Achill Island Oiléan Acaill
Achill Island lies off the republic's western coast, separated from the mainland by the narrow Achill Sound (spanned by a swing bridge). With an area of 55 sq. mi/142 sq. km, it is the largest of Ireland's offshore islands. Hilly and L-shaped, Achill is almost entirely covered by heath and bog, with cultivated land only in valleys and near the coast. The hills on the north and west coasts rise to 2,200ft/671m, dropping down to the sea in magnificent cliffs.
Near a swing bridge from the mainland is Achill Sound, the island's market town. It offers facilities for bathing and deep-sea angling; motorboats and sailing craft can be hired.
Near the south end of Anchill Island - which is circled by "Atlantic Drive" - the ruins of Carrickkildavnet Castle, (a 15th C. National Monument) stand on the shores of Achill Sound. Part of a vaulted stone roof and the remains of an old slipway for boats can still be seen. The castle belonged to the legendary Grace O'Malley, who ruled extensive territories in this area in the 16th C.
About 7mi/4km northwest of Achill Sound, on the north coast of Anchill Island, is Dugort, which has a good sandy beach. In the surrounding area there are many remains of cairns and chamber tombs.
It is worth climbing Slievemore (2,169ft/661mi), a cone of quartzite and mica, for its extensive views to the north and south.
Below the Slievemore hill, accessible only from the sea and in good weather, are the Seal Caves; the best way to see them is to take a boat, with an experienced boatman, from Dugort (2mi/3km).
4mi/6km southwest of Dugort lies Keel, an attractive holiday resort with a sheltered sandy beach 2mi/3km long extending southeast to the foot of Minaun Cliffs, which fall sheer 800ft/240m to the sea at one point. Keel is the center of the island's fish-processing industry.There is fishing for brown trout in Keel Lough.
3mi/5km west of Keel is Dooagh, the prettiest place on Achill Island, with white houses and white roofs.
From Keem on Anchill Island there is a rewarding climb up to Croaghaun (2,068ft/630mile), to the west. It ends, on the seaward side, in a 4mi/6km-long line of cliffs, and a magnificent view over the Atlantic.It is unsafe to go too near the edge of the cliffs, which are much undercut by the sea.
5mi/8km west of Achill Sound lies the pretty little resort of Dooega, a convenient point from which to climb Minaun Mountain (1,530ft/466m) and Minaun Cliffs.
More Achill Island Pictures