On second thought, please don’t – We want to keep it all for ourselves…
We chose Castlebar based on two criteria:
1- We could get there easily from Galway and
2- Jake found a charming studio to rent on Airbnb.
Visiting a town you know nothing about is an adventure. It could be wonderful, it could be terrible or it could be somewhere in-between. The way we figured, either way, we’ll have a story to tell. Fortunately, this gamble was worth it and we had a wonderful time!
Castlebar is not a place you find many tourists. Most visitors in this area will find themselves in the nearby coastal town of Westport or just passing through exploring the rest of Mayo County.
The day we arrived, we had just missed a town celebration, Mayo Day. From The Connaught Telegraph, “This year for Mayo Day, Castlebar is holding the Flagship event – Mayo-French Connections – which celebrates our accomplishments in shaping the nation during a pivotal time in history, and the connections we made with the French in 1798. These themes are explored in the L’Arbre de la Liberté Conference, and the excitement of the times are brought to life in historic re-enactments throughout the weekend.”
That’s right, we missed re-enactments by about an hour! Sad. But this event meant that there were French flags hanging from every building.
The weekend we arrived, there also happened to be a race to raise funds for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer, so alongside all of the French flags there were pink ribbons, and pink clothing for sale everywhere as well. It made for an interesting set for an Irish small town for sure!
The festivities had ended by that afternoon and the streets appeared deserted by that evening. After getting settled into our new temporary home, Jake and I went into town to find a pint. Like ya do.
Walking down the streets, we were surprised at HOW deserted the streets appeared. We finally find a pub to pop into and as soon as we crack the door, we understand why the streets were empty. Everyone was at the pubs! A waft of hot humid air greeted us at the door, and as we couldn’t even see the bar through the shoulder to shoulder people, we decided to press on. We ran into the same story a few more times before we found a pub with a bit more elbow room.
There we realized why everyone was packed into the pubs – for the big match of course! Jake and I have been enjoying watching football and some rugby when we are able to and rooting for the local teams. We’re bummed to have missed the Gaelic Football and Rugby season, but there is still a lot of football to watch this time of year. (and that’s football as in “soccer” to those of us from the States.)
The next 6 days in Castlebar were a mix of working, getting some laptop time in, enjoying the local pubs, and visiting with our amazing AirBnB host. We lucked out BIG TIME with our AirBnB and met a wonderful new friend and her lovely girls. Our host was kind enough to show us around the town as well as make sure we got to see some great live music before we left town!
Castlebar temporary “office”.
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We did take a day trip out to Westport to get in some coastal time. It was nice, but I’m glad that we chose Castlebar to stay in. Westport is a lovely town, but you can definitely feel the tourist vibe once you arrive.
Western Ireland was amazing and we can’t wait to return. The smaller towns are the way to go for us for sure! Next time, we just may brave it with a car to be able to explore even more.