Tag Archives: Westport New Zealand

Westports Of The World, Unite!

The “06880” tagline is “Where Westport meets the world.”

The theme of this story is “Where the Westports of the world meet.”

Every few year from 1985 to 2010, an organization called Westports of the World sponsored gatherings of representatives from towns called Westport. There are at least 25 spread around the planet, as close as Massachusetts and as far as New Zealand.

Now, the Westport in County Mayo, Ireland is reviving the idea.

Westport, Ireland's version of the William Cribari/Bridge Street Bridge.

Westport, Ireland’s version of the William Cribari/Bridge Street Bridge.

The timing is perfect. Next September, the Irish Westport celebrates its 250th birthday.

(By comparison, 250 years ago our Westport was not even a concept. Saugatuck was part of Norwalk. Greens Farms was part of Fairfield. Of course, we were still a decade away from forming our own country.)

County Mayo has planned 4 days of Westports of the World fun. There’s a tour of the town followed by “a cuppa in one of the many cafes,” formal meetings, banquets, a traditional Irish music show, live theater, tours of the area, religious services — and of course a pub crawl.

All Westporters — in the 25-plus Westports, all over the world — are invited.

(“Westports of the World” will be held September 14-17, 2017. For more information, email dlangan@mayococo.ie. To learn more about Westport, County Mayo, Ireland, click here.) 

A scene from Westport, County Cork. In Westport, Connecticut this would be a Teardown of the Day.

A scene from Westport, County Mayo. In Westport, Connecticut this would be a Teardown of the Day.

Living In A Westport Down Under

The “06880” tagline is “Where Westport Meets the World.”

You can’t get much further from Westport in this world than New Zealand.

But wait! What about Westport, New Zealand?

Vin Donnelly

Vin Donnelly counts as a very alert “06880” reader. The other day he was in China — also very far from Westport.

He was on business, missing his Westport greatly. Searching online for something hometown-related, he stumbled on our hometown.

Hey, any port in a storm.

Vin’s Westport is also on the coast, on South Island.

And a river runs through it.

But that’s not where the similarities end. For a while, Vin said, he thought “06880” was a blog about his Westport.

For example, the local paper is called…the Westport News

Recent headlines include:

  • “Fitness centre tops 400 members”
  • “Bakers battle for perfect pie”
  • “10 drink drivers in court” (They ranged in age from 20 to 75. One was “almost three times the legal limit.” Click here for details.)

Downtown Westport. The tall building on the left is the Municipal Chambers. I could not tell whether the stores on the right are chains, or mums-and-pops.

Westport is also — according to a New Zealand website — “home to world-class painters, sculptors, potters, wood carvers and other artists.”

Galleries, studios, workshops and craft co-operatives dot the area. Artists use high-quality, locally sourced tree burls for wood turning.

For all I know, there was even a Fine Arts Festival in the other Westport last weekend. On second thought, I doubt it. It’s mid-winter.

Vin asked me about life in our Westport. He’s never been to the US. The only Americans he knows are those he picks up as they hitchhike around New Zealand.

Another connection! I pick up hitchhikers too. Although the last one was back in the Carter administration.

So, for all those wanting to see more of Westport, New Zealand — whether here in “06880” or, like Vin himself, stuck in China — here are a few more photos.

Westport’s beach. This was taken early in the day, before the New Yorkers arrived.

We have hills. They have cliffs.

Westport, New Zealand has a bit more open space than Westport, Connecticut.