The Helm, Westport
Our next featured business is the Helm, a bar, restaurant and B&B situated on the Quay in Westport, Co. Mayo. Owned and run by Vinny Keogh and his family, the business also runs a charter fishing boat – the White Seahorse, with Clew Bay providing shelter and some of the best sea fishing in Mayo, indeed Ireland!
Having had to close everything during the Covid lockdown, Vinny is back up and running on all fronts now, with all the precautions being taken to protect staff and customers. Since May the boat has been back in the water. Although bookings were confined to locals initially due to travel restrictions, Vinny and new skipper Jim Nolan were delighted to see so many new customers from the local area.
“The boat is doing really well since we restarted trips, especially with short trips. We are amazed that so many local families and groups had never experienced the joys of a few hours on the bay. Due to lockdown and boredom most of them went for first time and the majority have rebooked trips going forward. With limits extended now we have been getting bookings from all over Mayo, and now nationally” says Vinny.
The White Seahorse has had a refit and with a new prop can now travel further and faster on a day trip, allowing access to some of the best sea fishing in Mayo. One recent trip saw Vinny and Jim take a group from Westport and Achill out to the Bills Rocks, where they enjoyed fantastic sport. The group included Denis Gallagher, Padraic Kittrick, Paul Melia, Sean Kernon and Eric Houalet. Photos are courtesy of John O’Connor, a well-known photographer who was also aboard.
Vinny – “Fishing was tremendous with 7 species caught Jim had to keep moving as we were getting caught in shoals of Pollack and Mackerel. and we were looking for species”.