Lads Trip: 4 Epic Days of Adventure in Westport (with no Beer!)

lads trip west of ireland

4 Days of Adventure in Westport

So my mate from England rings me up and says he wants to come to Ireland for a visit. However, he says that he doesn’t want to spend all his time sitting in pubs drinking. He wants to get out there and see Ireland, a country he had never visited.

I mean, what does he take us for?
As if Ireland has some kind of drinking reputation!? ūüôā

So three lads from England and one of my mates from Dublin decided to visit me in Westport, Co. Mayo on the condition that we would NOT sit in pubs every day (even though they are the best in the world). I reluctantly accepted the challenge. ūüėČ

The boys arrived at Dublin airport, rented a car and hit the road to the West of Ireland. The aim of the few days did not get off to a great start as that evening we went for a nice meal in you guessed it, a lovely, cosy pub ūüôā

Tavern Pub underneath Croagh Patrick
Tavern Pub underneath Croagh Patrick

Tavern Bar, Croagh Patrick

We met in the Tavern Bar, had a great feed and a few pints in preparation for the first big day the next morning.

I wanted to get the most difficult and physically challenging activity of our few days done on the first day, which was, of course, tackling the significant climb of Croagh Patrick.

Day 1

The Healthy Leafy Green Cafe, Westport

Leafy Greens Cafe, Westport

We awoke early the next day in search of the best cafe in Westport and a mighty breakfast and found ourselves at the Leafy Greens Cafe. A lovely little cafe which offers a nice balance of taste and health. Just what we needed for the day ahead.

The sky looked pretty dark and grey and my weather app was telling me that not only would it rain today, it would also rain for the rest of the week.

We headed into Westport Town to grab some raincoats and made our way to the bottom of the mountain to begin our hike.

Climbing Croagh Patrick

Our climb up Croagh Patrick was epic.¬†Climbing Croagh Patrick¬†offers the perfect amount of challenge. You can just feel that build of daily stress which sits in your shoulders begin to leave your body as your muscles wake up to some real physical exertion and your lungs become active as you’re blasted alive by the lively Atlantic winds.

looking out on croagh patrick
Near the Top of Croagh Patrick

It is one thing to push yourself in a gym, but it truly is another to push yourself in nature.

climbing croagh patrick

Having climbed Croagh Patrick before I knew what was in store for our bodies the following morning; and as I had surfing, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking and a lot more outlined for the following few days, I knew I had to get the lads into the sea.

Refreshing swim at Old Head Beach, Louisburgh
Refreshing swim at Old Head Beach, Louisburgh

I brought the gang to Old Head where we would jump into the Atlantic Ocean, letting the refreshing, saltwater do its thing.

Old Head Cafe

Before hitting the sea we popped into the Old Head Cafe where we had a few well-deserved sandwiches and a few pots of the¬†best afternoon tea, Irish tea ūüôā

Outdoor Seating at Old Head Cafe
Beautiful Outdoor Seating at Old Head Cafe

We then walked along one of my favourite trails in Westport, an absolutely beautiful trail which brings you right along the coast of the West of Ireland.

Walking along the Old Head Beach Trail towards Louisburgh

The scenery, flora, fauna and crashing waves are incredible. If you’re ever in Westport and enjoy running, head on down to¬†Old Head Beach. You can actually run all the way to Louisburgh, which is around 40 kilometres with a cliff to your left and the Atlantic ocean on your right.

Walking along Old Head
Walking along Old Head

We set the towels on the beach, grabbed a few snacks and hit the sea for a refreshing dip.

Suns out, Guns out at Old Head Beach

As with every dip in the ocean, once you get over that initial cold shock, it is beautiful. We could feel our muscles thanking us and they relaxed into the cold.

With Old Bay being quite shallow, the water was quite warm and the lads got a little braver to the idea of doing more in the ocean.

I decided to push my luck and brought them to another one of my favourite spots for some¬†cliff jumping. A few young lads were actually already there so had no other choice but to show them how it was done ūüôā

Cliff jumping old head
Cliff jumping at Old Head

Cliff Jumping at Old Head

Cliff jumping is always exhilarating, especially when you’re diving into deep cold Atlantic water.

Leaving Old Head, the stiffness and pain of climbing Croagh Patrick had truly gone and we all felt exhilarated after our dip in the ocean and scary cliff jump.

