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The Amazing Achill Island

Updated on February 16, 2012

A Great Place to Visit

Achill Island is situated off the west coast of Ireland, just nestling off County Mayo. I grew up there, every day I have witnessed sights and views that have blown my mind, views that have stirred the creative energy in me, and made me appreciate the finer things in life as I have gotten older. Here is a list of places on Achill with amazing scenary and a description on why each of them are so awe-inspiring and jaw dropping.

Keem Bay

Keem Bay is situated right on the very west end of the Island. You need to take a mountain road over Croughain mountain to get to it. It is shaped like a horseshoe and has a quaint tropical look to it. Its a place I have adored all of my life, I've spend many a happy day walking (and drinking) down there. Most famous for the basking sharks that swam in from mexico every summer, you are likely to see the odd porpoise dolphin swimming around down there too. a great place to chill out in the summer time and and take in the breathtaking views that go with it.

The Minaun Cliffs

The Minaun cliffs tower over the west side of the island like a protective mother and it has been the inspiration of painters and poets for hundreds of years. Standing at 245 metres high, they are a dazzling sight and can be seen all along the west side, but are still dwarved by two old warriors standing north and west of her, Slievemore Mountain and Croaghaun Mountain. The sheer size of them can be misleading, it's only when you get close to them that you realise how enormous they are. They prove the backbone for one unforgettable memory for me, when I took a stoll along Keel Beach with a friend of mine. When we got to the foot of the cliffs, she took a drink from the spring that comes leaking from the rocks and I made the mistake of looking up, with the dusk descending and the wind howling, a feeling gripped me of being overpowered by pure natural power and the elements, a feeling that will stay with me always.. For anyone who is a thrill seeker, you can jump off the top with your handglider and feel like an eagle.

Slievemore Mountain

The Grandaddy of them all, standing at 671 metres high it is by no means one of the tallest mountains on the planet, but it is certainly one of the most breathtaking sights when driving onto the island. It can be seen from all four corners, and has been the pinnacle of the island for generations of people, protecting a graveyard and housing many locals in the 19th century in what is now known as the deserted village. an old village steeped in history and tales, ruins of old stoned thatched cottages dot along the base of the mountain. Below it lies keel lake. To walk along the road in front of the lake, and listen to the swans sing at night time as you gaze at the silhouette of the mountain under a full moon... is quite majestical.

Kildavnet Castle

Kildavnet castle has been standing on Achill's North East side for hundreds of years, built by the O' Malley clan in the 14th century, it was home to Ireland's most notorious outlaw, The Pirate queen Grainne Uaile, otherwise known as Grace O' Malley, a native of Clare Island that sits south of Achill. The Castle is run down, in a shambolic condition, when you enter you can only stand at the bottom and look up. It was the watchtower and living quarters of Grainne Uaile in the 16th century, and she had many of them dotted around Clew Bay and the west coast of Ireland, for she had many treasures, and was always under threat from the british navy and pirate enemies. It is a castle that is majestic and sparks images of Grainne Uailes boat, sailing through the foggy mist towards the shore.

Achill Henge

The most recent addition to Achill is 'Achill-Henge', a large monument that is similar to 'Stonehenge' in England, A monument that stands 15 feet high and is 30 metres wide, It was built by a local property developer in November 2011 under a weekend, with a team of trucks and builders, under the cover of darkness, in protest against the banking system and the state of the current economic crisis happening in Ireland. It is a site the Islanders want kept intact, despite furious attempts by the Mayo County Council who are trying everything in their power to tear it down...Despite the debates that are for and against the monument, it has become Achill's latest tourist attraction, with a look to it that inspires awe and inspiration upon witnessing it. Below the article is a link to a B.B.C. News report that has covered the story, kindly brought to my attention by fellow Hubber Der Meister. Regardless of an individuals views on whether it should stay or go it is a site to behold. From an artistic view it is powerful and imaginative, from a political view it is bold and rebellious.


There are plenty of activities to do on the island, they include the following:

  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Hand Gliding
  • Surfing
  • Mountaineering
  • Scuba Diving
  • Fishing
  • Windsurfing
  • Kite Surfing

For people with the creative/artistic streak, bring and easel and paint and recreate the views you see before you and for the poetic minded, take a long walk along the hills and be inspired by it's nature and natural surroundings. It's a wonderful Island with many hidden qualities, but be sure not to go in the wintertime, for you'll be swept away by storms and torrential weather, it is a west of Ireland Island with a rugged shoreline after all.


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