Achill Island

Ireland’s Atlantic coast still has the beauty of a necklace of uncultivated pearls: one of these pearls is Achill Island. Since 1887 Achill has been linked to the mainland by a bridge.

Achill is mainly known in Ireland for the many artists who have lived and still live there. Countless painters are attracted by the peerless light of the ocean that reflects the landscape. Writers, such as Heinrich Böll, have been charmed by the authenticity of the Island and its inhabitants.

Achill has a rich history. This has left visible traces on the landscape right from the Neolithic Era some 5,000 years ago. Alongside a variety of megaliths are the more endearing shell middens. These are places where our distant ancestors treated themselves to a meal of shellfish and then left the shells behind. For instance, there are ridges of shells on Dugort’s Golden Strand that form loose circles between the strata of soil. Here, the shells have been neatly piled up and put away like dishes.

The ruins of the Deserted Village are a living example of a more recent history. Right at the most westerly point, by the sands of Keem Bay, is the spring that provided fresh water for the ships about to make the great crossing to America. This is also where many islanders still fetch their drinking water to this very day.

The eastern part of the Island is delineated by the Sound: the strait that runs between the Corraun Peninsula and Achill. There, the Atlantic Drive is a magnificent route that reveals not only breath-taking panoramas but also the Island’s aloofness.