Westport mill rebuilt as tourist centre
The Harbour Mill in Westport is a "unique development" in Irish tourism, the EU Commissioner for Social Affairs and Employment, Mr Padraig Flynn, said. "It is the first of its kind and it really sets a bench-mark for the tourist industry." The £10 million accommodation complex was built using tax incentives under the seaside resort scheme. Built on the site of a derelict 18th century mill at Westport harbour, the development comprises 85 apartments built around a long central courtyard.
It is designed to cater for hill walkers and others interested in activity holidays, and includes facilities such as a drying room for raincoats, a leisure centre and a reading room. Guides are available for hill-walking excursions, as are maps detailing a range of walks around Croagh Patrick, the Nephin mountains and the sandstone massif of Mweelrea.
Although the mill was demolished to make way for the development, its cut-stone facade was rebuilt to form the main front for the new building. Other elements, including massive wooden beams and stone arches, were incorporated in the design by the architect, Mr Tom Carr, in a deliberate reference to the old mill.
The new building stands in contrast to other holiday home schemes in the west, which have attracted criticism for their obtrusive impact on the landscape.