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Towns to visit between Portrush and Westport

Hello! My family (including kids 7 and 3) will be traveling to Ireland and Northern Ireland this summer. We plan to spend time in Dublin, Belfast, and Portrush. I am also interested in staying in Westport, but would love to know if anyone has recommendations for another town to visit for a few hours or stay in between Portrush and Westport?

We will have a car, my husband has driven in Ireland before, and we love small towns and outdoor experiences. County Donegal looks interesting, though I’d love to hear if anyone has personal experience with visiting.

We could also spend some time in Galway, though I’m not set on it. We have seen the Cliffs of Moher so will likely not repeat that, and don’t plan to visit the Aran Islands. Thanks in advance for any insight or tips.

*Edited for clarification to include Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Posted by
182 posts

I'm planning a trip the other direction (for next Spring) and I'm considering Cliftden (mainly because of Connemara NP),
Donegal, Dunfanaghy (mainly because of Glenveagh NP), and Ballycastle as stops between Galway (which we love to visit) and Belfast (where we've never been). I considered Westport and Portrush, but have tentatively rejected them. I'll be interested in other responses!

Posted by
5151 posts

@jjgurley. Consider Port Ballintrae. The Antrim Coast is lovely and shouldn’t be missed.

Posted by
182 posts

Not to hijack the thread, but Port Ballintrae is superior to Ballycastle? Being so close to Belfast and the music scene, I was having a hard time justifying two nights in the area. Coming from Dunfanaghy, Port B. would be a more relaxed drive.

Posted by
279 posts

Thanks for your insight, Carol now retired and jjgurley. I am now looking more at Clifden though it would be a longer drive from Portrush. I will be sure to post a trip report when we are back.

Posted by
279 posts

I am adding an update in case anyone was curious. After leaving Portrush, we will stop for one night in Sligo. Then we will go to Clifden for three nights. We have the Titanic Experience booked in Belfast, and I am awaiting a reply from Ashford Castle for the Falconry experience. If anyone else has any favorite experiences, outdoor sights, or restaurants, I would love to hear them. Many thanks!

Posted by
925 posts

Hello from Wisconsin,
Portrush to Westport. Let me just say that I have the warmest of feelings for Westport. I had to sing Waltzing Matilda with a tone deaf Tasmanian one evening in a Westport pub. Everyone had to sing a song. It has a lovely setting. If I recall correctly, Westport is where famine ships brought grain. It is one of the very few planned city in Ireland. William Makepeace Thackeray said it was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. A bit of Irish hyperbole, no doubt.

If I were driving from Portrush I would make a loop in County Donegal. Turn off at Letterkenny from the 'fast route' to Westport. The rugged coastline is sight to behold. Donegal is beautiful. Glenveagh N.P. is nice and maybe a good place to get and walk around. How can you pass up Glencolumbkille? The roads are slow. So this could gobble up a lot of time. Maybe plan a night in Donegal. Between Donegal city and Westport...not much.

wayne iNWI