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The Beaches of Ireland: Achill Island

The Beaches of Ireland: Achill Island

Andrew Domerese |

If you love the great outdoors, you’re sure to fall in love with the beauty of Achill Island. Located in County Mayo, Achill Island is Ireland’s largest island, and it’s right in the middle of the Wild Atlantic Way, Western Ireland’s coastal tourist destination route. Here’s a quick roundup of places to stay, restaurants to try, and activities to enjoy! >>

Where to Stay

Mulranny Park Hotel is located right on the Great Western Greenway (see “What to Do” below for more info) and is touted as the only hotel located directly on the Wild Atlantic Way. The luxury resort features everything you need for a relaxing vacation, from a steam room to a pool, all over looking the beauty of Clew Bay. It’s suitable for both families and romantic getaways.

Once a coastguard station, the Bervie has been a hotel with a resident chef since 1932. With a storied history, it’s a place visitors to Achill have been returning to for years. Located in Keel village, you’ll enjoy views of the towering Cathedral Cliffs of Minaun as well as Clew Bay. You will be steps from sand at this location as well.

What to Do

If you’re feeling active, bike or walk the Great Western Greenway (pictured above). According to their site, this is the longest off-road walking and cycling trail in Ireland. There are multiple routes and trailheads, many of which are suitable for all ages, giving you the option to customize your trip to one of the three other destination points along the greenway.

On summer weekends from July to September, the Achill Yawl Festival takes place at various points around the island. A yawl is a single mast wooden sailboat. These beauties can be seen sailing around the edge of the island when the tides allow.

Festivals also abound on Achill Island. No matter what time of year you visit, you’re sure to find an event that’s just your speed. Visit the Achill Island site to learn more about year-round happenings.

Where to Eat

Start your day at The Beehive. Touted as a coffee and craft shop, you can get your caffeine and shopping fix in one location. Don’t miss their homemade dessert selection, a favorite of their customers!

No trip to Achill would be complete without a visit to a local pub. Try Amethyst Bar in Keel. It’s touted as a traditional Irish pub that features local fresh sea fare, including everything from cod, salmon, and prawns to fried chicken and delectable desserts. It’s a great family option for lunch or dinner.

The Valley House is another favorite. It is located in a historic home that is also a hostel. You’ll find seafood chowder, mussels and clams, and duck on their menu along with bar food staples, including burgers and fried cod.