Creel Cafe, Westport
Smoked Mackerel with Avocado, Creel Cafe
Creel Cafe, The Quay, Westport
Local Galway Hooker, Pale Ale

The Creel Cafe, The Quay

Feeling like we had truly conquered the day, a pint was inevitable. Who were we kidding? We headed back into town where I brought the lads to one of the best brunch spots in Westport, the Creel, by the Quay for a bite to eat and a few beers.

westpor house
Westport House

Westport House

Reinvigorated after a few coffees and Galway Hooker Pale Ales, I brought the lads in for a quick tour of Westport House. The lads were blown away by the forest trails, scenic beauty and grand house itself.

The Grainne Uaile Statue in Westport House
The Grainne Uaile Statue in Westport House

Grace O'Malley or Grainne Uaile

As we strolled back into town through the estate it was great to be able to tell them about the history of the area, the house and the pirate queen Grainne Uaile while being in the very setting where that history took place.

walking through westport house
Walking through Westport House

As the lad’s first day in Ireland drew to a close, after a day of climbing, hiking, and cliff jumping, a decent meal was deserved.

il vulcano restaurant westport
Italian Restaurant, Il Vulcano, Westport

Il Vulcano Restaurant

We headed into one of my favourite restaurants, Il Vulcano, a lighthearted, fun Italian restaurant at the top of Westport. 

We also had to cater to my unusual friend, Tim, who doesn’t eat meat.

After a few red wines, a great feed, and a few shots of sambuca (to help with digestion of course), we left the restaurant with a skip in our step, smiles on our faces and tappy toes in need of Irish music.

irish traditional music
Irish Traditional Music

Guinness was both needed and deserved and as someone who is always prepared, research into which pub served the best Guinness in Westport had already been well and truly done.

Matt Molloys Pub Westport
The Famous Matt Molloys Pub, Westport

Matt Molloys

First stop was Moran’s, where the Guinness went down violently. I then brought them to the famous Matt Molloy’s to show them a little taste of Ireland and give them a little bit of the diddly.¬†

Morans Pub, Westport
Morans Pub, Westport

The English boys soaked it up, but was a little too early for me ūüôā So we popped over to another one of the¬†best pubs in Westport¬†and one of my favourite spots, Blousers, for another fine pint of the black.

The goal of the few days got off to an epic start. The challenge of embracing nature and getting out there was truly ticked.

Day 2

Cafe 74 louisburgh
Having Breakfast at Cafe 74 in Louisburgh

Cafe 74, Louisburgh

Waking up on day 2 and with a jam-packed schedule ahead of us, we hit the road for Louisburgh for a day of surfing and sightseeing.

20 minutes later we arrived into the quaint little town of Louisburgh. After a little wander around, we headed to Cafe 74 for a fantastic breakfast in a perfect morning atmosphere. 

Surfing at Carrowniskey Beach, Mayo
Surfing at Carrowniskey Beach, Mayo

Surfing at Carrowniskey Beach

Happily fed, we drove the next few kilometres along the Wild Atlantic Way to Carrowniskey beach to meet Charles and Elvis of Surf Mayo. 

What can you say about surfing, other than it’s fucking awesome?¬†

Learning to surf at Carrowniskey Beach with Surf Mayo
Learning to surf at Carrowniskey Beach with Surf Mayo

Whether you can surf or you can’t, there’s just something about being in the sea with a few mates catching or attempting to catch waves which is just an exhilarating and energising experience.

Having been trying to¬†learn how to surf in Westport¬†all summer, I was at least able to show the boys a few tricks and pretend I’d been surfing the coast of Ireland for years ūüėČ

Little did they know that I’d only started surfing that summer.¬†

After a few epic hours of surfing the Wild Atlantic, we decided to rock on over and explore the Lost Valley of Uggool. 

the lost valley of uggool
Hiking the Lost Valley of Uggool

The Lost Valley of Uggool

Hiking the Lost Valley in Mayo was absolutely perfect after a morning of surfing. 

For a few hours, you get to quiet your mind and calmly stroll through breath-taking nature and hundreds of years of history. Like a living museum, the tour offers an incredible real-life experience and truly awakens your imagination.

The Lost Valley of Uggool
The Lost Valley of Uggool

With evening closing in and not wanting to waste a single second, we hit the road for Achill Island.

The Lost Valley of Uggool
The Lost Valley of Uggool

With hiking, history and surfing enjoyed, a delicious evening meal was again needed. 

