Great Western Greenway Overview
The World Class Great Western Greenway (Westport – Achill) is a 43.5km mainly traffic free cycling and walking facility which primarily follows the line of the famous Great Western Midlands Railway, which closed in 1937. Its development has been made possible by agreement of local landowners who have allowed permissive access to users to pass through their lands.
This route offers gentle gradients and some of the most idyllic scenery in the west of Ireland. The route forms part of the National Cycle Network and it is the longest off road cycling experience in the Country.
Croagh Patrick is one of Europe’s best know places of Pilgrimage. It is traditional to climb to the summit on Reek Sunday, the last Sunday in July, in memory of St. Patrick, who spent forty days and forty nights fasting there in 441 AD. A small church at the summit of the mountain welcomes penitents. It is always worth the climb for the magnificent view of Clew Bay, with its 365 islands. A Celtic hillfort encircles the summit of the mountain indicating Croagh Patrick’s importance also in the pre-Christian Era. The Croagh Patrick Information Centre is situated in Murrisk on the Pilgrim’s Path at the foot of Croagh Patrick and opposite the National Famine Monument.
Boats can be chartered for angling and cruising through Clew Bay, home to a large variety of fish. There are many lakes within driving distance of Westport and Mayo has some of the best salmon and brown trout in Europe with the River Moy fishery less than an hours drive away. Both advanced and less experienced fisherman are accommodated with ghillies, boats and fly fishing instruction available. On the same road is a Salmon Research Fishing Agency Centre where a visitor centre, open during the summer, tells the story of salmon. The Erriff and Delphi fisheries are also well known and there are many lesser streams and lakes to enjoy.
Clew Bay has 365 islands, ‘one for every day of the year’. Ferries run daily in the summer to Clare Island, legendary home of the pirate queen Grainne Uaile. There are also daily ferries to Inishbofin and Inishturk.
Sailing, Watersports, Beaches
Mayo has thirteen blue flag beaches,including Bertra, near Murrisk, Old Head and Carramore in Louisburgh. Here watersports thrive including sailing, scuba diving, canoeing, surfing and snorkelling. These beautiful sandy beaches stretch along the North and South shores of Clew Bay and south of the Bay to where Thallabawn meets Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord.
Achill Drive and Island
The 121 km Achill Drive runs from Westport through Newport, Mulraney, Achill Sound, Dooega, Keel, Dooagh Keem Bay to Dugort. This drive will bring you past the ancient Church of Kildavnet, the Church of St Dympna.
The old railway line offers a leisurely stroll from the town centre. For the more adventurous walker there is The Western Way, across the splendour of the Connemara mountains and along the peaceful shores of Lough Corrib.
There are beautiful forest walks such as Tourmakeady Forest Trail or Nephin Beg Forest, or you can travel along Tochar Phadraig – the ancient pilgrim path from Ballintubber Abbey through Aughagower to Croagh Patrick. Also further afield as you enter Newport you will find details of a fine walking trail leading from Newport to Bangor.
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