Lying off the beautiful coast of Mayo, Achill is Ireland's largest island. It is joined to the mainland by a road bridge, allowing year-round access. The island is unequalled for variety of scenery, and it's coastline rises to magnificent cliffs 800 feet high or softens to long lovely beaches ideal for bathing. The colourful moors and bogs lie at the feet of mountains over 2000 feet high. Lovely little lakes glisten in the sun-bathed valleys and the cloud effects are fascinating. Sea-angling, bathing, boating, cliff walks, shooting, dancing and ballad sessions help to make the island unique among holiday resorts and a kindly people always make you feel welcome.
At the bridge connecting the island to the mainland is the village of Achill Sound. Here you will find grocery and hardware stores, an ATM, gift shops, a post office, beauty salon and of course, the Achill Sound Hotel.
This pretty village, six miles from Achill Sound, lies in the north east of the island, nestled among four lakes that are all good for trout fishing. To the west are two lovely strands (beaches).
In the middle of the island's morth coast is Dugort, with it's two Blue Flag beaches. Bathing is excellent here and boats can be hired to view the impressive Seal Caves in the cliffs two miles to the north west. From the village there is an easy ascent of Slievemore mountain.
Situated beside Dugort and rising from sea level to 2,204 feet, Slievemore Mountain provides breathtaking views of the island and the mainland. The mountain is surrounded by pre-historic treasures including megalithic tombs, as well as the Deserted Village of Slievemore.
The old signal tower at Saddle on the north west corner of the island begins an awe-inspiring eight mile walk. The cliffs rise to 500 feet, broken here and there by coves. A mile south, the cliffs of Croaghaun rise vertically from the sea and continue to the 800 foot cliffs of Achill Head.
This magical sheltered bay with it's Blue Flag beach is a favourite haunt of the harmless basking shark.
Eleven miles from Achill Sound, this pretty village has a bay famous for salmon netting as well as a Blue Flag beach. Nearby is Bunowla Booley village, once used for summer dairying, while close to the old coastguard station is a cairn used as an altar in Penal days. Corrymore House was once the home of Captain Boycott, whose ostracism during the land agitation of the 1880's gave a new word to the English language.
Nine miles north west of Achill Sound is Keel Village and it's Blue Flag beach, Trawmore Strand, which stretches for two miles and is ideal for watersports, especially surfing. Keel lake is perfect for a little sailing.
At the end of Trawmore Strand the cliffs of Minaun rise magnificently to 800 feet from the Holy Well and at low tide one can see the famous Cathedral Rocks, fretted by the waves into the pillars, arches and porches of a great Gothic Cathedral.
The Atlantic Drive
A most spectacular tour around the southern tip of the island; great scenery and rock formations.
Drive to the top of Minaun mountain at 1,530 feet for more spectacular views of the island and mainland, without getting out of breath! Take care on your way down though: low gear and don't overheat your brakes.
Near the southern tip of the island is the fine castle of Kildavnet, once a stronghold of Gráinne Uaile, the warrior sea-queen of the 16th Century. Nearby in the 12th Century church of Kildavnet.
Achill Beg Island
This island, south of Achill Island, is reached by boat. Half way down the west side stands Kilmore, a circular stone enclosure holding the remains of stone huts, ancient graves and a bullaun. On two small promontories to the west is a trivallate promontory fort and an ancient O'Malley castle.
Outer Clew Bay, and the area between Achill and Clare Island in particular, provide an angler's paradise. Here you will find porbeagle, blue shark, tope, dogfish, skate and ray together with smaller inshore fish such as ling, conger, grey and red gurnard, whiting, cod, bream, pollack, mackerel and others. Some years ago a porbeagle weighing 365lbs was taken by rod and line at Keem Bay, establishing a record for Ireland and Britain. It is known that tuna (tunny) frequent Achill waters.
Lough Acorrymore and Valley Lake hold brown trout, Keel Lake has brown sea trout and Dooega river has white trout. Licences may be obtained from Achill Sporting Club in Keel. The Owenduff river on the Curraun peninsula is excellent for salmon, brown trout and sea trout. The Burrishoole river, flowing into Clew Bay nine miles from Mulranny, drains the Shrahmore river, Lough Feeagh (2.5 miles long) and Lough Furnace (1 mile long). Brown trout, salmon and white trout are plentiful in these waters.
Boating & bathing
There is good bathing along much of Achill's coastline, with excellent beaches at Keel, Dooagh, Keem, Dooega, Dugort and Dooniver. Near Corraun House there is a safe, sandy beach. Boats may be hired at Keel, Cloughmore, Dugort, Bullsmouth and Dooega.