The Westport Arts Festival was founded in 1975

"for the purpose of bringing the best of Musical and Dramatic Entertainment to the town for one week concurrent with an exhibition of Art Works - the latter to be arranged with James White of the National Gallery".

The first festival from 3 to 20 July 1976 was officially opened by Rev Dr Cunnane Archbishop of Tuamand the committee chairman was Patrick Durcan.

Among those taking part in the 1976 festival were:

Frank Patterson and Geraldine O'Grady

Mary O'Hara
Richard Murphy
The New Irish Chamber Orchestra.
Other events included:

An art exhibition
A Great Irish Portraits exhibition
Contemporary Irish Cinema (arranged by Irish Film Society)
A lecture and exhibition on the writings of George A Birmingham.

We are very grateful to the sponsors without whom the fesival couldn't have began:

Shaw Trust
Guinness Group Sales
Ireland West Tourism
Zhivago Club Dublin
and local businesses

In 1977 St Patrick's Drama group put on 'General John Reagan' and the festival was again held in July as it was in 1978.

1979 was a General Election year, there was a postal strike and papal visit, it was also the year when it was decided to move the festival to September where it has remained ever since.

Our current chairperson is Michele O'Malley. Past incumbents have been: Andrew Beatty; Peter Hayden; Sadie Higgins; Patrick Durcan; Liam Lyons; Michael Murphy; Peter Shanley; Padraic Duffy; Finola Cummins and Aileen Keogh. The late John Jeffers was president.

It has been the policy of the committee to encourage local artists and bring to Westport both Irish and international acts and artists of the highest standard. Were it not for the generous support of our sponsors the cost would be prohibitive.

We are very grateful to the Arts Council, Mayo County Council and Westport Town Council for all their support.

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The 39th annual Westport Arts Festival will run from Wednesday 1st till Sunday 5th October 2014.


As usual, we are looking for exciting, quirky and dirverse line-ups of top quality acts and events.


In our usual tradition, we are trying to insure that every aspect of artiistic endeavour is represented during this years festival. Music, literature, dance, visual arts, theatre, film, comedy,childrens and family events...its all here in Westport!


Please check the Gallery section to see what happen last year!

What They've Said...

"It forms an event in one's life to have seen this place, so beautiful it is, and so unlike all other beauties that I know of. But if nature has done much for Westport, we ought to be thankful to the people of Westport, who have done a great deal too. Not least, in establishing the Westport Arts Festival. Since 1976 this festival has had a far-reaching and positive impact on the local community. With a committee made up entirely of volunteers, this multi-disciplinary arts festival takes over Westport town and transforms it into a creative arena."

Minister Jimmy Deenihan 2012

Now in its 38th year, Westport Arts Festival, which takes place from the September 27th to October 6th 2013, has long since established itself on the West coast calendar as an exciting and diverse event.

The festival is a locally-run event for the enjoyment of the thousands of tourists who visit the area annually. The Festival will see the best in Music, Art, Circus, Literature, Theatre, Dance, Film and Free Street Performances, entertaining adults and children alike. Hope to see you there!