The wonderful, lush estate of Westport House is being extensively and sensitively restored, with some major landscaping projects underway. Many have been finished, while others are ongoing. All are worth taking the time to see and admire. Make sure to take in the Italianate gardens, with their 3,000-year-old Greek sarcophagus; the rose garden, with its rows of crimson blooms; the colourful freshly planted terraces; the enchanting river walk and much, much more.
Six Unmissable Westport House Attractions
1. The Gardens
2. Adventure park
Ah now, who doesn’t love the heart-stopping thrill of a good fun-ride? Westport House’s famous Pirate Adventure Park has thrills galore, from the Plunge Log Flume Ride to the Pirate Queen Swinging Ship to the Cannon Ball Run Slide. The Pirate Adventure Park also boasts a brand new inflatable – the Pirate Ship Obstacle Course. A whole 24 metres of pure playfulness, it features a high slide and plenty of hoops for children to jump through. Have fun watching the kids wobbling around, trying to get from one end of the course to the other.
Gracy’s Pizzeria and Bistro, just beside the farmyard and campsite, is a firm favourite all year round with locals and visitors alike. With mouthwatering meals, delicious local craft beers and plenty of live entertainment in the evenings, this all-day restaurant serves a wide selection of gastro grub to tickle all taste buds.
The guardians of little humans will be delighted to know that Gracy’s is also right beside the Pirates’ Playground, which has a slide, climbing frames, rockers and a gorgeous traditional carousel. Sit back and watch on as the kids burn off the calories while you loll around chatting over a local tipple. Perfect!
No trip to Westport House would be complete without a ride on the famous pedaloes on the estates beautiful lake. These eight-foot-high swan-shaped pedalo boats allow four pedalling passengers to take in stunning views of the house and gardens, with the real swans that reside on the lake gliding alongside. What a perfect way to work off that pizza from Gracy’s.
Brave souls and macabre minds will want to inspect the house’s dungeons, formed from the foundations of the castle built almost five centuries ago by the Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley or Grainuaile. Dark and dank, exactly as dungeons should be, visitors can easily imagine the chained prisoners, the chests of gold, and the plotting of pirates past.
6. Westport House Express
Who needs the Orient Express when you’ve got the Westport House Express? Hop aboard thid brightly-coloured, fully-enclosed miniature train and take a guided tour around Westport House Estate, Westport Quay and Westport Town. This train ride is a simply brilliant way to get a feel for your surroundings and hear some fascinating local stories – a great experience for passengers of all ages.