Thinks to do Achill Island

About Achill Island

Achill Island is the largest island off the coast of Ireland. It is situated on the Atlantic Ocean and is connected to the mainland by a bridge at Achill Sound. Achill Island covers an area of about 148 square kilometres and has a rugged and diverse landscape. It is known for its stunning and natural beauty, with towering cliffs, sandy beaches, and picturesque mountains. The island is home to several mountains the highest of which is Croaghaun, standing at 688 metres and offering breathtaking views.

Achill Island has a population of approximately 2,700 people making it one of the most populated islands in Ireland. The population fluctuates throughout the year, with an increase during the summer months due to tourism. The island is a popular tourist destination attracting visitors form Ireland and abroad. It offers a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, surfing and fishing. The Great Western Greenway, a 42 kilometre cycling and walking trail, starts in Achill and passes through beautiful scenery on its way to Westport. 

Achill is renowned for its captivating beaches, among which Keem Bay stands out as one of Ireland’s most exquisite coastal gems. Nestled between majestic cliffs, Keem Bay beckons with its golden sands and pristine transparent waters. Other remarkable beaches on this island include Keel beach, Dugort Beach and Dooagh beach.

 Fun Facts About Achill Island 

  • The Banshees of Inisherin movie was filmed extensively on location on Achill Island.
  • Keem Bay in Achill has been named ‘Best Wild Swimming Spot in UK & Ireland’
  • Achill is one of the Iris Times ‘Five Best Places to holiday in Ireland’
  • Achill forms part of the 42km Great Western Greenway, the longest off-road walking and cycling trail in Ireland
  • The sea Cliffs in Achill are the highest in Ireland and provide an epic backdrop to your holiday. 

Top 5 things to do on Achill Island this Summer:

1. Beach Hopping 

Mayo is home to nine Blue Flag Beaches and five of these are located on the Island. Keem Beach, Keel Beach Dugort Beach, Golden Strand and Dooega Beach. 

Among these breathtaking shores, Keem beach stands out as an idyllic and secluded paradise. Often regarded as one of the most visited destinations on Achill Island. Keem Beach is nestled amidst the picturesque folds of the Croaghaun mountain. The road leading to Keem Beach offers a scenic and visually captivating journey for visitors. 

2. Soak Up the Views from Minaun Heights

For some of the best views of the island and surroundings, a visit to Minaun Heights is a must. Standing tall at 466 metres, the Minaun Cliffs offer mesmerising views that encompass Keel Strand below the cliffs and extend all the way to Clare Island in the distance. To reach the summit, you have the option to embark on a hiking adventure or take a road that leads directly to the top of the cliffs. While the road provides convenient access, it’s worth noting that it can be steep and narrow in certain sections. It’s advisable to drive cautiously, as you may encounter other vehicles and perhaps even some sheep along the way!

3. Conquer Croaghaun

The Croaghaun Cliffs, soaring to an impressive height of 688 metres, hold the distinction of being the tallest cliffs in Ireland and the third highest in Europe. Surprisingly, they stand three times taller than the renowned Cliffs of Moher. However, unlike the vertical drop of the Cliffs of Moher, the Croaghaun Cliffs present a different spectacle, making it slightly challenging to fully grasp their immense scale. If you want to see these incredible cliffs up close, put on your hiking boots and set off on a trek. It might be challenging, but the views you will encounter will make every bit of effort totally worth it.

4. Visit Film Locations from the Banshees of Inisherin

Keem Beach served as the backdrop for the beach scenes and Colm Doherty’s house, while Corrymore Lake provided the setting for Mrs. Mc Cormick’s cottage. Some locations required Hollywood magic to transform them on screen. While the real Purteen Harbour may only bear a slight resemblance to its film counterpart, it is still a fascinating place to explore.

5. Cycle The Great Western Greenway

For Cycling enthusiasts seeking an exhilarating adventure, The Great Western Greenway presents an enticing challenge. As Ireland’s original greenway, this 42 kilometre route connects Achill Sound and Westport, offering a thrilling holiday experience. 

Following the path of an old railway line that ceased operation in 1937, this multi-award-winning cycling and walking trail leads you through diverse landscapes. Traverse woodlands, bogs, and farmland, while being treated to breathtaking vistas of Clew Bay, Croagh Patrick and The Nephin Beg Mountains. Don’t Worry if you’re not up for the entire route in one go. The greenway provides multiple entry and exit points, allowing you to chase a smaller section that suits your preferences.