Achill Island (Acaill, Oileán Acla) in County Mayo is the largest island off the coast of Ireland, and is situated off the west coast. A real gem of the “Emerald Isle” with its rugged landscapes, breathtaking cliffs, soaring mountains and beautiful beaches.

It has a population of 2,700 and covers an area of 57 square miles. Achill is attached to the mainland by Michael Davitt Bridge and is popular with tourists.

A visit to Achill can be as active, or as relaxed, as you choose. Achill offers over a dozen quality restaurants with fresh Atlantic seafood a speciality – and its pubs and bars provide the great taste of Achill Beer with a traditional warm Irish welcome.

achill-island-beach

One of the possible origins of the name Achill is the Gaelic word ‘acaill’, meaning eagle, and one of the earliest references to Achill came in 1235 when the Annals of Loch Ce refers to ‘Eccuill’ (Eagle Island). In later centuries travellers would remark on the golden eagles white tailed sea eagles on Achill, mainly on the peaks of Croaghaun. The last reported sighting of an eagle on Achill was in 1912.

Island by John F Deane

I am of Achill, island born, island inclined
where the heart lies open and our care
is water, earth and sky; in the ocean-winds
the golden hawk and eagle hover
above the fragrant heathers, over the bogland’s
gallery of treasured things, here in the once-
upon-a-timeness of splendour and of dreams.