Co Mayo, Ireland
Achill Island, Irish: Acaill, Oileán Acla in the County of Mayo is the largest island off the coast of Ireland, situated just off the west coast and has a population of approx. 2,700 and was first settled about 5000 years ago. Of course this population fluctuates wildly with the seasons as it has long been a popular second home holiday destination for many Irish. A small road bridge connects the island to the mainland crossing the Achill Sound.
The remains of what would have been a pretty much traditional cottage, although in times past the roof would have had a straw thatch.
There is scarcely a road on Achill that does not have commanding views and gorgeously rugged landscape.
Close to Dugort, at the base of Slievemore mountain lies the Deserted Village. There are approximately 80 ruined houses in the village. The houses were built of unmortared stone, which means that no cement or mortar was used to hold the stones together. Each house consisted of just one room and this room was used as kitchen, living room, bedroom and even stable. The village was abandoned at the time of the Potato blight in Ireland 1845 when residents either moved closer to the sea in order to live off fish and fishing, or emigrated. The village has been unoccupied since 1845 the ruins standing as a haunting reminder of one of the greatest, and unavoidable tragedies, of Irish history.
The remains of megalithic tombs and monuments suggest settlement by Neolithic man in the 3rd or 4th centuries BC. This pathway leads to the tomb at the base of Slievemore.
And the view from there back down to the sea!
The rugged coastline of Achill Island.
And the fantastically sheltered beach and turquoise waters at Keem
One of the few creatures that can cope and are adapted to the extremes of Achill Island, you will encounter many many sheep as you travel around Achill. Best to drive slowly as you will often find one sitting comfortably in the middle of the road.
Getting There & Away
Achill and Co Mayo can be reached by car from Dublin and takes approximately 4 to 4.5 hours to drive.
Bus Éireann summer service to Achill This service offers day return trips from Ballina, Castlebar and Westport to Achill and operates 5 days per week (Tuesday to Saturday inclusive) until Saturday 30 August. Further info on Bus services by clicking this link
Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Flybe all fly to Knock from the UK. Search Skyscanner for the best deals by clicking this link
About Achill Island
Further general information about Achill Island and events can be found by clicking this link
This link will take you to a site focusing on the history of Achill
Also Worthy of Note
Mayo has been classified as one of the western world’s top star-gazing spots by the International Dark-Sky Association.
More on Dark Sky by clicking this link
I spoke to a Polish woman at Keem beach who told me herself her husband and their beautiful dog head here virtually every spare weekend when the are not working, staying in a tent with a simple fire scarcely any people and on clear nights the blanket of stars above. Her husband was off out in a small rented boat fishing for their supper!! Simple pleasures!