The Venice of the West
Obviously the city, town or village must possess an extraordinary aesthetic beauty, tree-lined streets, a gurgling river flowing gently by, colourful houses full of friendly locals…all that jazz. It also needs fantastic amenities, great restaurants and a thriving arts and culture scene.
Known as ‘The Venice of the West’ Westport in County Mayo ticks all of these boxes. But that’s not why it won ‘The best place to live in Ireland.’
The real reasons run deeper.
It takes more than aesthetic beauty alone to win such an accolade. It takes a determined community who take great pride in their homes and town all working together towards the same goal. Westport beat off stiff competition from over 536 other locations in the Irish Times poll to be crowned champions. Their victory is down to the rock-solid sense of community spirit in Westport. For a town with a population over just a few thousand souls, there are over 100 volunteer groups in action, hands-in-gloves picking up litter, painting park benches and generally keeping Westport in winning condition.
This unwavering community spirit was also behind Westport winning the hotly contested ‘Ireland’s Tidiest Town’ award not once, not twice but three times! Westport is also an official Irish Heritage Town, marking it as one of Ireland's must visit locations.
Food glorious food
When they’re not working on the recipe for the perfect town, the good people of Westport like to partake in culinary the culinary arts (it is on the Gourmet Greenway, after all). Top of their taste tree is The Westport Food Festival.
Each September food lovers from all over Ireland and abroad flood into Westport for three days of foodie fun. Locals take tremendous pride in this festival, too, with artisan producers flocking in from the surrounding countryside to proudly present their wares.
The town centre is magically transformed into a tented food village, lined with stalls bursting with local produce from restaurants, artisan producers, chefs and cafes. Delicious aromas drift from the tent to every corner of Westport, setting a grumble in many tummies. Our advice is to wander in here properly peckish and nibble your way around the entire tent. Heaven!
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So, our recipe is complete. Take ‘The best place to live in Ireland’, mix with a food festival to rival any in the world and you’ve got yourself one tasty destination.
You’ve got Westport.
The Westport Food Festival takes place from the 6th – 8th of September 2013