adventure course Mac Tíre Bushcraft offers groups the chance to reconnect with the natural environment and learn more about the wilderness – and how to survive in it. The courses, run by Colm Mahon, are set in the stunning landscapes of west Mayo, including forests and waterways, and trips tailored to different levels of expertise are available. The tour involves plenty of hands-on learning, including collecting, carving, creating, cooking, craft and teamwork. All overnight participants are expected to camp out of doors in a small tent, or basha, for the duration of the course.
6. Go back in time
Love history and culture, but don’t like stuffy museums? Well, consider a guided cultural adventure through the spectacular lost Uggool Valley, which lies just beyond Louisburgh, close to Silver Strand beach. Run by the local Bourke family, Lost Valley tours offer guided walks that are suitable for all ages.
Spend around three hours leisurely walking along a well-developed 4k loop trail, gazing at truly amazing scenery while hearing about the heritage and history of the spectacular valley. Along the way, you’ll encounter the ruins of a famine village and see the myriad of potato ridges that have poignantly lain exactly as they were left almost two centuries. For more, visit www.thelostvalley.ie.