If you’re debating staying in Newport in Mayo, you’ve landed in the right place.
The historic harbour town of Newport makes the ideal base for exploring the delights of West Mayo.
In the guide below, you’ll discover everything from things to do in Newport in Mayo to where to eat, sleep and drink.
Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Newport
Although a visit to Newport in Mayo is nice and straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
The scenic heritage town of Newport is situated on the shores of Clew Bay in County Mayo. Located 12km north of the larger town of Westport, this coastal community is on the Black Oak River surrounded by hiking and walking trails, including the Great Western Greenway.
2. Small village vibes
Newport has retained its friendly community feel, and with a population of just over 600 it’s easy to understand why. It was founded as a close-knit colony of Quaker cotton weavers. Even today, everybody knows everybody and there’s always time to pause for a chat!
3. A fine base for exploring
Newport is well located for hiking and cycling both the Great Western Greenway and the Wild Atlantic Way. This historic coastal town is easy to reach. It’s compact and easy to explore on a quick visit but has plenty of attractions, shops, restaurants and walks nearby for longer stays.
The town of Newport in Mayo is packed with history and, interesting enough, the oldest part of the area, Burrishoole Abbey, was founded in 1469 by Richard de Burgo.
Known historically as Ballyveaghan, Newport was established in 1719 by the Medlycott family. They built the quay and their land agent, Captain Pratt, introduced linen manufacturing to the area. Many Quakers re-located from Ulster but later emigrated when the industry declined. A second blow came as the port was superseded by Westport, 12km south.
The O’Donel family took over the Medlycott estate and built Newport House, now a luxury hotel overlooking the harbour. They donated land for the convent in 1884. During the build, various coins and buttons were discovered bearing the inscription “Pratt”. The convent opened in 1887 and started the St Joseph’s Convent School. Girls learnt lacemaking skills and started a local industry which lasted until WW2.
Princess Grace of Monaco visited with her husband, Prince Rainier, in 1961. She later bought the cottage (ancestral home of Grace’s grandfather) known as the Kelly Homestead, now derelict.
Things to do in Newport and nearby
There’s a handful of things to do in Newport and there are endless things to do nearby, which make the town a great base for a weekend away.
Below, you’ll find everything from walks and cycles to some of the best places to visit in Mayo, many of which are a stone’s throw from Newport Town.
1. Walk, walks and more walks
For walkers and hikers, Newport is the place to be! There are loads of walks, long and short, including the Harbour Walk along Melcombe Road to tranquil Melcombe Bay. Follow Quay Road to Princess Grace Park on Quay Loop, which starts and ends on Main Street.
Newport is on the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s longest off-road walking and cycling route. The off-road Great Western Greenway also runs right through the town. There’s a detour called Abbey Walk which visits 15th century Burrishoole Abbey.
2. The Greenway
The 42km Great Western Greenway heads south from Newport to Westport (12km south) and north/west to the village of Achill, about 30km away.
This traffic-free route is ideal for walking and cycling (bike rentals available in Newport). It’s a fairly flat route following the former Westport to Achill Railway which closed in 1937.
This trail passes though pretty Mulranny (good for refreshments!) with dramatic views of mountains and Clew Bay before reaching Achill.
3. The Heritage Trail
The Newport Heritage Trail incorporates several shorter trails and loops listed above. It provides a scenic way to explore the town and see the main highlights. Starting from the playground on the south side of the river, cross the bridge and turn left into Quay Road.
It passes Newport House, the harbour, Princess Grace Park and Hotel Newport before crossing Main Street. Pass DeBille House and St Patrick’s Church before descending steps to join the Castlebar Road. Return to the starting point via the historic Seven Arches Bridge.
4. Achill Island (27-minute drive)
Follow the N59/R319 for 30km along the north shores of Clew Bay to Achill Island. It’s the largest of the Irish Isles, located on Mayo’s west coast, reached via the Michael Davitt Bridge.
Known as a rural retreat, the island is a strong Irish-speaking community with breathtaking scenery, beaches (like Keem Bay) and villages.
Steeped in 5000 years of history with megalithic tombs, the island is a hiker’s paradise with cliffs and spectacular views. Discover more in our guide to the best things to do in Achill.
5. Westport Town (15-minute drive)
Head south 12km to Westport, a lively Georgian town on the shores of Clew Bay. Known as Mayo’s premier tourist destination, Westport’s main attraction is Westport House.
This lovely town is enhanced by the dramatic mountain landscape including lofty Croagh Patrick. Several stone bridges cross the Carrow Beg (river).
With over 6,000 residents, it’s 10 times bigger than Newport with plenty of shops, pubs, cafés and a high quality of life. See our guide to the best things to do in Westport for more.
6. Croagh Patrick (22-minute drive)
Nicknamed the “Reek”, Croagh Patrick stands 8km from Newport. The Irish name Cruach Phádraig means “(Saint) Patrick’s Stack”. It’s Mayo’s fourth highest peak and is a significant place of pilgrimage.
Every year it is climbed in honour of Ireland’s patron saint on Reek Sunday, the last Sunday in July. The mountain can be reached along the 30km pilgrim trail from Ballintubber Abbey, probably laid around 350AD. A 5th century chapel marks the summit.
7. Ballycroy National Park (29-minute drive)
Ballycroy National Park is 32km northwest of Newport on the N59. Part of the Owenduff/Nephin Mountains, it includes a vast expanse of peatland (over 117km2) and is a Special Protection Area.
The Owenduff River drains the bog system and is teeming with sea trout and salmon. The park is also a breeding site for rare birds including whooper swans, corncrakes and peregrine falcons. In summer, the Visitor Centre is open in Ballycroy village.
