When I read up on Westport Ireland it sounded great- tons of little shops, pubs, and a great nightlife courtesy of countless Stag and Hen parties. With the added plus of only being a couple hour bus ride from Galway I was set to explore the town for a weekend. And what a weekend it was, just sadly not in a good way. Not that there is anything wrong with Westport itself, it’s a cute little town. It just happened to be one of those times where nothing ever goes how you want it to.
For starters I made the mistake of trusting my friend Brian, a landscaper who subscribed to some special weather thing, when he told me that it wasn’t supposed to rain. Ever heard that saying ‘never trust an Irishman’? You better believe it. I guess you could say he was right in a way, it didn’t just rain when I got off the bus- it poured. Sadly my rain coat was packed deep in my bag so I hiked across town and up a hill to my B&B in my cute knit dress and some warm boots. By the time I made it to the B&B…well the look on my hosts’ faces said it all- I looked like a drown rat.
After a much needed hot shower the rain finally stopped so I set off back into town. I meandered into a few shops picking up some great Christmas presents for friends and family back home. The people of Westport were absolutely lovely and I regularly spent more time talking than actually shopping in their stores. I stopped in a pub for dinner ordering my Irish favourite; fish and chips. The meal was great though made awkward by a group of older leering men. Thankfully I had a magazine with me a sat in a corner close to the bar to read while I ate. I took my time, waiting for it to ‘liven up’ a bit but it never happened, so eventually I headed back to my B&B figuring I’d get a good night sleep so I could have a full day tomorrow. And that was when I made mistake number two: believing I could get a good night sleep.
Remember I said that Westport was known for Stag and Hen parties? Well it turns out they need somewhere to sleep too…even if that means coming in drunk out of their minds at 3am and then smoking and chatting outside a certain someone’s window until nearly 5am. There went that night’s sleep. I did however, feel a little better when they stumbled down at breakfast, clearly a little worse for wear. “How are you feeling this morning boys?”
After checking on some things to do for that day I decided I wanted to go horseback riding. My host kindly drove me to the ranch where I was treated like dirt until she found out I was Canadian. However, once that was all sorted out I had a great time. My guide was Ukrainian and just about the nicest guy ever. He was patient with me, answering my gazillion questions about the area and the local attraction Croagh Patrick, telling me that some pilgrimages to the top are made barefoot. The scenery was beautiful, my horse was sweet, and I was having an all-around good day. Or so I thought.
On the way back I started to notice my eye was itchy, and then I kept sneezing. By the time I made it back to the B&B one eye was swollen shut and my throat was on fire. It was one hell of a way to find out that I am allergic to horses. After a hot shower I lay down in my bed, cursing that I was wasting my day but figuring it would be worth it if it went away. It didn’t. A couple hours later I had to stumble blindly into a town pharmacy where, with one look at my swollen eye, the pharmacist gave me some medication. It took a couple hours but thank god it worked. In the meantime I was too embarrassed to actually eat in a restaurant so i found a small Italian place and asked if they did take out. “Only for nice people” the waiter told me. I prayed to god I was nice enough because with my swollen eye I sure didn’t look pretty. Thankfully he deemed me good enough and I was rewarded with a piping hot plate of delicious tortellini which I quickly took back to my B&B and ate in my room.
By 9:30pm I decided that my eye (still slightly swollen) was as good as it would get, and I headed out in search of some of this famous nightlife. I was told my best bet would be at a pub called Matt Molloy’s, owned by Matt Molloy of the Irish group, the Chieftans. The pub was famous, not only in Westport but also in Ireland as a whole, and was supposed to have some of the best Irish music the country has to offer. Sadly my evening entertainment was not the traditional Irish music, but rather a bachelorette party. Dressed in pink and completely wasted these girls took over the pub, and when I offered to take their picture I became their new best friend. Normally stories like these have happy endings, but after having multiple beers spilled all over me in a couple attempts at a ‘group’ picture, I figured I was ready to call it a night. I returned back to my B&B where, to my surprise, the youngest member of the bachelor party was sitting outside. Too young to visit the pubs with the others he was left behind, but kindly told me that if I needed some company he had his room to himself. Because being picked up by a 15 year old made my day just so much better. Not.
After two terrible days you would think that my third and final day would be better. It wasn’t. After being told that Westport House was the main attraction I thought I may as well check it out. Let’s just say that if you don’t have young kids- don’t bother. I paid nearly $20 euro for my ticket only to find that this place was sorry excuse of a theme park for young children. To make matters worse I decided to take the ‘scenic’ way home, around the whole town, where I consequently got lost. Needless to say when I got back to the B&B I quickly packed and caught the next bus home to Galway.