Newport, at the north-east corner of Clew Bay, was established in the early 18th century by the Medlycott family through their lessee, Captain Pratt. Pratt introduced linen manufacturing to the town under the management of immigrant Quakers. James Moore, agent for the Medlycott Estate, formally laid out the Quay at Newport in the late 18th century. The town prospered for many years, but later fell into decline as it was superseded as a port by Westport in the 19th century.

At the end of the 18th century, the Medlycott Estate was taken over by the O'Donel family who built Newport House, overlooking the harbour, which is now a luxury hotel Newport's has many attractive architectural features, including the seven-arched Viaduct, built in 1892 to carry the Westport to Achill railway line. The first part of this line, Westport to Newport was opened in 1894 and the remaining section, Newport to Achill, in the following year.

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