On the west coast of Ireland, north of Connemara and Galway, sits Westport. We heard there were a few decent pubs there, and decided it was the perfect spot to spend the night on the way to Sligo. Never did we imagine that a winter storm and “treacherous” roads would keep us there and very happily, I may add, for two and a half days. I emphasize the word treacherous because it was highlighted in each sentence we heard from an Irishman this trip. Everything in sight was covered in ice and snow, with not a shovel or rock salt in sight. It certainly made travel a bit more difficult but it kept us around long enough to enjoy a place we dream about living in.
Our first great experience began with Joe and Bridget at the Broadlands B&B. Because the roads were (I won’t use it again) dangerous, it took us quite a while longer to arrive at their doorstep. Still, despite our late arrival, Joe greeted us with the warmest hospitality, and offered to drop us into town so we could be rid of our car and walk home after a few pints. He gave us a tour of which pubs were great and which were ok, in addition to some history of Westport itself, which by the way is the “Tidiest Town in Ireland”. He even invited us to join him and his wife to a ceili, but with my husband’s bad foot, we regrettably declined. I still wish we had experienced real hometown Irish dancing, but in its place we found cold stout, un-tourist-like bars and beautiful Irish sessions.
If you are unfamiliar with a session or seisiún, it consists of Irish musicians that park themselves in the corner of a pub. They play with whatever musicians come in that night, with an array of instruments and songs that range from old Irish traditional ballads, to covers of modern songs. They play for themselves as much as they play for the people, often in a formed circle. Just musicians, their instruments, pints and a little wooden table amongst them.
We liked Westport so much, that we decided we would be more than glad to let the icy roads keep us an extra night. Joe and Bridget didn’t mind and our bellies welcomed their amazing Irish breakfast. I could tell you about Westport for days, but it deserves another post one day and I will share these photos with you in the meantime.