What to See & Do in Achill

Achill Island is Irelands largest island and is located off the west coast of County Mayo. It occupies an area of about 57sq miles. Its underlying rock structure is one of the oldest in Ireland at 650 million years old. Its geography has a combination of glacial and coastal features with the highest sea cliffs in Europe located on Croghan. It is a magical island and can trace its human existence right back to the earliest times with evidence of Mesolithic peoples on the island. Achill’s location as one of the most westerly islands in Europe, and as a bastion against the Atlantic Ocean and with the climatic effects of the Gulf Stream, creates a landscape of myth and mystery for you to explore either through its spectacular secluded mountain scenery or its many Blue Flag beaches.

Historical Figures

famous residents

Achill has played host to a number of historical figures, not least of which was the notorious Captain Boycott, was the owner of Corrymore House on the west of the island who added his name to the English language.

Local Achill man, James Lynchehaun, gained international notoriety after twice escaping police custody following an attack on an English landowner in 1894. His case formed the basis of J.M Synge’s play ‘The Playboy of the Western World’ and was dramatised in the film ‘Love & Rage’ in 1998 which was filmed on the island.

Historic Figures | Achill Island
Desserted Village | Achill Island

The Deserted Village

Achill’s Past

The Deserted Village situated across 2km of the slopes of Slievemore mountain has approx. 84 abandoned houses and is a haunting reminder of times passed.
Sheltered under the slopes of Slievemore and hidden from the modernity of the 21st century, this tranquil corner is a perfect place for quiet reflection and remembrance of former times.
Achill Isle Walks offer a two hour guided walk of this fascinating village exploring its past from Neolithic man of 4000BC to the present day.

Achill Island has long been an inspiration for artists and writers including the Irish landscape artist Paul Henry who spent almost ten years living and working on the island between 1910 and 1919. His paintings are renowned for their huge cloudscapes which are still evident on the island today.

Another frequent visitor was the American artist Robert Henri, while in the 1950s the English novelist Graham Greene holidayed and worked in the village of Dooagh and the German nobel prize winning author Heinrich Boll who wrote a poignant account of the Deserted Village in his Irish Journal, lived and worked in Dugort on the north side of Achill Island.

Achill is a beautiful Island to holiday in, here you are spoiled for choice with water, land and wellbeing activities available. An example of water activities are Canoe / Kayak on one of our blue flag beaches or on Keel lake to Kitesurfing or Surfing Lessons. The wellbeing activities are Achill Yoga Studio or Achill Seaweed Baths- Land activities are extremely varied from hill walking to golf to painting and many in between. One of the popular guided walks offered by us is the one in The Deserted Village (click here for more details on Achill Isle Walks).