Achill Island, Ireland: Dramatic Views, Splendid Beaches

The dramatic cliffs of Achill Island, Ireland.

The dramatic cliffs of Achill Island, Ireland.

Keen beach, Achill Island.

Keen beach, Achill Island.

I don’t remember ever seeing such a dramatic place as this island off the coast of Ireland in County Mayo.  Achill is a place that people are passionate about, it is the home of about 2700 souls and in the summer up to 6000 come out.

Some of the highest cliffs in all of Europe line the coast with sandy beaches and dolphins hopping offshore.

There is one police officer here, we were told, and if someone wants to leave the pub with a buzz on, you call in a report of a car in a ditch on the other side of the island, and then you can zip home safely.

The pub was full of locals last night, a man and a woman played Irish tunes on pipes and violin as a pack of little kids played pool while mom and dad sipped their pints.

We donned wetsuits and set out on paddleboards with the fun-loving French owner Francois Colussi, the owner of Pure Magic, who offer all manner of water sports like kite surfing and kayaking on Achill.  Francois took us out and most of us managed to stand up for at least a while, and he chided us to put down are f–king phones, and enjoy the splendid scenery around us.

He had a good point. The reason most people fall off paddleboards is distraction, and the sport certainly does give a super core work-out.  I was glad that I got out on the board and stood up for a while, still I was pretty shaky throughout.

We later retired to the cozy peat fire at Pure Magic for dinner and local beers. Francois made us all very comfy, before convincing us to have a pint at the Annexe.  When in Achill, always hit the pub!

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Max Hartshorne
Max Hartshorne has been the editor of the GoNOMAD.com travel website since 2002. Over the past decade, he has had the privilege of working with writers and publishing travel articles about nearly every country in the world. He has also been a consistent world traveler, writing hundreds of his own travel stories and posting daily blogs from the 10 or more yearly international trips he takes around the world.

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