Ultimate Travel Guide to Achill Island

A Travel Junkie’s Handbook to Ireland’s Achill Island 

Did you know that the name Achill has Gaelic roots, hinting at the eagles soaring high over the peaks of Achill Island? In 1235, the Annals of Loch Ce referred to it as Eccuill or Eagle Island.

Though the golden eagles have faded into history with the last sighting dating back to 1912 , Achill has remained a beloved for locals and tourists alike. Today, it offers so much more. 

Let’s delve into the top spots to dine and stay and insider tips for a perfect holiday. 

Top Attractions and Things to Do on Achill Island

Explore the Great Western Greenway

You can embark on an adventure across the landscapes of Achill Island through the 49 km Great Western Greenway, for both cycling and walking. Starting in Cashel and extending to Achill, this trail retraces the historic Westport to Achill railway. 

As the longest off-road trail in Ireland, the Great Western Greenway provides diverse scenery, weaving through villages and offering glimpses into local history. 

What sets Achill apart is its open and accessible terrain, free from the constraints of fences or barriers, making it perfect for hillwalkers of all levels to explore its diverse landscapes.

Slievemore (671m), located in lower Achill, offers routes from Dugort and the south-western slopes near the Deserted Village. On the western end, Croaghaun (668m) offers the highest sea cliffs in Europe.

Achill Tourism hosts an annual Walks Festival in March, led by qualified leaders who offer insights into local history, folklore, and hiking skills. They also share the archaeology and geology of Achill to over 200 participants yearly. 

Enjoy the Waters Through the Achill Island Blueway

Enjoy the Waters Through the Achill Island Blueway
Image Source: Achill Tourism Official Website

The Achill Island Blueway is a network of water trails designed for kayaking and snorkeling. Positioned along the north and western coastlines at Dugort and Keem, these trails offer access to water against the backdrop of Achill’s scenery.

The Kayak Trail, spanning 2.4 km between Golden Strand and Silver Strand in Dugort village, is great for expert kayakers with sea kayaking experience. You’ll see rocky coastlines and small cliffs

For those who prefer an underwater adventure, the Snorkel Trail is a safe and captivating experience that’s perfect for beginners. The marine life you can encounter include sharks, trigger fish, and spider crabs.

Follow the Atlantic Drive

Follow the Atlantic Drive
Image Source: Achill Tourism Official Website

The Atlantic Drive is an 80 mile journey that unveils the expansive beauty of Achill’s coastline. 

The drive begins at Mulranny. On the north side of Clew Bay, you’ll encounter 365 islands scattered across the bay, while Croagh Patrick stands proudly on the south side. The winding road takes you through villages like Dooghbeg and Currane. 

Visit the Deserted Village at Slievemore

Visit the Deserted Village at Slievemore
Image Source: Achill Tourism Official Website

Nestled at the foot of Slievemore mountain, the Deserted Village has almost 100 traditional stone cottages lining an ancient pathway. Stretching for about a mile, the village has remnants of multiple structures from different times. 

Archaeological investigations and historical research trace the settlement’s origins back to at least the Anglo-Norman period in the 12th century AD. There’s even a tomb there that dates back to the 3rd or 4th century BC. 

Check out the Kildavnet Tower

Check out the Kildavnet Tower
Image Source: Achill Tourism Official Website

Overlooking the waters of Achill Sound, the Kildavnet Tower celebrates the religious and maritime history of the island. The name, translating to ‘the small church of Davnet,’ dates back to the 7th Century saint Dympna, who built a small church in this very spot. 

The existing remnants, believed to date from the 12th Century, underwent renovations and served as a 19th-century Catholic chapel. 

Right next to the chapel is the graveyard of Kildavnet which also served as a resting place for famine victims and a memorial to those lost in the Clew Bay disaster of 1894. 

A short distance away from the Kildavnet Tower is The Grace O’Malley’s Castle, a 15th-century Irish tower house, built in 1429 as the residence of the legendary pirate queen Granuaille. 

Drop by Annagh for a Visit

Drop by Annagh for a Visit
Image Source: Achill Tourism Official Website

Accessible only by foot or boat, Annagh is a secluded valley with steep-sided terrain, a corrie lake, and a small sandy beach. 

