The towns of Newport and Westport are built at the inner ends of two of those inlets, and are provided with quays, to which vessels of ten feet draught may approach at high water. The islands and channels on the Westport side of the bay are protected by a very singular natural breakwater of shingle and boulder stones, which stretches from the entrance of Westport harbour to the southern shore under Croagh Patrick. There are in this line of beach six navigable openings, the most important of which, leading to Westport, is marked by a small lighthouse built by the Marquess of Sligo.

Clew bay possesses many picturesque and attractive features. Among the most striking are the lofty conical peak of Croagh Patrick, the lofty mountains of Erriv and Benabola on the south; those of Nephin and Cartinarry, together with the hills of Achill, on the north: on the east are the flourishing ports above named, with the fine domain of the Marquess of Sligo; and in the west Clare island, rising majestically to check the fury of the Atlantic. The southern horn of this bay is called Bui Naha, or the Yellow head, whence the shore is wild and uninteresting, until it reaches Killery bay. This bay, which separates the counties of Mayo and Galway, penetrates eleven miles into the interior between steep and lofty mountains, and is uniformly about half a mile in breadth, being throughout an excellent harbour for large ships, though occasionally subject to squalls from the hills.

Off the coast are numerous islands, the most remarkable of which, exclusively of those in Clew bay, are Achill and Achill-beg, Clare, Caher, Innisbofin, Innis-hark, Innisturk, Darilan or O'Darilan, Ox, Inniskeamore, Inniskeabeg, Cahir, Innisdallow, Ballybeg, Innisgort, Innisbeg, Innistegil, Annagh, Barnach, Inniskeragh, Eagle island, and Innisglore. Many of them are large and thickly inhabited. Eagle Island, situated off the Mullet, and about one league south-west from Erris, or Urres Hea, has two lofty lighthouses, erected in 1836.

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