If there’s one thing the west of Ireland is famous for, it’s amazing sunsets. When the sun starts slipping towards the horizon, you just can’t beat that famously magical Mayo light for creating second-to-none photo ops. But when you’re visiting Westport, where should you go to get those spectacular sundown snaps? Read on, and get your cameras and smartphones ready…
Six Spectacular Sunset Spots Near Westport
1. The Point
The nearest place to Westport town to watch the sunset over the sea is down at Westport Quay. Take a stroll (or drive) along the promontory there known as Roman Island. The car park at the very end, known locally as The Point, is a great spot for capturing a celestial skyscape as the day turns to dusk. You’re bound to meet others doing the same thing!
Drive or cycle the coast road out to Bertra Beach, signposted around 12k out of the town. This long, narrow peninsula stretches out into the sea, and the sandy beach that fringes it faces west. Watch as the sun sets over Clare island straight ahead, while Croagh Patrick looks down from your left, and Achill beckons to your right – and start snapping.
3. Old Head cliffs
The cliff tops at Old Head near Louisburgh offer amazing views to the west and out to Clare Island. Spectacular sunset photos guaranteed. Photo bombing seabirds highly likely.
To get there, hop on the bike or into the car and head out to Old Head Beach, which you’ll find around 19km out the Coast Road (R335). On the far side of the smaller beach to the left of Old Head Pier, you’ll spot a little gate and stile in the rocky rise. This will lead you a path that winds through a gorgeous oak forest to emerge on the cliffs overlooking the sea. Get comfy, and enjoy the show.
4. Clare Island Lighthouse
Channel your inner Pirate Queen and take the ferry over to Clare Island. The stunning lighthouse there is now a fabulous luxury guesthouse, offering panoramic views out to sea, back over to Achill and Westport and all the way down to Connemara. Guests can enjoy sundown drinks in the lighthouse’s beautiful lantern tower, and take sunset photos to their hearts’ content. Gráinne Uaile, the Pirate Queen, had a castle on the island, so you’ll be enjoying the same spectacular sunset views that she once did.
5. Boheh Stone
Twice a year, the Boheh Stone becomes a mecca for people who want to take sunset pics of a very special kind. Just four miles out the Leenane Road south of Westport, this wonderful example of neolithic rock art is the sole viewing site for the famous and mysterious phenomenon known as the Rolling Sun. On two very specific dates only – April 18 and August 24 – the setting sun appears to roll down Croagh Patrick’s northern shoulder. It is thought that this magical ‘Rolling Sun’ spectacle is what inspired the prehistoric artists to decorate the stone.
6. The Pub Beergarden
For those who like to enjoy a sunset with a sup of beer or a splash of wine, you just can’t beat the views out to sea from the tables outside The Quays and The Towers at Westport Quay, and The Sheebeen (a little further out the Coast Road, at Rosbeg). The Towers and The Sheebeen both do top-class food too, so you can nibble as you tipple. Nice! Just don’t forget to take a photo or two…