Lough Nakeeroge East, the lowest corrie lake in Ireland is separated from the seawater of Blacksod Bay by a moraine. This glacial corrie lake, sitting just 16m above sea level is a sight to see. 

To the west of the lake, you’ll find the ruins of a booley village, a reflection of Achill’s unique practice of booleying or transhumance (sweat houses) which were historical treatments for rheumatism.

Go to Keem Bay

Go to Keem Bay
Image Source: Achill Tourism Official Website

Keem Bay, which you can go to through a clifftop route along Croaghaun mountain, offers a retreat from the modern world. The bay’s serenity is preserved, with no manmade structures in sight. 

The Keem Beach has the Croaghaun mountain on the east and the Moyteoge spar to the west. A former coastguard watch-house on top of Moyteoge marks the starting point for a 1.5km walk along the cliffs of Benmore toward Achill Head. 

Achill Island has other stunning beaches, with five Blue Flag designations, marking them as among the finest in Ireland. Trawmore Strand, extending over 3km is known for its golden sands.

Heading north to Dugort, two Blue Flag beaches, the Silver Strand and the Golden Strand are must visits with Blacksod Bay and the Belmullet Peninsula as a backdrop.
Image Source: Achill Tourism Official Website

Heading north to Dugort, two Blue Flag beaches, the Silver Strand and the Golden Strand are must visits with Blacksod Bay and the Belmullet Peninsula as a backdrop.

Dooega is the island’s fifth Blue Flag beach. Also known as Camport Bay, this picturesque fishing village boasts views of the Atlantic, framed by the Minaun mountain. 

Attend the Achill Yawl Festival

Attend the Achill Yawl Festival
Image Source: Achill Tourism Official Website

The Achill Yawl Festival is a series of races using traditional wooden sailing boats known as Achill yawls. Local teams crew the Achill yawls in the festival which runs from July to September.

These races happen weekly with the race schedules on the Achill Yawl Festival page on the Achill Tourism website.

How to Get There 

By Car

Achill Island, nestled on Ireland’s west coast, is accessible by a 4-hour drive from Dublin or Shannon Airport and 5 to 6 hours from Belfast. The Michael Davitt Bridge is the main entry point for cars. 

By Plane

Ireland West Airport Knock, a 75-minute drive away from the island, provides quick access with flights from the UK (a 3 hour flight). Other European destinations are also accommodated at the airport.

By Train

You can travel to Achill Island by taking the railway from Dublin to Westport or Castlebar via Irish Rail, followed by a bus connecting to Achill. You can check routes and schedules on the website for the rail and bus systems. 

How to Get Around 

The best way to get around the island is by driving your own car. If you don’t have one, you can opt to ride taxis or rent a bike. There is also a public bus system, but it’s only seasonal. You can check the schedule here

The Best Time to Go season and month 

The best time to go to Achill Island is from May to July. 

These months are the warmest in the year, with temperatures of about 14 to 15°C and lower precipitation. These months also give you more sun hours, with 7 to 9 hours of daylight.

If you love cold weather, January is the perfect month to visit with temperatures averaging at 7 to 9°C, but be warned that it’s still relatively rainy during this month. 

Pro Tip: 
Make sure you bring clothes that are warm and can be layered to stay comfortable. Bring a raincoat or at least a water resistant coat to avoid lugging around an umbrella. Waterproof shoes are also your best bet to avoid soggy socks. 

Places to Eat on Achill Island

The Amethyst Bar 

Address: Keel East, Keel, Co. Mayo, F28 YV12, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 98 43737


Hours: Open everyday 24/7

The Amethyst Bar effortlessly blends historical charm with modern gastronomy in Keel. The interior has stone fireplaces set in brickwork that create a very homey ambiance.  

The menu itself is as comforting as the location with traditional fish and chips executed well, curry dishes, filling pasta, and juicy steaks. Catering to diverse tastes, they offer an extensive vegan menu with a vegetable samosa and lots of options for the kids too.

