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20th Nov 2017

Achill Bucket List: 7 Things You Have To Do On Ireland’s Biggest Island


When you think of island getaways, we’d bet a pretty penny that Achill isn’t the first place that pops into your head  — but here’s why it should be.

Wave goodbye to the familiar world of the mainland for Ireland’s largest island, which is easily accessible by bridge, and discover what it has to offer.

We’re talking 40km of dramatic coastline, stunning walks, glorious sunsets and so much more…

Keem Bay

Easily one of the most picturesque bays in Ireland, you’ll find Keem on the western end of the island. The area is known for its splendid isolation and was traditionally popular for fishing in currachs, canvas-covered wooden vessels.

Keem Bay

The Achill Experience

If you really want to get to know Achill, this immersive experience will take you through the island’s ancient history and bring you right up to the present day.

You’ll learn about inhabitants dating all the way back 5,000 years ago, discover how the landscape has been transformed by the human community, see first edition prints by the famous artist Robert Henri, and get a closer look at the island’s sea life in Mayo’s first aquarium.

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Hike the Slí Grainne Mhaol

There’s no shortage of walking routes to choose from on the island, but this has to be our favourite.

Along Slí Grainne Mhaol you’ll take in spectacular panoramic views of Clew Bay and Achill Sound as well as spot a few historical spots on the island.

Starting and ending at Patten’s Public House, it’ll take you roughly two and a half hours to complete the 6.7km trail — and it really is worth the effort.

Deserted Village

Temper your sense of natural wonder at the island’s beauty with a feeling of eeriness with a visit to the Deserted Village.

Found at the foot of the Slievemore mountain, these 80 stone cottages were thought to have been inhabited at several stages throughout history, with structures perhaps built on top of previous homes.

But what happened to its last inhabitants? Come visit to ponder that question…

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Kildavnet Tower

No self-respecting history enthusiast can visit Achill and not visit Kildavnet.

Thought to date back to around 1429, the tower may have been built by the ruling O’Malley Clan — but its most famous tenant is undoubtedly the legendary pirate queen Grace O’Malley, also known as Granuaille.

Located in a strategic position overlooking Achill Sound, this was a stronghold for the infamous cutthroat.

Kildavnet Tower

Achill Secret Garden

When you think of the West, you probably think of barren landscapes — but this garden subverts that view.

Made up of eight chambers over three acres, Achill Secret Garden is a sensory cacophony of colours and scents. Once you’ve wandered through the flower-laden grounds, you’ll finish at The Boathouse, where you can treat yourself to tea, coffee and cakes.

Want our advice? Let yourself in on the secret.

McLoughlin’s Of Mulranny

There are a few reasons why this family-run bar has managed to not only stay open since 1870, but also remain one of the most popular pubs on the island.

Priding themselves on their hospitality, all visitors to McLoughlin’s are made welcome upon arrival, where they can enjoy live entertainment often and expect a roaring fire in the winter.

You won’t need to spend long in this public house to discover why it’s a firm favourite among locals.

Mcloughlins Of Mulranny

Smithwick’s 10° West

As you can see, there’s plenty to do and see on a trip to Achill, now all you need is an excuse to go — and that’s where Smithwick’s 10° West comes in.

Ring in the New Year like never before at this intimate and altogether different NYE festival.

Tickets for the Smithwick’s 10° West are on sale HERE.