Westport House is a Georgian estate, it was the ancestral seat of the Marquesses of Sligo until 2014, and is located in Westport in County Mayo. It was constructed by the Browne family in the 18th century and designed by the famous architects Richard Cassels and James Wyatt. It is considered to be one of Ireland’s most beautiful historic homes that are open to the public. It is located on 455 acres of lovely parkland setting with a lake, terraces and garden views that look over Clew Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
Today it is a hugely popular visitor attraction, encompassing three hundred years of fascinating history. The beautiful rooms of this house are decorated in period style and contain the original contents. Several of the rooms are architecturally stunning in particular the entrance hall and the library, home to some fascinating and rare books. Thirty of these gorgeous rooms are on display providing an insight into the wealth and lavish lifestyle of this bygone era. The rooms are opulent with intricate plasterwork, ornate cornices and fireplaces, Jamaican mahogany doors, fine furniture and rich furnishings, and there is lots of information pertaining to them. There are four permanent exhibitions, consisting of thousands of original artwork, antiques and family owned artefacts.
Check out the dungeons from Grace O’Malley’s 16th century castle, she was the legendary Pirate Queen of Connaught, and ruled the seas around Mayo. The house is built on the ruins of her castle.
The verdant and natural gardens compliment the house beautifully. The views from the terrace are delightful. The West Gardens are home to a plethora of unusual and eclectic treasures including, a Greek Sarcophagus, Spanish Armada Cannon, Famine Soup Pots, the Sun House and Lily Pond and much, much more. The parklands offer lovely walks amongst the ancient trees, there is a tree trail as well as a looped riverside walk, it is about a kilometre in length. Also to be found here are an aviary and waterfall.
It is also home to a Pirate Adventure Park an amusement park brimming with rides, activities and things to do. Enjoy the miniature mini-railway that takes visitors on a short train ride through the grounds, play the pitch and putt, bounce on the bouncy castles, have fun in the indoor soft play area, the go-karts allows young visitors to test their driving skills, or visit the lake and take out a giant swan pedaloe boat, or perhaps go fishing here. For the more adventurous there are the nerve-racking high wires, zip wire or zorbing balls to entertain.
The Tea Rooms are located in the restored original kitchens, here visitors can enjoy a nice selection of delicious snacks, teas and coffees, in the warm and cosy surroundings. The Pantry Gift Shop is where to go to get a souvenir of your visit.
Throughout the year they organise a number of events, camps and activities aimed at families, providing fun and entertainmnt for all.
Westport House is open daily from March to October, and weekends only in November and December. It provides a perfect mixture of education and fun, a thoroughly enjoyable and fun day out, it certainly delivers something for everyone.