When we moved to Clara four years ago my father in law christened us The Midlanders and the name has stuck since then! We are a mixture of Dublin, Tipperary and now Offaly so it makes for an interesting conversation when someone asks where we are from. We decided this year instead of going abroad we would do a few mini breaks around Ireland and explore places we have not been before. After watching Diarmuid Gavin cycle the Great Western Greenway in Mayo our friends decided that it would be a nice few days away and we decided to tag along! Our group comprising of 4 adults, 3 kids, 1 toddler and 1 baby set off on Monday morning all ready for our adventure. A spot of lunch and a scenic drive brought us to our destination, Hotel Newport, Newport, Co Mayo. The staff were very friendly and accommodating and after a initial query about our rooms we were upgraded to the Liosmor Suite where the five of us could quite happily avoid each other if required! The hotel is quite small but suited us perfectly. The dinner menu is quite straightforward comprising of duck, steak, chicken or pasta but anything we ordered was delicious and was served with a lovely selection of vegetables, garlic potatoes and mash. All meat on the breakfast menu was locally sourced from the award winning butcher next door and all the eggs were free range and organic, I love seeing these details on menus! All in all the hotel provided comfortable accommodation, very tasty food and a warm welcome, highly recommended.
Newport itself is a lovely picturesque little village surrounded by the Nephin mountains, which we explored on foot on Monday afternoon, lovely playground for the kids and of course the start of the Great Western Greenway. After collecting our packed lunch from the hotel on Tuesday morning we set off on our bikes to explore the route. An 18km cycle along abandoned railway tracks, through fields, across bridges and up hills brought us to the village of Mulranny where after fortifying ourselves with soup and sandwiches we turned and headed back to Newport. What a fabulous cycle and despite getting caught in heavy showers for the last 6 kilometres not one word of complaint was uttered by the kids! I think they thought that was the most fun! The people of Mayo are so lucky to have this track on their doorstep, we really need to see more routes like this around the country.
Westport House provided great entertainment for the children on Wednesday. Pirate ships, miniature railway, swan pedaloes, cannonball run, plunge flume rides, go karts among other things kept them busy all day allowing the adults to relax and rest their legs after the previous days cycling! We stopped off in Westport on the way back and had a delicious dinner in Fishworks in the Atlantic Coast Hotel. Gorgeous food and very nice staff.
A new section of the Greenway just opened last month connecting Mulranny to Achill Island so this was our destination on Thursday. This was the real west of Ireland, we even encountered sheep and cows on the track which the kids loved. It was a wet miserable day but was so enjoyable, we are going to keep going back until we get the opportunity to cycle it in glorious sunshine! All of our bicycles were hired from Clew Bay Bike Hire and the hotel organised this for us.
Here are the links you need: