Two men and a dog head to an island off the West Coast during a storm…
Achill Island. Every time I’ve gone back over the last few years, it has been in the middle of a mad storm and this time was no different. Storm Ciara battered the place black & blue. We did however, have a fantastic trip. We found an Airbnb that was dog friendly and just booked it. It was an old shop, recently converted and it suited us perfectly.
It was a pretty hectic drive and the closer we got to Achill, the worse it got and we started to think are we right in the head going here? We stopped off at Mulranny beach and couldn’t even get out of the car the wind was so insane. We did get there safe and sound thankfully and headed straight to the pub. Lynott’s Pub is not only Achill’s smallest pub but one of the best. The Guinness was insanely good and the fire was roaring when we arrived. The place is filled with all sorts, from whale bones to amazing old photos. For a small rural pub, instead of the expected stone cold silence and stares, it was so welcoming and ticks every box for us. We didn’t take any photos, instead just sat back and enjoyed the wonderful atmosphere.
The next day was a mix of wild walks on the beach, food, insane cliff drives, food and Guinness (and more Food). For stunning beaches, Keem Bay is right at the top of any list. After a sketchy drive down (even without the high winds) it’s not a drive for the faint hearted. The reward tho, is a beach, hemmed in on both sides by mountains and cliffs. There is a cliff walk up behind the beach with some of Europe’s highest sea cliffs. You can find loads of quartz here as it was mined here years ago. After a big storm is an especially good time as the sand will have been moved a lot, revealing hidden treasures.
Achill is sometimes at her best during the wet and wild times of year. Although some of the best food joints and cafes are closed, you get to enjoy some of the wild beauty that might otherwise be missed during the summer season. We got to enjoy unrivalled views of some of the roughest oceans I have ever witnessed and we got a seat right by the fire in Lynotts, so wins all round!
There definitely is something magical about Achill. There is a raw beauty that never changes there that charges me up. I’m sure many of us know that feeling of being overwhelmed by the everyday stuff. I know running from running my own business, that life can be very tough and mentally exhausting at times. My creativity dims and the spark that helps me push ahead and helps me plans for and try to live a great life can be dimmed too. When I spend time on Achill, it feels like my soul strengthens. I was sitting in the Valley House pub, listening to some amazing trad, sipping Guinness and I felt my soul tighten up again. Imagine holding a bow and arrow, you pull back the arrow and the bow tightens, getting stronger and able to expel an epic amount of energy….. that is what happens for me spending time down on Achill. My soul finds its strength and when I get home, all the possibilities that seemed so distant are clearly visible again.
If you ever head down that way, some of our top picks are:
Pubs: Lynotts and Valley House.
Grub: The Chalet – seafood awesomeness.
Beaches: Keem bay.
Hikes: The cliff hike, behind Keem. Get local advice first.
& the hike along the deserted village is incredible but again, get local advice first.
Where to stay: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/26813378?source_impression_id=p3_1582550574_8yLJncLiTPRlHuTN
Note, we found it a bit expensive, the bedrooms apart from the main are a bit bare. Its gorgeous and we did love our stay, especially as its dog friendly, but would consider it more of a two person stay.
We didn’t get to check out loads of other spots due to the weather and places were closed, so will just have to head back soon.