There’s some brilliant accommodation in Newport, from hotels and B&Bs to guesthouses and unique places to stay.
Note: if you book a hotel through one of the links below we may make a tiny commission that helps us keep this site going. You won’t pay extra, but we really do appreciate it.
1. Brannens of Newport
Smart and comfortable, Brannens of Newport is a stylish B&B with modern ensuite bedrooms. It’s in a superb location for exploring the Heritage Trail and harbour or heading off on the Great Western Greenway. The hotel includes a lively lounge, outdoor terrace and bar for downing a pint of “the black stuff” and exchanging tales with fellow guests. Breakfast is served each morning featuring quality local produce.
2. Riverside House Newport
Riverside House Newport is in a stunning riverside location just a short stroll from the historic Seven Arches Bridge. Each nicely furnished room includes a pod coffee machine for the perfect morning brew! For glampers, there’s a Shepherd’s Hut for a night beside the river. This wonderful guest house is in a 200-year-old Georgian property with lawned gardens on the banks of the Black Oak River. Cafés, restaurants, shops and bars are a 5-minute walk away.
3. Newport House Hotel
Newport House is an integral part of Newport history and now offers luxurious accommodation in an elegant country house overlooking the river and quay. Spacious reception rooms are furnished in period style to provide a wonderful ambience. The hotel has 12 comfortable bedrooms in the main house and 2 more self-contained units in the courtyard.
Places to eat in Newport
There’s some brilliant places to eat in Newport in Mayo, with a mix of casual cafes and more formal restaurants on offer.
1. Kelly’s Kitchen
Kelly’s Kitchen has a bright and welcoming ambience. It’s a homely place to tuck into their award-winning Irish breakfast and a really tasty cup of tea. Located at the top of Main Street, and a handy stop for walkers on the Great Western Greenway, the café is open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday. Their meat supplies come from the Kelly family butcher right next door! Sample some local specialities such as white pudding or try the authentic Irish Stew!
2. Blue Bicycle Tea Rooms
Opened in 2011, the family-run Blue Bicycle Tearoom is in the historic DeBille House near the church in Newport. It’s a short hop from the Great Western Greenway and provides indoor and outdoor dining in the Victorian Garden. It might be “only a tearoom” but it’s a member of Gourmet Greenway, Mayo’s renowned foodie trail. The menu includes homemade soups, gourmet sandwiches, scones, tarts and the Signature Blue Bicycle Princess Grace Orange Cake – we’re sure she’d approve!
3. Arno’s Bistrot
Beautifully designed for an upscale dining experience, Arno’s Bistrot is in the heart of Westport on Market Lane. The French owner, Arnaud, has teamed up with head chef Donal, a Mayo local, to create a gastronomic Irish menu with a touch of French flair. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 5pm, this is the place to dine on fresh seafood and local produce with desserts to die for.
Pubs in Newport Town
There’s a surprising number of pubs in Newport Town, many of which could go toe-to-toe with some of the better-known pubs in Westport. Here are our favourites.
1. The Grainne Uaile
The colourful facade of the Gráinne Uaile epitomises the energy and vibrancy of this award-winning pub. Overlooking Clew Bay, the pub takes its name from Ireland’s infamous Pirate Queen, Gráinne Uaile herself. Famous visitors include Bono and Prince Albert II of Monaco, so you’re in good company! Tables spill out onto the street for customers to sip, sup and socialise.
2. Black Oak Inn
Traditionally furnished with a polished wood bar, the Black Oak Inn is a great place to find a drink, some local craic, and a room for the night to sleep it off. Located on Meddlicott Street, it’s in the heart of Newport just south of the main bridge. The fully stocked bar has something for everyone from cider to Guinness and a host of wines and spirits.
Brannen’s of Newport is an attractive stone-built pub on Main Street with a friendly bar and luxury accommodation. Highly rated, this smart clean pub is the perfect place for walkers on the Great Western Greenway to pause and enjoy some well-earned wet refreshments steps from the river. In the evening, Brannen’s hosts live sessions from 10pm and Friday Night is Music Night!
4. Nevin’s Newfield Inn
Nevin’s Newfield Inn is a traditional Irish pub known for its hearty food, fine ales and friendly service. This family-owned business has been serving pints since the 1800s and is one of the oldest in the area. Leather-backed stools line the bar while the roaring open fire keeps everyone warm and cosy whatever the weather. On sunny days the outdoor tables are popular with hikers (and their four-legged friends) as they explore the nearby Greenway.
5. Walsh’s Bridge Inn
Located on Main Street, Walsh’s Bridge Inn has everything you need – a well-stocked bar, free Wi-Fi, a tasty restaurant menu featuring locally sourced produce and B&B rooms for those hiking or cycling the Greenway. The three-story property is one of the first you’ll see as you cross the bridge into the town. On weekends, it has live music and you can play darts and even hire bicycles.
FAQs about visiting Newport in Mayo
Since mentioning the town in a guide to Mayo that we published several years ago, we’ve had hundreds of emails asking various things about Newport in Mayo.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Is Newport worth visiting?
Yes! Newport is a fine little town to stop off in for food if you’re exploring this corner of Mayo. It also makes a great base for exploring Mayo.
What are the best things to do in Newport?
Arguably the best of the many things to do in Newport is to cycle the Great Western Greenway, however, the town Heritage Trail is well worth doing, too.
Are there many places to eat in Newport?
Yes – there’s plenty of cafes, pubs and restaurants in Newport in Mayo where you can grab either a casual or a more formal bite-to-eat.
Gillian Birch is a travel writer and published author. She has travelled the world and uses her personal journals and memories to write about her many travel experiences, particularly those that involved adventures in Ireland.