Mastersons Bar and Restaurant 

Address: Golden Strand Cottage, Doogort East, Achill, Co. Mayo, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 98 47216



  • Monday to Thursday from 10 am to 11:30 pm 
  • Friday to Saturday from 10 am to 12:30 am 
  • Sunday from 10 am to 11 pm

Mastersons Bar and Anchor Restaurant has been a long-standing institution on Achill Island. Good food has always been a staple and something that we go back to over and over again. With recent renovations, the decor now matches the top notch dishes. 

Overlooking Achill’s Golden Strand, Mastersons welcomes you with great views and a warm atmosphere. They are mostly known for their seafood chowder and classic fish and chips. They do a mean steak and we always like to finish our meals with dessert. 

Blásta Food Truck 

Address: R319 Cashel Achill Island, Co. Mayo, F28 AX57, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 87 429 4994



  • Wednesday to Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm
  • Monday and Tuesday: Closed

When the vibrant Blásta food truck parks in its regular spot in Cashel, it’s a treat for the taste buds. Tons and tons of locals flock to Blásta every time its there, so be sure to arrive way before opening hours to get ahead of the crowd. 

This mobile restaurant offers an array of mouthwatering options, from mussels and fish and chips to shrimp tacos and falafel. With tempting daily specials, you won’t run out of new dishes to try every time it opens up its doors again. 

Beehive Crafts and Gifts

Address: R319 Keel Achill Island, Keel East, Co. Mayo, F28 TN27, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 86 854 2009


Hours: Open everyday from 10 am to 5 pm

At the heart of Keel, The Beehive Crafts and Gifts Shop might not sound like a place to eat, but it’s one of our favorites. The little coffee shop slash bistro serves up some of the richest coffee in the area. Each cup goes perfectly with a slice of their cakes. 

If you’re more of a savory kind of person, they also have great grilled sandwiches and fishcakes for you to try, not to mention the exciting daily specials. Fast and friendly service, even during busy times, adds to the experience. 

Ted’s Bar, Restaurant & Venue

Address: Cashel South, Achill, Co. Mayo, F28 AX57, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 98 47234


Hours: Everyday from 11 am to 12 am

Ted’s Bar and Restaurant in Achill is everything you’re looking for in a great pub. With great Guinness and all traditional pub grub done right, you’ll leave with a full stomach and in high spirits. 

It’s not just a pub either. With nautical decor, a cozy fireplace, and an inviting outdoor area, Ted’s is also a great place to hangout and relax with friends. They offer a diverse menu from soups, hearty stews, and fish and chips to great desserts. 

Places to Stay Nearby

Mulranny Park Hotel

Address: Murrevagh, Co. Mayo, F28 N2H9, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 98 36000

Pricing: $ $ $

Book Now

Perched on a cliff that gives you an unadulterated view of the Clew Bay and the iconic Croagh Patrick, the Mulranny Park Hotel stands as the sole accommodation on the Great Western Greenway and Wild Atlantic Way. 

Strategically positioned for exploration, it serves as the perfect base for Achill Island and Westport adventures. 

If you’d rather relax in the hotel, you can enjoy the swimming pool with an attached jacuzzi or sweat it out in the steam room and sauna. Fitness junkies can enjoy the gym while foodies can savor the award-winning Nephin restaurant. 

Achill Island Hotel (Óstán Oileán Acla)

Address: Illanbelfarsad, Co. Mayo, F28 EA31, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 98 45138

Pricing: $ $ $

Book Now

Located near the gateway bridge to Achill Island, the Achill Island Hotel is a great place to stay if you want quality and great service. The staff here are very accommodating and are always ready to provide you with anything you need. 

The location of this 3 star hotel is also convenient. A mere 45 minutes from Castlebar, the hotel offers easy access to Knock Airport. Surrounded by five blue flag beaches, it’s a paradise for cyclists and surfers. 

Achill Cliff House Hotel & Restaurant

Address: Keel, Achill Island, Co. Mayo, Ireland

Phone Number:  +353 98 43400

Pricing: $ $ $

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Located on the edge of the Wild Atlantic Way in Keel, Achill Cliff House Hotel offersa comprehensive stay that might make you not want to leave the hotel grounds. There’s a sauna on site and beautiful rooms with panoramic views of the cliffs and the Atlantic. 

The other thing that the hotel does so well is the food they serve their guests. The hotel only gets locally sourced ingredients to create crowd favorite breakfast dishes like smoked salmon and homemade pancakes. 

