Westport House and Gardens
Immerse yourself in 16th-century life, when Grace O’Malley, the pirate queen of Connacht, ruled the land and seas around the estate. Westport House was built upon the foundations of one of her castles; today, you can explore the dungeons where she kept her prisoners. Download the audio tour app, then listen to tales of the house and its occupants as you walk through the rooms and check out the exhibitions, including a waxwork display of notable contributors to Irish literature, music, and arts.
After wandering around the house, stroll the landscaped gardens featuring waterfalls, ancient oaks, and promenades, and take in the views of Clew Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and Croagh Patrick mountain. You’ll even see historic artifacts, such as a Spanish Armada cannon and large soup pots used to feed the hungry during the Great Irish Famine.
Things to Know Before You Go
Westport House and Gardens is a must-do for travelers interested in Irish history and heritage.
The house isn’t wheelchair-accessible, but some of the gardens are.
Strollers aren’t allowed inside the house, but are welcome in the gardens.
To visit the adjacent Pirate Adventure Park as well as the house and gardens, buy a combination ticket.
How to Get There
Westport House and Gardens is located less than a 10-minute drive (or a 25-minute walk) from Westport in Ireland’s County Mayo. From Castlebar, it’s a 25-minute drive southwest, or a 40-minute journey on bus 440 or 456.
When to Get There
Westport House is open year-round, with limited hours from November through March. Check the website for details. To avoid crowds, go outside of school holidays, which bring lots of families to Pirate Adventure Park.
Eating and Drinking
After your tour of the house and gardens, enjoy homemade cakes, soups, sandwiches, pizzas, and scones at the Old Kitchen Cafe. Located inside Westport House, the café features original antique tiling and high windows that flood the space with light. If you’re there on a weekend in July or August, treat yourself to afternoon tea in the house’s formal dining room, featuring sandwiches, mini cakes, and scones served with fresh cream and jam.