Is there anywhere more magical than the west coast of Ireland? The Wild Atlantic Way may be a relative new marketing tool, but the majesty of Croagh Patrick and it’s breathtaking Clew bay & beaches are jaw dropping and have been for around for millennia.
On a recent visit I stumbled upon the Demise of Westport House and could not resist taking a tour of the majestic stately house. I was even more excited to find out that they cater as an exclusive wedding venue.
It happened on a day after a wonderful boat trip around Clew Bay where the boat dropped us off on the quays and I spotted the sign post for the entrance to the grounds.
The grounds are enormous encompassing some hundreds of acres and beautifully maintained, there is a lovely sense of calm immediately on walking through the gates.
I learnt from our bay tour host that the current house is built on the foundations of an ancient castle dating back to The O’Malleys and Grainne Uaile, the infamous legendary Irish female pirate who used to master the waters on this piece of the Atlantic. You can still go see the ellars of the original castle .
But back to the current house, it was just at the end of the summer season and settling into a beautiful mild autumn air. The house sits majestically overlooking the lawns and a beautiful river which holds swan boats during the summer. This is the same river which famously runs through the village of Westport with its stone bridges and boulevard styled quays.
The rooms are stunning if upstairs some are a little dated but that’s the feel, the principal ground floor rooms , the large and “small” dining rooms and the long room with its gallery style of portrait paintings are something I would love to work in for a wedding set up. There is a stunning entrance and stairway for photos with grand open fires..
I can just picture a winter wedding set up here.
It seems that there are three principal rooms they use for weddings depending on sizes of numbers. There are ample outdoor terraces and there is always a hive of activity around the estate which even boasts it’s own camping area during the summer.
its website boasts;
“The House which is still privately owned by the Browne Family who built it in 1730 is still very much as it was. It allows you to go back in time where you will find yourselves surrounded by original furniture, magnificent paintings, open fireplaces, parquet floors and breathtaking architecture in every room- a living documentation of 300 years of Irish Heritage.
Westport House is an exclusive wedding venue with a one-event-a-day policy which means that you can relax in the comfort of knowing that the house is exclusively yours – all three floors of it! Given the secluded setting, it is unlikely that you’ll see another soul aside from your guests and the accommodating staff.”
The front breakfast room does contain the most beautiful parquet flooring I have ever seen and allows for dancing judging by some of the pictures I have seen on their website.
I would happily recommend a visit as a potential couple booking an appointment. I did not get the “wedding” tour as I went in undercover or so to speak in order to get a feel for the place myself without getting the official walk through. I was happy to explore the house, basements and kitchens. There are excellent modern toilet facilities in the basement. I’d imagine of course that for wedding celebrations some rooms would be off limits but in an old stately house with precious artifices this is to be expected. Some might call it bordering on shabby chic but I love this and got a lovely warm feeling from the entire experience.
My favourite room is the front room overlooking the front door stone steps and river which would have been the original breakfast and drawing room. I’d imagine it would seat smaller groups of 50-60 comfortably with larger parties in the gallery room up to 120.
On their website they say food and beverage are provided by their recommended caterer whom they personally recommend and endorse, but I would insist on a tasting and menu discussion keeping in mind my earlier piece on trends for 2015 .
Remember when you rent a private venue think outside the box about what you can plan to make your day fun and unique.
There are hotels galore of very high standards are within all budgets in and around the village. I choose to stay outside the village on the way to the quays, which was coincidentally the original village, in the Westport Woods Hotel while being a little dated and quieter I likes the idea of the walk and it is situated mid way between the village and the quays, and has a decent leisure centre. There are newer and “shinier” hotels in the village but I liked the idea of the walk.
There are many many B&B’s locally as well.
or +353 (0)98 27766.