Ireland Guide

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Achill Keel, Co. Mayo

 Achill Island (Irish: Acaill, Oileán Acla) in County Mayo is the largest island of Ireland. It has a population of 2,700. Its area is 57 square miles (147.6 km²). Achill is attached to the mainland by Michael Davitt Bridge, between the villages of Achill Sound and Polranny, so it is possible to drive onto the island. This is a causeway and swing bridge which allows the passage of small boats.

It is a place of great beauty, with mountains, lakes, valleys, magnificent sea-cliffs, wild moors and spectacular scenery. It has a number of small attractive villages, several unpolluted sandy beaches ideal for bathing, excellent deep sea, shore and lake angling and opportunities for all kinds of outdoor activities. Given good weather, Achill can be magical, where visitors can get away from the pressures of the world and unwind. For young people, Achill is a special treat. It is also a Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) area.

What to see in Achill:
  • Cliffs of Croaghaun on the northern coast of the island are the highest sea cliffs in Europe but are inaccessible by road.
  • On the western tip near Achill Head is Keem Bay.
  • Keel Beach is quite popular with tourists and some locals as a surfing location.
  • Moytoge Head, which with its rounded appearance drops dramatically down to the ocean. An old British observation post, built during World War I to prevent the Germans from landing arms for the Irish Republican Army, is still standing on Moytoge.
  • The mountain Slievemore (672 metres) rises dramatically in the centre of the island and the Atlantic drive (along the south/west of the island) has some dramatically beautiful views.
  • The Deserted Village at Slievemore is traditionally thought to be a remnant village from An Gorta Mór (The Great Hunger, see Irish Potato Famine (1845–1849)).
  • A 5000-year old Neolithic tomb.
  • Achillbeg (Acaill Beag, Little Achill) is a small island just off Achill's southern tip. Its inhabitants were resettled on Achill in the 1960s.