TRAVEL with pat and lew

family matters in Westport

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 12, 2007

We leave Mary’s house and drive out about 10 kilometers on the N59 to find the rest of the family. Three of Mary’s children – Liam, Maggie, and Betty – live in adjacent houses on the family land on the N59. All of the houses have spectacular views of Croughpatrick Mountain, the site of annual pilgrimages.

There are 8 children among the three families, ranging from 6 to 15. We have a pleasant visit, including shooting baskets with the kids. I make two long shots in a row and turn around to receive the plaudits due me, but no one has seen the great event.

Noel (Maggie’s husband), who has been at work, arrives just before we leave.

“Are you still working at the Connemara marble factory?” Pat asks.

“No, I’m selling cars now,” Noel says. Noel talks fast, and he’s funny.

“I finally got a job where they pay me to talk rubbish. I’ve been talking rubbish all my life, and now I get paid for it. It’s brilliant!”

After an hour or so of wonderful conversation and laughter, we promise to return next year with some of Pat’s children. Before the dusk turns to dark, not wanting to drive at night, we head back into Westport, park the car, and walk to dinner.

Westport is an unspoiled gem, a beautiful, absolutely clean little town that is being discovered, but hasn’t yet changed. Everything about it has the flavor of an earlier age. We eat in a charming informal restaurant in the Wyatt Hotel.

Then it’s Henahan’s Bar.

Pat’s maiden name is Hanahan, but it was Henahan in Westport, and her family is related somehow to the family that owns the bar. I tell the bartender that he has a special customer, and he introduces us to the current owner, the seventh generation of first sons named Michael Jack Henahan.

Another half pint of Guinness, and a walk up the steep hill to the B&B, where we collapse into bed after a long and tiring and wonderful day. In the morning, we enjoy a full Irish B&B breakfast – one fried egg, sausages, bacon, tomato, toast, cereal, orange juice, coffee and tea – and head back to Galway. 

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