Achill Island provides an ideal haven for outdoor activity enthusiasts, with activities ranging from sea angling to golf to hill walking and all manner of watersports. Its hilly terrain, including the peaks of Slievemore and Craughan, provides walks and climbs for all abilities. Its five EU Blue Flag beaches allow a range of watersports, from surfing and windsurfing to kayaking and scuba diving. In summer 2000 a new web site was launched by Turasňireacht Acla (Achill Tourism). The site contains extensive details about activities on the island as well as information on events, destinations and accommodation. Click here to visit Achill Tourism.
One of the best ways to see the beauty of Achill Island is by bicycle. There are a number of Atlantic drives to follow, and many outlets across the island offer bike hire. Alternatively, you can arrange a specialist cycling holiday - the Mayo Leisure Cycling web site provides information about cycling in Co Mayo, while Irish Cycling Safaris organise specialist cycling holidays in Co Mayo and other parts of Ireland.
Achill Golf Club maintains a popular links golf course at the Sandybanks, Keel. A 9-hole pitch and putt course is available at the Valley House Hotel, while for fun the Keel-based seafood restaurant The Chalet has a crazy golf course. There is also a well-established links course at Mulranny Golf Club on the mainland, as well as clubs at Castlebar and Westport.
Achill has some of the best fishing grounds in Europe with upwards of 14 varieties of fish to be caught. For sea fishing enthusiasts there are licensed boats for hire and there is good fresh water fishing in some of the Achill lakes (maps can be obtained at the Achill Tourism office). There are a number of boats available for hire for sea angling, including The Lady Clare and the Cuan na Cuime
For a more adventurous water activity, why not try diving? Achill Island Scuba Dive Centre at Purteen, Keel, offers half and full day dives as well as PADI courses for beginners and advanced divers. Achill Island Scuba Dive Centre Dive Centre, Purteen Harbour, Keel, Achill Island, Co. Mayo Contact: Joseph Carey Tel: 087-2349884 Email: Joseph Carey Web site: Achill dive centre
Experience the beauty of the magnificent mountains and coastlines - much loved by the artist Paul Henry ...see Kildavnet Castle - used by the Pirate Queen Grace O' Malley, Heinrich Boll's Cottage, the deserted Village, the Megalithic Tombs and our fine Blue Flag beaches. The Tours will last approximately two hrs. and commentary is available in, English, German, French and Irish. The tour will depart from Keel Village daily. Places are limited. For reservations, please contact Achill Tours Experience the beauty of the magnificent mountains and coastlines - much loved by the artist Paul Henry ...see Kildavnet Castle - used by the Pirate Queen Grace O' Malley, Heinrich Boll's Cottage, the deserted Village, the Megalithic Tombs and our fine Blue Flag beaches. The Tours will last approximately two hrs. and commentary is available in, English, German, French and Irish. The tour will depart from Keel Village daily. Places are limited. For reservations, please call 098 43301 Michael A. Lavelle, Achill Tours, Dooagh, Achill, Tel: 098-43301
Full information, maps and details of points of interest can be found in the publication "A Bilingual Guide to Walking in Achill" which may be purchased at the price of €5.71 plus €1.27 postage and packing. Please email Achill Tourism to place your order or tel/fax: 098-47353. The book is also available in most local outlets.
NB. Refer to safety instructions and country code as specified in the booklet at all times. Also sections of the walks are tidal so tidal timetables should be referred to.
Walk A – The Keem Loop Starting from the car park at Keem this initially strenuous walk rewards you with spectacular views from the cliff top of the various Achill peaks, Saddle Head and Achill Head jutting out into the Atlantic. Highlights of this walk also include; the watch house at Moyteoge Head, Bunowna booley village, the ruins of Captain Charles Boycott’s estate, a Penal Altar, remains of an old village and an old coastguard station.
Walk B – The Dooagh - Acorrymore Loop Starting at the car park at Dooagh Beach this moderate walk takes in Corrymore House once the home of Captain Boycott, Lough Acorrymore, Lough Corryntawy, the booley village of Tamhnach Mór, Lough Nekeeroge and a costal look-out signal tower. The words EIRE 59 can be seen set out in stone on the ground near the signal tower. This marking was intended to be read by passing aircraft was part of the World War II Costal Sector Identification Marking system with 59 being the number of the costal station.
Walk C – The Dooagh - Deserted Village Loop This moderate walk starts in the car park at Dooagh strand and proceeds along the shoreline Highlights include; the strand itself, Purteen Pier an important sea-angling base, Gubalennaun Beg, Port na Loinge and the Deserted Village of Slievemore – a site of ongoing archaeological excavation of great interest.
Walk D – The Keel – Trawmore Loop This is an easy walk, starting in keel and passing the beautiful, freshwater Keel Lough. Other highlights include the Keel Machair (costal dune grassland) an area of unique special scientific interest, Dookinelly, Trawmore beach, a good view of the Minaun cliffs, a storm beach and the Father Manus Sweeney monument.
Walk E – The Slievemore (Megalithic tomb) Loop This moderate walk starts at the base of Slievemore, the highest Mountain in Achill and visits the Megalithic tombs from where a superb view is to be found, the Slievemore Deserted village and Slievemore graveyard with it’s holy well dedicated to St Colman amongst the old crosses.
Walk F – The Doogort Loop An easy walk, starting at the Slievemore Hotel, takes us through the village of Doogort via the beautiful beach of Barnyagappul Strand, Pollawaddy beach and past the former Mission Colony.
Walk G – The Valley - Dooniver Loop Another easy walk starts at Valley Church and takes us past Bull’s Mouth where, at the end of the slipway we can see examples of traditional currach boats. Other highlights include some lovely lakes, a reed bed which supports many bird species and the Valley House.
Walk H – The Cashel Loop Again an easy walk, around Cashel and through turbaries or turf banks, which are still harvested in the traditional manner.
Walk I – The Saula Loop This is an easy walk around Saula. Highlights include a wonderful view of the coastline together with the islands of Inishbiggle and Annagh, an old lime kiln and Springvale, an area renowned for it’s spring water wells.
Walk J – The Achill Sound - Knockmore Loop Starting at Michael Davitt Bridge in Achill Sound this moderate walk takes us through Achill Sound village, past the world renowned House of Prayer and to the summit of Knockmore where there is a wonderful view of the south western shoreline of Achill Island. The rhododendron wood close to Bleannahooey Strand is spectacular in May and early June.
Walk K – The Dooega - Minaun Loop This is a strenuous walk but is well worth the effort. Starting in Dooega and passing Mweelin we move on the summit of Minaun Hill. From here there is a remarkable birds-eye view of the island in all directions.
Walk L – The Atlantic Loop An easy walk, starting in the car park at Patten’s Pub in Derreens gives us a splendid view of the inlet of Achill Sound and passes by Kildavnet church and cemetery, Kildavnet Castle and Darby’s point and pier. The highlight of the walk however is the breathtaking Atlantic cliff scenery.
Walk M – The Corraun - Lough Ard loop This easy walk starts at the car park at Corraun Church and takes us to Lough Ard and partly up Corraun Hill from where there is a spellbinding view of Bolinglanna village, Clew bay and it’s many islands, Croagh Patrick and, in the distance, the Mamturks in Connemara.
Walk N – The Corraun - Bolinglanna Loop. Again an easy walk, which takes us through the town land of Bolinglanna from where there is an excellent view of Clare Island, Achill Island and Achill Beg Island. Further highlights of this walk are the beautifully built stone walls and the derelict houses built from the old red sandstone found in this area.