Achill Island island, at 20km by 19km, is Ireland’s largest island, with a population of 2,600 and boasting the highest sea cliffs in Ireland - a vertigo-inducing 688m tall.
Despite a causeway linking Achill to the mainland, it retains its far-flung feel: with soaring cliffs, rocky headlands, sheltered sandy beaches, broad expanses of blanket bog and rolling mountains.
It’s seen at its most dramatic in winter, when high winds and lashing seas buffet the heather and rhododendrons. Drive out across Achill Sound from the mainland into those wild Atlantic skies pouring colours across the mountains and you know you’ve entered somewhere special. Even the wild sheep blocking the roads seem less menacing.
Keem Bay, a perfect horseshoe bay with a Blue Flag beach at the head of a remote valley, should not to be missed - Until 50 years ago it was the centre for basking shark hunting. The precarious cliff-top road was only built in the 1960s. The route cuts through a seam of amethyst quartz in the cliff, so watch out for precious gems.
Allow yourself the thrill of Ahill’s Atlantic Drive, a 40km route around the shore roads, or better still, the Achill Cycle Hub trails along spectacular sea cliffs, Kildownet Church Castle and fine promontory forts.
A walk around the 80 to 100 stone cottages in the deserted village at Slievemore will linger, even maybe haunt you. This mountain settlement from early medieval times was abandoned only a few decades ago and a visit can be a profound and eerie experience.
The island is serviced by various accommodations options click here for further details.