The harsh, mysterious Achill Island with capricious weather (sorry, that’s our climate) has become our goal by accident. The direction of departure dictated by the weather and accommodation prices. After checking virtually every scrap of Ireland in this regard, we decided to go to Achill and then explore County Mayo. This idea was additionally supported by the fact that so far we haven’t had the opportunity to visit any Irish island! (Achill was the first one, but you may read our post from Saltee Islands published earlier)
The weather, unfortunately, wasn’t as beautiful as they announced, but that’s the charm of the Atlantic – the forecast can change every hour. Cloudy skies didn’t bother us, and many places just looked more mysterious, we were glad it wasn’t raining. Achill is the largest Irish island connected to the mainland with a bridge, which is a great advantage and doesn’t complicate the travel. First we had to drive through the Achill Sound peninsula, until we reached the bridge to the Achill Island.
Rural backwater is an appropriate description of how the island looks and feel. However, who wouldn’t want to leave everything and escape to wilderness sometimes? Or as in our case escape to Achill. The population of the Achill Island is staggering 2,700. A small number of people didn’t bother us because it means peace and quiet, but on the other hand a small population means a small number of places where you can stop for dinner.
Below is a short list of cool spots on the island of Achill and Achill Sound.
Mulranny Beach – Achill Sound
It’s located at Achill Sound near the village of the same graceful name. On one hand, there was a long, sandy Mulranny beach in front of us, and on the other, an interesting-looking coastal backwaters. Water breaks into land, forming a landscape that looks like a cracked earth. During our visit in early April, the landscape was orange-brown, but the colors change there with the season.
Dumhach Bheog – Achill Sound
Viewpoint on Achill Sound located by the road. Dumhach viewpoint is slightly elevated, so you can see the Atlantic Ocean and the sharp rocks battered by ocean waves. In the area (and as everywhere else) a mass of sheep grazes, and on the rocks you can often observe different species of birds. We really hoped we could see puffins and rushed through the fields towards the rocks. However when came up with the idea to use the camera zoom to check what birds are there we were bitterly disappointed because it definitely wasn’t puffins.
Keel oraz Keel Beach– Achill Island
A small town located in a bay, a bit livelier than villages we passed earlier. They even have a few pubs open off season! In Keel there is a beautiful, long and wide, sandy beach with a view of the impressive size cliffs. The perfect place for a few hours of rest on a warm summer’s day (in Ireland there are two, maybe three … a year LOL). Great place for surfing, there are several schools nearby. Surfing happens all year round, during our April trip no one was discouraged by the icy water.
Keem beach – Achill Island
A beautiful, sandy beach, located in Keem Bay, surrounded by mountains. This description should slowly visualize how amazing it is. The road leads to the beach and ends there, it descends from the above, so you can admire it from height and distance. For great beach shots you don’t need a drone, and sheep grazing on the side of the road are great models!
Dooagh Beach – Achill Island
Another town and another beach. Located between Keel and Keem, the beach is among the three least impressive and breathtaking, but why not make a beach tour? Dooagh Plaza is also a great place for surfers.
Croaghaun – Achill Island
You thought the highest Irish cliffs are Cliffs of Moher? You will be surprised! The highest cliff of Ireland is Croaghaun but it isn’t straightforward, there is another one in Mayo to be claimed highest as well. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to see it because you cannot reach it directly by car. The cliff can only be reached on foot from the mountains or from the sea. The hike can be started at Keem Beach, and apparently no well-worn route leads to the top – everyone chooses their own path.
Ashleam – Achill Island
The Irish White Cliffs aren’t as impressive as the White Cliffs in Dover, UK, but it’s worth stopping by. It’s beautiful and as usual on the coast a bit windy.
Where to eat? – Achill Island
The Amethyst Bar
The island of Achill doesn’t impress with the number of places where you can eat, and in addition during off-season some pubs are closed. We were unnecessarily afraid that we wouldn’t eat anything good there. We were tempted by a delicious, warming chowder, which is an ideal option for a cold, windy day, especially after physical exertion. In addition, we ordered brilliant Irish fries and garlic bread. We were surprised how much the soup and sides filled us in, and the whole dinner together with beer and wine closed below 30 euros.