50th anniversary of opening for Westport

50th anniversary of opening for Westport 50th anniversary of opening for Westport
Westport House celebrates the 50th anniversary this year of becoming a tourist attraction. In July 1960 Jeremy Altamont (now the 11th Marquess of Sligo) opened the doors of Westport House to the public for the grand sum of 2s 6d, plus sixpence for the gardens. The opening up of the house and gardens was an attempt to avoid selling up or demolishing the property and in its first year it attracted 3,000 visitors.

Fifty years on and more than four million visitors have been welcomed with a current rate of around 60,000 a year.

Westport’s Browne family are direct descendants of the 16th century pirate queen of Connaught, Grace O’Malley (Granuaile) whose great-great-granddaughter married the first Browne who settled in Westport, colonel John Browne.

The house was designed by Richard Cassels, Thomas Ivory and James Wyatt and was built in 1730 on the site of one of Grace O’Malley’s 16th century castles.

It is one of Ireland’s most beautiful heritage properties with stunning architecture complete with original paintings, furniture and works of art.

In all there are 30 rooms on show to visitors as well as shops, restaurant and bar.

There are three exhibitions in the house: Grace O’Malley (Granuaile) 16th century pirate queen of Connaught; Howe Peter – abolition of slavery in Jamaica; and a waxwork exhibition of famous Irish literary figures who were all somehow connected to the west of Ireland or who visited the House at some point.

Westport boasts great value rates with groups of more than 10 visitors at €7 each and more than 20 at €6.50 each.

There is extensive coach parking on site.

Situated adjacent to the popular heritage town of Westport, it is only 30 minutes drive from Kylemore Abbey, Turlough House, and Achill Island, all popular attractions on tour itineraries.

www. westporthouse.ie