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Achill Island and the Corraun Peninsula

Ireland Map
Achill Island and the Corraun Peninsula
Irelands largest offshore island is Achill with its golden beaches, unspoiled beauty and great island skies full of ever changing cloudscapes, continually caressing its peaks and valleys. Achill is joined to the mainland by a bridge at Achill Sound and about half of the island is a Gaeltacht region. The island has some of the highest and most spectacular sheer cliff faces in Europe, which seem to stand guard before Achill’s heather clad hills as they hurry towards the Atlantic Ocean.

Achill is dotted with small villages and magnificent sandy blue flag beaches. The western end of the island is dominated by the majestic 668m Croaghaun Mountain and two other mountains on the island are Slievemore, the highest at 671m and Minaun at 466m. Sea Angling, diving, golf, archaeology and other outdoor activities are common on the island but the peace and quiet is all pervasive.

One of the great attractions of the island is the deserted village situated on the slopes of Slievemore Mountain. With over 70 abandoned homesteads, it is a haunting reminder of hard times. On the southern tip of Achill Sound and looking out on Achillbeg Island is Kildawnit Castle, a stately fifteenth century tower house and once a stronghold of the Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley. On Achill’s south coast, too, are the strangely architectural Cathedral Rocks, while Croaghaun tumbles spectacularly down a 2,000 foot precipice to the sea.

The island has been a favourite retreat of artists and photographers. Its old-world character has attracted many famous writers down the years including the German Nobel Prize winner Heinrick Boll. Painters such as Paul Henry, Derek Hill, Charles Lamb and the American Robert Henri have all been inspired by Achill’s unusual and dramatic land and seascapes. The Dánlann Yawl Art Gallery in Tóin ré Gaoth offers a range of painting experiences and courses.

The Achill Yawl has a long tradition of being the working fisherman’s boat. In recent years the annual The Yawl Races has led to a renewal of the ancient traditions of this wooden sailing craft. The Yawl can be seen during the summer months on the seas around Achill..

The Corraun Peninsula
A drive around the Corraun Peninsula brings you through the village of Corrán (Corraun) where ancient artefacts can be seen in the village hall. The surrounding area contains many historic sites including a shell midden site (probably Megolithic indicating inhabitation some 5,000 to 7,000 years ago), the remains of an 19th century copper mine and many more. South of Corrán is Corrán House with its planned gardens which were first recorded on a map in 1838.

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