Achill Island Travel Guide

  • Scenic views from Keel
    Scenic views from Keel
    by edwis
  • main car park in center Keel
    main car park in center Keel
    by edwis
  • wide sandy beach at Keel village
    wide sandy beach at Keel village
    by edwis

Achill Island Things to Do

  • Achill Island

    Achill Island is also the place where part of Heinrich Boell's novel "Irisches Tagebuch" (Irish Journal) is set. This is the deserted village he describes in his book. It lies near Dugort at the foot of Slievemore. You will come across many houses in ruins all over Ireland, but this a whole village with about 80 houses. I found it fascinating to...

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  • Baile na hAilte: hard to pronounce, easy...

    The village of Baile na hAilte has been virtually untouched since it was inhabited. Baile na hAilte sits on the top of a hill overlooking the waters of Achill Sound, and tells a lot about life in the 19th century - from the patterns in the landscape left by old farming techniques to the relationships between landlords and tenants that are told by...

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  • Sheep and Wellies: Irish Archaeology

    The Deserted Village atop Slievemore Mountain is one of Ireland's most famous archaeological sites. It's a bit of a hike over some uneven ground (including a small creek), but it’s worth it. The village emptied rather quickly during the famine, and the cottages that are left are an eerie reminder of the life that was once there. There are about...

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  • Surf's Up: Keem Beach

    When you think of Ireland, you might not think of sandy beaches. Well, meet Keem Beach. It's the most Western point of the Achill Island, the largest island off the coast of Ireland (that's not saying much). In the 1830's and 40's, the Achill Mission called Keem Beach its home. A Protestant mission, it was unique because it was the first mission to...

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  • Watch A Sunset over Keel Lough

    Apart from Minaun Heights and the Northern Coastline, Keel Lough is probably the best spot for watching the sun set. In addition to its scenic value, Keel Lough provides some good fishing. It's not very deep which makes it also a good place for learning wind surfing and kayaking. There are several places renting out the relevant equipment and...

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  • Kildavnet Graveyard

    Kildavnet Graveyard is an atmospheric spot on the Atlantic drive close to Kildavnet Tower. The cemetery has been used since mediaeval times, and given the appropriate light conditions, there definitely is something transcendental about the place.

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  • Keem Bay, Different Perspective

    Given the terrific beauty of this place, I hope you'll forgive me for repeating myself on recommending Keem Strand. This picture emphasizes the cove-like nature of Keem Bay. And the sheep and the bleak boggy slope should provide some evidence it's Ireland and not the Carribean! :-)

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  • Keem Bay and Beach

    Pictures and words can only render an approximation -- this place has to be seen to believed. Simply stunning. That lunatic swimming in the 14 °C cold water is my dad BTW!

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  • Trawmore Beach

    Trawmore is one of Achill's five Blue Flag beaches and also the Island's largest one (Trà Mhor -- Irish Gaelic for "big strand"). Its southerly direction and shallow turqoise waters should increase your chances on bearable water temperatures, but except for very rare long lasting high pressure weather conditions, the water will hardly top the 16 °C...

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  • Keel Village

    In spite of the ongoing, not always sensitive development, Keel still offers some atmospheric corners, especially its lower part between the main road and the beach. With the sun shining on the white cottages, it's possible to enjoy some almost Mediterranean impressions!

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  • Take the Atlantic Drive

    The Atlantic Drive is a signposted route leading you to Achill's best coastal scenery and many interesting places along the way.The picture takes in the scenery across Clew Bay with Clare Island and the Mweelrea and Connemara Mountains in the background.

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  • Drive up Minaun Heights

    When the weather is fine, this is a drive not to be missed. The road starts in Cashel and after having passed some peat bog badlands, you must make a right hand turn up the hill (otherwise you'll end up in Dooega -- not a bad place to visit either :-) It is steep but good and with sufficient passing places.There are excellent views in every...

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  • Kildavnet Castle

    Kildavnet Castle is probably a watchtower dwelling guarding the waters of Achill Sound. It is attributed to the 16th century pirate queen Grace O'Malley (Granuaile) who had her operational base on nearby Clare Island. The whole stretch of road from Achill Sound to Kildavnet is very scenic indeed! There's not just this tower but also Kildavnet Pier...

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  • Watch Out for Magical Things to Happen!

    I have never seen a rainbow like this one which appeared one evening above Trawmore Bay. It seems to have been caused by a low isolated shower cloud being lit by the setting sun. The second rainbow to the right seems to be a reflection.

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  • Deserted Village

    Achill Island is also the place where part of Heinrich Boell's novel "Irisches Tagebuch" (Irish Journal) is set. This is the deserted village he describes in his book. It lies near Dugort at the foot of Slievemore. You will come across many houses in ruins all over Ireland, but this a whole village with about 80 houses. I found it fascinating to...

    more

Achill Island Restaurants

  • RhineRoll's Profile Photo

    by RhineRoll Written Jul 15, 2004

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    It may seem strange to have a chinese place at the very western corner of Europe, but dining there proved to be surprisingly good. Whenever I order a chicken dish at a chinese restaurant here in Bonn, I get chewing gum- like meat. At the Graceland, it was fresh, tasty and crisp. Vegetables also on the crispy side.

