Land and Sea
Achill’s topography makes it an ideal location for outdoor activities like cycling, walking, golfing, horse riding and hiking, and the surrounding Atlantic Ocean is an exciting place to enjoy sea swimming, scuba diving, snorkelling, surfing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, kite surfing, sea and shore angling, and just about any other water activity you can think of.
Achill is ideal for self-guided cycling, with quiet roads and by-ways, and there are also three signposted routes of varying lengths that make up the Achill Cycle Hub. Achill Bikes will give you guidance on the best routes for your experience and fitness level, and plenty of advice on the best things to see on Achill Island during the cycle.
There are waymarked ways for walkers: Dooagh Looped Walk, Dooagh to Deserted Village Walk, Bóthar H, and Slí Gráinne Mhaol. There are also plenty of popular self-guided unmarked hill walks that are easy to find and follow. Experienced guides are available to help you get the most from your trek.
Achill has a long history of habitation, going back over 5,000 years, and there are many archaeological sites to visit, including a Megalithic Tomb, Crannóg, and Bronze Age settlements. Evocative historical sites include the Deserted Village of Slievemore, the Achill Mission Settlement and Grace O’Malley the Pirate Queen’s Castle.
Experience one of Achill’s festivals
Film Set Locations
Hollywood came to Achill in 2021, when two feature films were made in locations around the island. Martin McDonagh’s Banshees of Inisherin with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson very successfully framed the island as one of the main characters of its story. You can visit film locations in Cloughmore, Purteen Harbour, Keem Bay, Corrymore Lake and Dugort, but the sets were struck as soon as filming finished, so you’ll have to rely on photos or your memory of the film to imagine Devine’s Pub or the harbour village shop and Post Office. The second film made on Achill and the Currane Peninsula was My Sailor My Love, by Finnish director Klaus Härö. Achill Bikes’ Michael Lavelle appears in the list of musicians in the film’s credits, as he and Cian McNamara, his musical sidekick in the Achill Lads, played tunes with Finbar Furey in a wedding scene in the Wavecrest Hotel.
Arts and Culture
Over the centuries Achill has inspired, and continues to inspire, famous artists and writers. Paul Henry, Heinrich Boll, Robert Henri, Graham Greene, Derek Hill, and Charles Lamb all produced masterpieces while living on Achill. Artists living here, like Camille Souter and Ronan Halpin, continue the tradition of interpreting Achill’s presence.
Achill’s pristine environment is a haven for a huge range of wildlife, marine life, flora and fauna. Some of the most interesting are the Basking Sharks that visit Keem Bay and Dooagh Bay during their annual migration north from April to June. Large pods of dolphins are at home in the waters around the island, while Orca and other whales can be found a bit further off the coast. You have every chance of seeing one of Achill’s 40 permanent resident birds, rare migrating birds, seals, otters, foxes, the Irish hare, stoat, badger and Ireland’s only lizard. In May and June, the rhododendron and wild orchids bloom along the roadsides before ‘Wild Rhubarb’, an invasive species unrelated to rhubarb, Gunnera, grows to a monstrous size looking like something from a science fiction film.
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