A pescatarian paradise in the west
Eat fish but not meat? A fintastic menu in February will make your weekend in Co Mayo
A two-night stay at Knockranny House, with bed and breakfast, and the pescatarian tasting menu on one night, is excellent value at €199 per person sharing
Seamus Commons, head chef at La Fougère restaurant, is serving a meat-free tasting menu over the weekend of February 17th and 18th
Westport is one of those seaside spots along Ireland’s Atlantic coast that puts the weary traveller instantly at ease. The shoulders relax at the first sight of Croagh Patrick and the picturesque town at its foot, and all thoughts of the working week and Red Cow roundabout tailbacks fade away with the promise of sea air, creamy pints and delicious seafood.
The town is a great base from which to explore the stunning landscape surrounding it, offering an array of activities from horseriding and fishing to hillwalking and every watersport you can think of: kayaking, surfing, sailing, even sea-trampolining. There’s golf and the Great Western Greenway, the longest off-road cycling and walking trail in Ireland. And, of course, there’s the looming bulk of Croagh Patrick, daring you to climb its 762m peak. In all, any number of ways to work up an appetite for that delicious seafood.
Tasting menuSeamus Commons
Perfectly seared scallops sit on a bed of cubed squash and hazelnut to kick things off, followed by a hearty “fillet” of salt-baked swede with walnut and apple. Galway goats’ cheese is paired with beetroot and followed by violet potatoes, with a delicately smoked quail egg and truffle emulsion. Fresh from Knockranny’s own garden comes Jerusalem artichoke, with roast cauliflower and a mushroom dressing, then vegetable crisps with a creamy kale dip, rounded off with the freshest turbot and shellfish, and orchard fruits for dessert.
Knockranny itself sits on a hill nestled amid beautiful views of Westport town and Croagh Patrick, Clew Bay islands and the Nephin Mountains. It’s the perfect spot to come back to after a day of the great outdoors, if you can drag yourself away from the log fires, cosy armchairs and panoramic views (not to mention the spa). A two-night stay with bed and breakfast, and the pescatarian tasting menu on one night, is excellent value at €199 per person sharing. (For a real Valentine’s treat, consider splashing out on the spectacular penthouse or one of the hotel’s fabulous suites, from about €450 for two people sharing.) The tasting menu costs €69 per person for non-resident guests.
Pescatarian tasting menu available February 17th and 18th; Tel: 098-28600; knockrannyhousehotel.ie
Five things to do in Westport
Cycle the Great Western Greenway
Take a stroll
Soak up some heritage
Visit some of Mayo’s finest heritage spots and museums, from the Céide Fields to Westport House to the Clew Bay Heritage Centre. mayo-ireland.ie
Do Croagh Patrick
Climb to the top and marvel at the landscape below, at your hillwalking prowess, but above all else, at the fact that people do this barefoot. croagh-patrick.com
Jump in the water
Get wet at the Adventure Islands Water Park, where, among an array of outdoor activities, you can go sea-trampolining. theadventureislands.com