The Strand Hotel

Address: Doogort, Achill Island, Co. Mayo, F28 NY97, Ireland

Phone Number:  +353 98 43241

Pricing: $ $

Book Now

The Strand Hotel has spacious rooms that all come with a flat screen TV and closet space. The showers and bathrooms are also clean and convenient to use, with free toiletries everyday. You can opt for one of the suites for better views on a terrace. 

You won’t have to worry about parking either. The hotel is also close to lots of nearby attractions that you can access easily. The Rockfleet Castle and Ballycroy National Park  are both around a 20 minute drive away, while the Kildownet Castle is 5 minutes away. 

Achill Sound Hotel (Óstán Ghob A’Choire)

Address: Achill Sound Hotel, Sraheens, Achill Sound, Co. Mayo, Ireland

Phone Number:  +353 98 45245

Pricing: $ $ 

Book Now

Achill Sound Hotel, a century-old family-run establishment, is perfect for those who like a dash of history and old school charm to their hotel stay. Located in the heart of Achill Sound, it serves as a gateway to blue flag beaches and wild Atlantic drives. 

Offering affordable accommodation, delightful meals, and warm hospitality, it stands as a cherished part of Achill’s history. Seasonally open, with Connaughton’s Bar as a local favorite, it’s an inviting hub if you’re looking for a taste of genuine Irish charm.

Places to Shop on Achill Island

Top Drawer & Pantry

Address: Keel, Achill Island, Co. Mayo F28 A9N2

Phone Number: +353 98 43158


Hours: Open everyday from 11 am to 5 pm

If you ever find yourself strolling through Keel on Achill Island, you can’t miss the Top Drawer & Pantry. It’s a quaint store that puts sustainability and simplicity at the forefront. It’s a haven for quality, locally-made treasures, proudly showcasing Achill crafts. 

You can find everything from decorative items for your homes and gardens to self care products like lotions, candles, and toiletries. Everything here is environmentally friendly. There are also selections of local art and crafts. 

Achill Island Sea Salt

Address: Achill Island Sea Salt, Bunacurry, Achill, Co.

Phone Number: +353 98 47856


Hours: Open everyday from 10 am to 4 pm

Achill Island has roots in salt production, so in 2013 the O’Malley family decided to create a business that would celebrate it. Achill Island Sea Salt has been producing and selling high quality sea salt ever since. 

The salt is harvested by hand from the Atlantic that’s accessible to the island. They then process it and bottle it for some of the most natural and pure salts you can buy. 

Keel Market

Address: Keel Hall, Keel, Achill Island, Co. Mayo F28 XA33

Phone Number: +353 85 760 2404


Hours: Open on Saturdays from 10 am to 1 pm in the summer. 

On Saturdays during the summer months from June to September, the Keel Market opens on Achill Island. Here, you’ll find stalls upon stalls that sell everything from local crafts and art pieces, to supplies to create your own. 

There are also freshly baked goods, handmade goods like candles, decor, and even some garden display items. 

Sweeney’s SuperValu Achill

Address: Sraheens, Achill Sound, Co. Mayo, F28 PR60, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 98 45211



  • Open from Monday from 7:30 to 8:30 pm 
  • Open Sunday from 8 am to 7 pm 

Sweeney’s SuperValu is a discount supermarket that has a lot more shopping options than you would typically expect. This family-run business isn’t just about groceries. It also serves as a hardware store for supplies. 

They also hold a DIY store, Sweeney’s Giftware, Clothing & Internet Shop within the same location.You’ll find own-brand groceries and Irish produce and other knick knacks here. 

Achill Island Flowers

Address: Sraheens, Achill Sound, Co. Mayo, Ireland

Phone Number: +353 87 419 9246


Hours: Open everyday from 10 am to 5 pm

For a touch of floral beauty to your Achill experience, Achill Island Flowers has everything you’ll need. This place is a local favorite and a must visit if you want something more alive as a souvenir to your trip. 

They sell a host of local blooms all grown locally and sustainably. The owner, Olivia Sweeney, is very friendly and will gladly help you arrange a bouquet or suggest some flower selections for your occasion.