Saturday, March 26, 2011
Westport in County Mayo
Here's the upstairs bar at our hotel in Westport. The service is very formal and polite. The waiters wear tuxes. We felt like travelers from another era - the 1940's maybe, except the music was all 1960's American - Dione Warwick, Beach Boys, the Mamas and the Papas. We've heard more of that vintage music since being in Ireland than anything else. At least we had classical in the lovely restauarant at breakfast. The pananoramic views from that room include Croagh Patrick, a famous pilgrimage climb for thousands every year, and the sea to the east. Beautiful at sunset.
Westport is a graceful town built in Georgian style with a river through the middle and close to the sea. The harbour in Westport is adjacent with lots of fishing boats and seafood restaurants. We ate at The Helm last night, one of the more popular ones. It was packed on a Friday night, mostly with locals. Our only disappointment was Matt Malloy's pub was also packed, and we couldn't (didn't want to) get in to listen to traditional music. The owner is a former Chieftan. I envisioned an intimate pub with tables, but this was just a little too intimate with lots of boisterous young beer drinking lads, few women, and jammed elbow to elbow in three very cramped dark rooms. We were early, but walked in and walked out. We came back to our hotel and heard a very good guitar player and singer who sang mostly Irish ballads. Much more comfortable.
Our hotel, the Knockranny, is fabulous and built in Victorian style. The indoor infinity pool is heated and so relaxing I had it all to my self yesterday afternoon. There is also a spa with all sort of treatments, steam and sauna rooms as well. The Fougere restaurant has a very famous chef, but we opted for the local seafood.
Today we drive through the countryside of Connemara and down to Galway where we'll stay two nights.