Westport, Ireland, that is. When we are staying with our family in Galway, visiting Westport is one of my favorite day or overnight trips. Just about an hour away, Westport, home to the pub owned by Matt Molloy of The Chieftain’s fame, is a great place for traditional Irish music as well as a fun place for eating and going out on the town.
On yet another rainy, dark day, we left Galway for Westport, hoping for a change of scenery and maybe some better weather? We got the former at least. . .
Signposts like these can be found all over Ireland. It’s a well-marked country, and with a pretty simple road system, it’s easy to get places. Example, the Dublin Road. . . guess where it goes?
Our drive to Westport included a stop at Ross Errilly Friary, a structure said to be built around the year 1460. In the 1600’s Ross Errilly’s 140 Catholic monks fled just before Cromwellian forces arrived, ransacked the property, and even defiled graves.
Throughout the years, there was a coming and going of clergy, and one thing is clear: this place has not been inhabited in quite some time!
The wind through the bare windows made a loud howling noise that actually had me running away from the friary while my husband explored. I wasn’t afraid of ghosts but more the fact that the structure, so old, could deposit a stone on my head at any moment. Upon leaving the friary, I received a tweet from my brother-in-law’s friend that they used to visit the friary in the middle of the night when they were younger. A dark, windy day was scary enough for me, thank you very much!
After our stop at Ross Errilly, we headed straight for Westport. This girl needs to be fed pretty often, and I was hungry!
After a quick walk around Westport town, we made our way to the waterfront where we found Fishworks Café. Two pints of Guinness quenched our thirst.
And I satisfied my need for local seafood with some mussels in a cream sauce with lots of veggies in it. A few slices of brown bread for dunking, and I was all set, gobbling up this bowl fairly easily. I love mussels, but I feel like they never really fill me up!
We decided to take the coastal road home, through the mountains of Connemara, which ended up not being the best move! There are no street lights, very few houses, and lots of sheep in the narrow, winding roads. The wind whipped the car around the whole way home. It was scary, but it was so very quintessential rugged West of Ireland that it was kind of worth it. At least for the passenger.
I am gearing up for a flight home tomorrow. I am not taking any time off for Christmas or New Year’s, but I am lucky that I can work from NJ and hang out with my family when things slow down a bit.
Do you have any travel plans for the holiday season?