Geography of Achill

Keel Beach, Achill Island
Achill, Ireland's largest Island is situated off the west coast of county Mayo. It measures 20kms from east to west, 18kms from north to south, and has a coastline of about 120 kms.  It bounds Clew Bay to the north. The island (140sq kms) is home to approximately 3,000 people, many of whom are engaged in sheep-farming, fishing or the tourism industry.

The varied geography of Achill makes it distinct in many ways. The western end of the island is dominated by the majestic 668m. high Croaghaun Mountain, to the north of which are the highest sea cliffs in Europe. The highest mountain on the island is Slievemore at 672m., while Minaun Mountain measures 466m. The terrain is ideal for hill walking and outdoor pursuits.

Achill is seperated from mainland Mayo by a narrow strip of sea known as the Sound of Achill. This narrow channel was first bridged in 1887. The present swingbridge, known as the Michael Davitt Bridge, is open to motor traffic.

Having crossed the Michael Davitt Bridge, Achill's charm and diversity soon becomes apparent - it's wild mountains, undulating open moorland and dramatic cliff scenery is unequalled anywhere. Combined with its magnificent sandy beaches, sea cliffs and warm hospitality it is easy to see why it brings visitors back again and again for holidays.

Soon after leaving Achill Sound there is a junction to the south leading onto the so called "Atlantic Drive" which runs along the south coast of the island with its unparalleled views of dramatic coastline.  Achill Island represents all kinds of Irish landscape such as tiny lakes, wide bogs and steep slopes leading directly to the sea.  The entire island is a hill walking paradise!

Keel Beach, Achill Island
Sandy seashores can be found in Keel, Dooagh and Keem on the southwest of the island. All the beaches are 'Blue Flag', confirming their quality and status.  Keem Bay with it's spectacular road access ranks as one of Europe's best beaches.

Achill Island offers opportunities for sea and fresh water fishing, sailing, wind surfing and a many more activities. It is renowned for shark-fishing; Achill seamen sail out with their small currachs to harpoon sharks.