Driving to Achill Island from Westport

Two hours later and after a beautiful drive, we were checked in, showered and leaving the fantastic hostel of Pure Magic. 

The weather was truly blessing us and the warm evening sky was ablaze with reds as a world of stars came alive above us as we strolled down into Keel village on Achill Island. 

the axe exe inn achill

The first stop was the Annexe Inn, where we enjoyed a few locally brewed Mescan Beers. The beers weren’t the only thing crafty as I was sharked by a few local 10-year-olds at the pool table.

Amethyst Bar, Achill Island
Amethyst Bar, Achill Island

Amethyst Bar, Keel, Achill Island

The night then took a turn as we met a few locals who took us to the Amethyst pub for a few more. 

The craic was mighty, with stories and songs, singing and dancing and Guinness flowing. Like a Las Vegas casino which pumps in oxygen to keep unsuspecting punters awake, the fresh island air seems to have the same effect!

With surfing, hiking, history, and a glimpse of island life day 2 was conquered. 

Day 3

We awoke day three a little rough for wear, but nothing a (little morning yoga) and a day on the beach couldn’t sort out.¬†

Driving along the Coast of Achill Island

Slowly making our way along the coast of Achill and with Micheal Jackson banging loudly the drive and scenery were spectacular.

The funny thing about¬†climbing Croagh Patrick¬†is that it’s not the next day when you’re sore, but the day after the day after!¬†

Another swim in the Atlantic was needed. 

keem bay achill
Keem Bay, Achill

Keem Bay

We arrived into Keem Bay, one of the best things to do on Achill and after a few coffees and some ice cream, we hit the sea!

keem bay achill
Relaxing at Keem Bay
Keem Bay
Ice Cream & Chip at Keem Bay

Some snorkelling, swimming and competitive beach games later, hunger was built and I knew just the place. 

Beehive Cafe, Achill Island
Beehive Cafe, Achill Island

Beehive Cafe

Having cycled the Gourmet Greenway a month before, I knew that the Beehive Cafe was just the spot.

Thankfully, we got a perfect seat outside, and with birds chirping around us like we were in a goddamn Disney movie we all enjoyed the freshest of seafood, which made Tim, the pescatarian very happy. 

fresh irish mussels
Fresh Irish Mussels

It was only now that the lads realised just how small Achill Island was, as they realised the pub we left the night before was across the road.

Feeling sun-kissed and satisfied after a morning of surfing and swimming, the urge to settle in for the evening was strong. However, we knew we had to deserve that pint and knowing the sun wouldn’t go down until 10 PM, we set off to¬†hike Croaghan Mountain, the third tallest cliffs in Europe.

Hiking Croghan Mountain‚Äč

Croghan Mountain‚Äč‚Äč achill
Croghan Mountain‚Äč‚Äč, Achill Island

Day 4‚Äč

I wasn’t going to let the lads leave Westport without one proper night on the town of Westport. After 3 challenging days of outdoor adventures, we had one more day to push ourselves.

westport bike hire
Westport Bike Hire

Making our way back into Westport, we stopped into professional cyclist Anthony Murray of Westport Bike Hire for a 35km offroad Mountain Biking in Westport challenge.

Watch to the end to enjoy me falling on my arse like a feckin eejit.

Offroad Mountain Biking

After some competitive rock, paper, scissors to decide who would get which bike, we hit the road. 

Rallying back through Westport House, we made our way to Mulranny Hotel cycling the Westport Greenway turning off to head high up into the Mayo boglands. 

Mountain Biking, Westport
Mountain Biking, Westport

Finally, the weather caught up and it bucketed rain as we rallied and raced through the off-road trails, through forests, over beachheads and under bridges. A truly epic, challenging and rewarding day.

dohertys pub
Dohertys Pub

Victorious, we ended up in Doherty’s pub for a few warm-ups.

dohertys pub
Ya gotta stretch ūüôā

The 4-hour cycle created a monster-ish appetite in all of us and I knew just the place. A place which doesn’t turn away stags or hen parties – but embraces them! – An File pub.

an file westport
An File Pub, Westport

Battered and bruised we tucked into unnecessarily large portions and drank to an epic and glorious few days of staying off the beer and getting back to nature!

greenway westport
The Greenway, Westport

Are you thinking of coming to Westport for a few days of inner peace mixed with outdoor adventure?

If so, get in touch and we’ll sure to help you have a great adventure!

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Paul Feeney
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