    Very moderately priced.

    If you are tired of fish and chips, head for this place!

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel

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Achill Island Nightlife

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    by sarahjayn Updated Mar 6, 2005

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    The Achill Head Hotel is the fanciest, nicest inn / restaurant / bar on the island. In fact, it was one of the nicest I saw in Ireland. However, not unlike your aunt who married well and now has a New England accent that no one quite understands because she comes from Zephyrhills, Florida, the Achill Head has some low-brow secrets of its own: the Friday and Saturday Night Disco. The rarely-used back room of the bar becomes host to a D.J., some overworked speakers, and girls in really, really tarty clothing. Oh, and don't forget the American and Japanese archaeological students that will be there in their sweats and Wellies, or the weathered locals who are trying really hard to appeal to the tarts - they'll be there, too. It's free to get in because the owners assume you'll drink your weight in Smithwick's. It's not bad for one evening, and it's sort of a tradition so you have to do it before you leave the island, but I wouldn't make a habit of it . . . the Irish Football Song is really hard to get out of your head. All in all, it is the ONLY public place to dance in a crowd of drunks on the island. Though, you could probably have just as much fun playing Kylie Monogue records really loud in your bedroom with a few of your bestest, drunkest friends.

    Dress Code: Girls: If you are from the island, it is required that you wear so much eye makeup that the next day in church you look like a raccoon. If you are from off the island, you can wear whatever you like.
    Boys: If you are a soccer hooligan, please dress the part so that everyone will know. Other than that, a clean shirt seemed to give some guys an edge with the ladies.

    magical, isn't it?

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Achill Island Shopping

  • Groceries on Achill Island

    There are 3 supermarkets on Achill Island. The largest one is probably Sweeny's Supervalu in Achill Sound (Half the Island seems to belong to the Sweeney and Lavelle families :-). There also is another supermarket in Achill Sound. The island's 3rd supermarket is located in Keel. It's slightly smaller and more expensive than the Achill Sound...

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  • Craft Shop and Tea Room

    The Beehive is a well-stocked craft shop and cafe. It makes a nice place to have lunch or beat the clock when it's raining outside. Don't buy a CD there, though, the selection is limited and the prices are ridiculous!Despite the loose gravel and the steep ramp, wheelchair access inside is very good. Local maps and guides, greeting cards, gifts,...

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  • Achill Island Hotels

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Achill Island What to Pack

  • sarahjayn's Profile Photo

    by sarahjayn Updated Mar 6, 2005

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    Luggage and bags: Everything you bring with you will need to be waterproof. I'm not kidding. It rains constantly here.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Think of bringing ultra-stylish plastic pants if you want to go hiking and not catch pneumonia. Also, you'll need a good pair of Wellies. I recommend the kind you can fit over your shoes. Also, really big, fluffy socks. Good God, I would have killed for big, fluffy socks. A lot of people I know wore long underwear, but I think that's just too dorky.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Spray on camp-dry and chapstick will keep you pretty in style here. Also, it’s windy here, so bring on the hair ties, girlies!

    Photo Equipment: My camera lens kept fogging up, so lens cleaner and a brush are pretty necessary.

    Wellington Boots - lovingly called,

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Achill Island Off The Beaten Path

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    by Krumel Written Oct 21, 2002

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    If you are interested in all sorts of old stones (like me) you can also visit some megalithic sites. This is a dolmen that was indicated on the map that we had at the time, but I cannot for the life of me remember where it was on the island or what it was called. What I remember is that we had to park the car by the road and scramble up a steep hill on an overgrown path the start of which was difficult to find (as also overgrown).

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Achill Island Favorites

  • Driving

    Driving in the mountains through thick, soup-like fog towards the Western end of Achill Island when all of a sudden we came out of the clouds and this beach appeared below us. It was just beautiful, and the mist gave a very special feel to the place. The road actually ends here at Keem Bay, and we walked around on the beach for a while before...

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  • Wheelchair Access on Achill Island

    It should not come as a suprise that disabled access on Achill Island is rather basic and limited. **Accessible Acommodation**We stayed in a modern and very accessible 3-bedroom cottage in Keel which is managed by Glendarrary Cottages www.achillcottages.comThe Achill Cliff House Hotel in Keel has one specially adapted room. There should be more...

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  • Keem Bay

    Driving in the mountains through thick, soup-like fog towards the Western end of Achill Island when all of a sudden we came out of the clouds and this beach appeared below us. It was just beautiful, and the mist gave a very special feel to the place. The road actually ends here at Keem Bay, and we walked around on the beach for a while before...

    more

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