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Rainy Days In the West

Top 10 things to do in Newport

  1. Take the Greenway to the Milky Way - Stargazing safaris, moonlit hikes, astronomy classes, astro-photography workshops and sleeping under the stars – these are just a few of the Dark Sky themed activities on offer during your stay in Newport.  Mayo is now internationally recognised as one of the best places in the world to view the wonders of the night.  As a gateway town to Ireland’s only Gold Tier International Dark-sky Park, Newport offers easy access to the most remote stargazing locations.   So bring your binoculars and a warm coat and prepare to be star struck!

  2. Take a Hike! It's all about getting out and exploring the historic market town of Newport.  Stroll by the magnificent 19th Century viaduct or along the Black Oak River and town quays, which open up into breathtaking Clew Bay.   Amble along the Great Western Greenway following the 19th Century railway line and discover the rugged beauty of Burrishoole. Looking for a more challenging hike?  Some of the best hikes in Europe can be found in this region.  Explore a section of the Western Way, or venture along the Bangor Trail into Wild Nephin, 11,000 hectares of designated Wilderness area where you can experience big sky vistas and the Nephin Beg mountain range.

  3. On your bike…Cycle the Great Western Greenway, an award winning 42km route free from traffic. Pedal and electric bicycles are available to rent, and will transport you through beautiful countryside. Take a detour to visit the towns along the way, or stop off for a bite to eat. Alternatively explore the many cycle and walking loops Newport has to offer. Ramble the Rocky Mountain Way - a dual cycling and walking route which will entice you to the edge of the great Nephin Wilderness, or try the more relaxed Rockfleet Castle Loop where you will visit castles and harbours dating from the time of pirates and armed rebellion.

  4. Get back to nature. Enjoy the experience of watching an expert dog handler at work training young sheepdogs. Try and guess what “come by”, “away to me” and “shed them” mean as the shepherd uses these phrases to sooth and commands his team of dogs.  After a visit to the dogs you can take to the range with a visit to the pony stables at Carrowbawn. Take a ride on these proud and magnificent animals along the quiet country lanes around Newport.

  5. Let the kids run free. Newport is ideal for families.  With free parking all summer long in the grounds of the local school, it leaves families free to explore the town and environs.  Fancy a game of football?  A large astroturf pitch is available from 10am-10pm daily beside the school (the area also includes an exercise zone and a basketball court, as well as parking for bikes).  On the south side of the river there is a lovely playground area in an idyllic waterside location, complete with picnic tables and access to the 19th century viaduct.  And children LOVE our town treasure hunt – just pick up a copy at the Newport Tourist Office, find all the locations in the clues, and claim your prize back at the Tourist Office.

  6. Splash in the water! Clew Bay is not just for anglers of course.  During the summer months children and adults alike can enjoy some time on the water.  Stand-Up Paddling (SUP) and Kayaking are just some of the activities available, and the younger children go bananas for ‘Splash’ – water zorbing, water trampoline, diving boards and general mayhem!  

  7. Enjoy Newport’s unique built heritage. Take a leisurely stroll and admire the many interesting historical structures that make Newport a great place to spend time.   Buildings, bridges, castles, churches and ancient forts all with their own stories.    Walk across the elegant red sandstone viaduct which spans the river and used to carry the Westport-Achill Railway line in a former life.   Seek out the old station buildings, many of which are still in use.  Spend time in the unique St. Patrick’s church and marvel at the ‘The Last Judgement Window’, the final commission of Harry Clarke, Ireland's most renowned stained-glass artist.    Admire the Georgian charm and elegance of lovely Newport House surrounded by parkland and overlooking the river.   Don’t miss the nearby beautiful 18th century seven-arched Burrishoole Bridge or the atmospheric ruins of a 15th century Dominican friary nestled in a quiet tidal estuary.   A little further away is Carrighowley Castle, the only floored castle in the West of Ireland and once the main stronghold of Grace O’Malley, the 16th Century Pirate Queen of the West.   Surrounding Newport are at least 25 ancient forts including Lios na Gaoithe, the best preserved ring fort in the area. All this and more in the little town with the big history.   

  8. Get hooked on fishing. Cast a fly or drop a lead into the richest waters on the west coast of Ireland.  With river, lake and sea at your disposal, you have no excuse not to sample the best fishing to be found – you might even make the catch of a lifetime! Charter and angling boat or hire a ghillie to take you on a day to remember. Newport offers a wide variety of fishing to suit every need, whether you’re a novice or a seasoned angler.  Nothing can beat the joy of catching your own mackerel and cooking it on the boat to be served with homemade brown bread or spuds boiled in seawater - a taste that lingers a lifetime in the memory! And remember - “Man can learn a lot from fishing - when the fish are biting no problem in the world is big enough to be remembered”

  9. Try a Sea Safari! Newport Bay in north Clew Bay offers scenery that will have you in awe.  With its 365 islands created by retreating glaciers, it most certainly is a place of natural beauty. It is also home to an array of birds and other sea life – from the cormorant and oyster catcher to the magnificent gannet; from the dolphin and basking shark to the cheeky common seal. Take a sightseeing/wildlife tour.  Sit back and immerse yourself in the sheer beauty that is Clew Bay.

  10. Keep Dancing. We do things the old fashioned way in Newport… join the locals for social dancing classes or try céilí and set dancing.  Everyone is free to join in and no-one is left on the sidelines.  If dancing is not for you, you can just enjoy the traditional music sessions that take place regularly throughout the town, or join in the fun of a good old sing-song at the weekend. 
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