Achill Island is one of the most mysterious and fascinating destinations in all of Ireland. More than just a place for Ireland surfing vacations, this Atlantic island is known for a breathtaking mountain landscape, beautiful beaches, and as a creative retreat for many writers and artists over the last century. Whether you arrive for Achill Island beaches, water sports, or one of the annual festivals, you will be glad you got off the beaten tourist path to discover one of Ireland’s true gems. Hop in your rental car, and no matter where you are on the entire island, you can arrive in Achill in a matter of hours. The views are some of the best on the emerald isle, come and discover for yourself what the fuss is all about.
Getting to Achill Island is actually very simple. This island in County Mayo is accessible by road and is only a four-hour drive from Dublin. If you don’t want to squeeze in a driving trip during your Irish vacation, book a ticket to fly into Ireland West Airport Knock, which is only about a 75-minute drive from Achill. If you’re using public transportation to each the beauty of Achill Island beaches, you can use the train or buses to reach the towns of Westport or Castlebar, and a daily bus service connects each of these towns to Achill. Achill Island is connected to the mainland by a bridge at Achill Sound. Crossing the bridge, you will enter one of Ireland’s most spectacular landscapes.
In recent years, Achill Island has gained more attention for its fantastic water sports opportunities. One of the most popular Ireland surfing destinations is located on Achill, Keel Strand. If you didn’t bring your board along, don’t worry, there are plenty of surf boards to rent. This roughly 1.5-mile beach is also very popular with windsurfers. If you’ve always wanted to try kitesurfing, Achill Island beaches are a great place for your first lesson. Some visitors prefer on land activities including hillwalking, hiking, and horseback riding. Fishing and scuba diving are available as well. If you’re looking for a place to have an active vacation in Ireland, look no further than Achill Island.
Achill is also full of attractions that are worth a visit. Beyond the five Blue Flag beaches, which are some of the finest in Ireland, many travelers come to Achill for the Atlantic Drive, 25 miles of coastal scenery including the sixteenth-century Tower at Kildavnet. If you’re looking for history, don’t miss Slievemore, a deserted stone village. These 80 stone cottages are located at the bottom of Slievemore Mountain and offer an interesting glimpse into life on Achill in previous centuries. Achill is also popular for its restaurants serving fresh salmon, lobster, mussels, and trout.
Whether you arrive looking for Ireland surfing or historical attractions, there is comfortable accommodation to suit your budget. Visitors can choose from family-run hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, and even hostels. Popular choices include the Achill Cliff House Hotel and Achill Head Hotel. Hostels include the Railway Hostel and the Richview Hostel. If you prefer a guesthouse, Achill Lodge and the Bervie Guest House are good options. After exploring Achill, take the time to see other places in the west of Ireland, including Sligo, Galway, and the Aran Islands.