Located just off the coast of County Mayo, Achill is a ruggedly beautiful island and the largest of the Irish isles. It is surrounded by soaring sea cliffs and pristine beaches that have inspired countless writers. Achill Island is connected to the mainland via the Michael Davitt Bridge, named after the 19th-century republican activist.
Things to do in Achill Island
Achill Island’s main settlement is the village of Keel, which overlooks a stunning stretch of beach. It’s a popular destination for surfing and is backed by the nine-hole links course of the Achill Island Golf Club. Kids can enjoy a round at the family-friendly Achill Island Crazy Golf or get up close to local marine life at the Achill Experience Aquarium.
In the far west of Achill are the Cliffs of Croaghaun, which are the highest sea cliffs in Ireland. A hiking trail leads from the village of Keem to the summit of Croaghaun or you can observe its sheer rock faces from the water. The cliffs are home to a family of peregrine falcons while bottlenose dolphins and whales are regularly spotted along the coastline.
Achill Island is connected to Westport by the Great Western Greenway, which follows a 19th-century extension of the Westport railway line. It’s accessible to both cyclists and walkers and offers sweeping views across Clew Bay. The route takes in the riverside town of Newport and the Blue Flag beaches of Mulranny.
Getting around Achill Island
Achill Island is around two hours’ drive from Galway and 1.5 hours from Ireland West Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Regular buses travel to Achill and connect the island’s villages. Renting a car gives you greater freedom to explore the island and many of its landmarks are accessible on foot.