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Achill Island -Acaill

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Discover Achill Island -Acaill

Drive on to Ireland’s largest Island. Achill Island is connected to the mainland by bridge and is situated off the west coast of Mayo, with the Atlantic breaking on its western shore. Its location as one of the most westerly inhabited area in Europe gives it special character. Inhabited for over five thousand years, the Irish language is still spoken on the island, with the entire Corraun Penninsula designated as a Gaeltacht area. Achill’s remote grandeur has a history of attracting many well-known artist and writers. Paul Henry, Desmond Turner, John Healy and Nobel laureate Heinrick Boll all visited in the 1950s with the latter named writing about the island in his book, ‘The Irish Journey’. Achill became his sanctuary and he returned every summer thereafter. His legacy continues today giving Achill an air of the creative retreat. The island plays host to the Heinrich Boll Memorial weekend and an artists’ residency at his old cottage. Paul Henry was drawn to the island’s dramatic land and seascapes and introduced the world to the beauty of Achill. Achill has a wealth of archaeological remains and has a strong historical and cultural heritage synonymous with island life which is reflected in its festivals and summer schools. Painters and music scholars take inspiration from its sheer beauty. Some of Europe’s highest cliffs are in Achill while its beaches and blanket bogs are mesmerizingly beautiful. Take the scenic Atlantic drive along the south of the island passing Kildavnet Castle (associated with Grace O’Malley), and experience heritage sites ranging from megalithic tombs to the deserted villages of Slievemore an Ailt. Don’t get the impression that Ireland’s largest island is all introspection. Achill has a lot to offer the sporting enthuasist. You can walk or cycle the 26 kilometre Great Western Greenway from Achill Sound to Westport. The island boast 14 circular walks and three cycling routes. A half-marathon, yawl sailing, angling and walking festivals run alongside year round windsurfing, kite surfing , kayaking and horse-riding. Achill is home to five blue flag beaches where many activities are staged. Discover for yourself what makes Achill such a unique destination. For visitor information contact the Westport Tourist Information Office on +353 (0)98 25711 or e-mail westport@failteireland.ie

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