Leave the hustle and bustle behind and see real Ireland
Katy Forrester visits County Mayo
Where: Westport, County Mayo, West of Ireland.
Accommodation: Westport Plaza Hotel, Castlebar Street, Westport.
Call: +353 (0) 98 51166.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Flights: Flybe operates flights from Manchester Airport to West Airport in Knock, County Mayo. Visit www.flybe.com. Prices start from £32.99, including taxes and charges.
DISCOVER the real Ireland against a backdrop of breathtaking countryside. Westport in County Mayo is a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life, with quaint shops and traditional pubs, a weekend here will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to take on your next challenge.
Visit Sol Rio restaurant in Bridge Street and tuck into a dish of oysters or Eastern Atlantic king prawns, before popping across the road to the famous Matt Maloy's Irish music pub. Matt is a member of the group The Chieftains and the pub's resident band often fall silent while a local man in the audience sings everyone a tune. Sip a cold pint of Guinness, before joining in a jig.
For those wanting to broaden their music knowledge, it's a real eye-opener. Westport is one of Ireland's most popular tourist towns and there are plenty of things to do just outside of the area.
A day in Connemara, about 9km from Westport, and locally known as The Reek, has been the site of pilgrimage since pre-Christian times. The holy mountain attracts huge numbers every year.
Kylemore Abbey is also a must for anyone visiting the area. It's great for big travelling parties and family days out. The neo-gothic structure was built in the mountains and is run by the Benedictine Nuns, who fled Belgium in the 1920s.
Other ways in which to enjoy the West of Ireland include cycling across the great Greenway, visiting a deserted village at Slievemore, Achill and dining at Mango's or Cronin's Shebeen Restaurant in Westport.
And if it's a little chilly during your stay, there's no better way to keep warm than purchasing a new scarf or cardigan during a trip to the thriving Foxford Woollen Mills.
It's famous worldwide for its rugs, tweeds and blankets, and was established in 1892.
Take the industrial tour and experience the sights, sounds and smells of the 19th-century mill.
There's a lot more to Ireland than Dublin, and if seaside, rolling countryside and pubs don't convince you, the people will.
Killary Cruise, Killary Fjord, Leeanne, www.killarycruises.com
Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, County Galway www.kylemoreabbey.com
Foxford Woollen Mills, County Mayo www.foxfordwoollenmills.ie