Visting Western Ireland
Westport, County Mayo
Westport, Co. Mayo seems to have picked up a bit on the craft beer movement in Ireland. It's an ideal place for it as it is a great town to visit on holidays so having some good beer on tap only enhances that.
Firstly the Cobbler's Bar in the Wyatt Hotel seems to have embraced the concept. They have the Pale Ale from the new local micro brewery West Mayo Brewery on tap. They also have some bottle selections from Dungarvan Brewing Company, 8 Degree Brewing and O'Hara's. I'm getting the impression that O'Hara's is sort of the Sam Adams of Ireland in terms of availability. It seems to be the one most widely available and in many cases the first foray into craft beer for many pubs. I do like O'Hara's beers in general though.
McGing's pub near the clock tower in Westport had two beers (Red ale and Stout - both very nice) from the West Mayo Brewery on tap. McGing's is also a good place to enjoy a jazz or bluegrass music session.
Grainne Uaile (I.e. Grace O'Malley) in Newport (about 10km north of Westport) has West Mayo beers on tap and good food.
Matt Molloys also has West Mayo Pale ale and also the next door pub called the Porterhouse (no relation to the Dublin Porterhouse sadly but it's a nice thought).
I also talked with the bartender at Cobblers and he says a nano brewery has just opened or is about to open in the town of Westport itself so that could be another bonus.
Clifden and Connemara (County Galway)
There's a brewery called Independent Brewing in Carraroe you can get their beer in bottles at a couple of places in Clifden like Mannion's and Lowry's. Actually Mannion is starting to boast of a small craft beer list. There were several different bottles in their fridge (like 8 degree, Independent ale, and Galway Hooker).
Otherwise the countrysides of Co. Mayo and Connemara (Co. Galway) are pretty much same as usual but at least there is a trickle starting to happen and one can visit a place like Westport and Clifden and get some decent beer. Good news for those of us that love these parts of Ireland (like me).
In County Clare of course there is the Burren Brewery/Roadside Tavern in Lisdoonvarna that is worth a visit but also about 8km from Lisdoonvarna in the village of Doolin there is the Doolin Hotel with Fitzpatrick's Bar and this has a nice Irish craft beer selection and I understand they do a mini-beer festival once a year as well.