A Weekend In AchillCategories Europe, Exploration, Favourite Places, Ireland, Travel, Travel Blog, Travel Guide, Travel Hack, Travel Tips, Travelling, Uncategorized, Wanderlust, Wild Atlantic Way0 Comments
If you have never been to Achill Island you are well and truly missing out on what I would consider to be one of the best spots in all of Ireland. Located in County Mayo, you can access Achill Island easily by a road bridge where you can cross and be transported to another world! Even though the Island is connected to the mainland by road, you can expect the exact same vibe here as any other island off Ireland with it’s gorgeous beaches, remote feel, laid back atmosphere and friendly locals (and sheep!).
If you know Ireland, you know that the west coast is less than lucky when it comes to the weather but if you can make it to Achill on a sunny day I honestly don’t think anywhere in Ireland can compare.
STAYING ON THE ISLAND:
- HOTELS: There are only four hotels on the whole island to choose from which are: Achill Cliff House Hotel, Óstán Ghob A’Choire, Óstán Oileán Acla and Strand Hotel. Most of these are family run, 3-star hotels.
- GUEST HOUSES: There is a wide range of B&Bs/Guest houses available throughout the whole island that are a closer walking distance to Keel if you to stay somewhere more central to shops, pubs, restaurants and the beach.
- CAMPING: Camping is very popular on Achill with a lot of people opting to wild camp on Keel beach and Keem beach. If you do wild camp, please make sure to leave no trace including cleaning up any campfires, etc that you might set.There is a family & pet friendly caravan park right beside Keel beach called Keel Camping (formally Keel Sandybanks Caravan and Camping Park). You can opt to wild camp near here also as there are public bathrooms available 24/7 beside Keel Camping.There is also a second caravan park in Dugort called Achill Seal Caves if you would rather stay further away from the hustle and bustle of Keel.
Being an island, it’s no surprise that Achill has five stunning blue flag beaches that you can visit – one having been voted one of the top beaches in the world!
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- Keel: Keel beach is what I would consider to be the main beach on the island. Located in Keel, this beach is the closest to majority of the amenities on the island such as shops, pubs, restaurants and a lot of the B&B’s are within walking distance also. This beach is quite long so even on a busy day you will be able to find plenty of space for yourself.
- Keem: Voted one of the best beaches in the world, Keem Beach will honestly take your breath away. Nestled in a cove with the towering Croaghaun cliffs on the right, this beach seems to magically appear as your drive on the road towards it. If sharks are your thing, you might even spot some Basking Sharks in the waters around Keem Bay!
- Silver Strand (Dugort): On the north of Achill located in the village of Dugort you will find Silver Strand beach. Facing Blacksod Bay and the Belmullet Peninsula, and located in the shadows of Slievemore mountain this beach is a stunning choice if you want to go somewhere a little more quiet than Keel or Keem beaches.
- Golden Strand (Dugort): Also facing Blacksod Bay and the Belmullet Peninsula in the town of Dugort is Golden Strand beach.
- Dooega: Found in the small fishing village of Dooega is Dooega beach, found on the other side of Minaun hill. This beach is another great choice if you are looking for somewhere a bit more quiet than Keel or Keem while still enjoying a blue flag beach.
THINGS TO DO:
- Hike up the Croaghaun Cliffs – these cliffs are the highest in Ireland, and third highest sea cliffs in all of Europe! The hike can be found on AllTrails here and is an 8km out and back trail with over 800m of elevation giving you views of the wild Atlantic Ocean and Keem Bay. Take caution when hiking and don’t attempt this hike in bad weather.
- Visit the Deserted Village – Located in Slievemore, The Deserted Village consists of between 80 – 100 stone cottages located along the slopes of Slievemore mountain. If you are a history buff you will LOVE this place as it is rich in archaeological artefacts from the Neolithic period & Mediaval times.
- Water Sports – Take advantage of the beautiful crystal clear waters of Achill with some water sports! There are a few different companies to choose from:
– Achill Surf & Adventure Centre: These guys offer EVERY activity imaginable! Whether you are looking to go surfing, kayaking or coasteering they have you covered [and they do so much more than just those!]. You can check them out here.
– Black field Watersports: For surf lessons and stand up paddle boarding you can get in touch with Black Field Watersports, located on Keel Beach. You can check them out here.
– Pure Magic: Pure Magic are the guys to go to in Achill for Kitesurfing & windsurfing and they also offer SUP-ing. They aren’t just your ordinary water sports company, offering both a restaurant and a lodge that you can stay at in Achill! You can check them out here.
- Rent a bike and cycle around the Island: One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the beauty of Achill is to grab a bike and cycle around it. There are three loops that you can do [from 16km to 48km]. You can find the interactive maps to the routes, along with booking information For Achill Bike Rentals here.
These are just some of the most popular things that you can do while visiting Achill, but there are a host of other activities that you can get up to that you can find on the Achill Tourism website here!
Achill honestly stole my heart when I first visited, and I don’t think any amount of visits will ever make me tire of the view and over all atmosphere that this island offers. It is a slice of heaven on Ireland and if you are lucky enough to experience Achill on a sunny day there really is nowhere better in the world to be than there!
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about Achill, or if you have ever been and how you found it!