Have you been considering a family break to the west of Ireland? Here a parent tells us of her experience of an Achill Island Self-catering Holiday with Older Children:
This summer our family went to Achill Island in Mayo for a week’s holiday and we stayed in Achill Cottages in Achill Sound with our two children, aged 7 and 10.
The cottages really lived up to our expectations and were exactly how they were described on the website. The three-bedroomed house was well laid out, modern and comfortable, well-equipped with everything we needed for a family of four with little extras like books, a DVD player and fuel for an open fire.
There was also disabled access and facilities, if needed. There was an area outside where the children could play safely. It was very relaxing and ideally situated for exploring Achill and the rest of Mayo. There were shops and amenities a few minutes walk away.
The Great Western Greenway
While in Achill, we cycled the Great Western Greenway from Newport to Achill, which was an exhilarating experience, with breath-taking views and surprises along the way. We brought our bikes with us but there are plenty of bike hire shops in the area, with bikes to suit everyone.
We met young and old alike walking, running and cycling along the route. It’s a very sociable journey and what a great asset for the community! As a result of it, new businesses have sprung up, which makes for great stopping off points en-route.
Achill Island and surrounds
Achill Island was fascinating to explore, with it’s little coves, unspoilt beaches and mountains rising steeply from sea level. Some beautiful walks near the cottage include Knockmore and the summit above Menawn Cliffs, where you can also drive to the summit. What a panoramic view from the top!
Ballycroy National Park
The Ballycroy National Park is only a few miles away and while we were there they were hosting workshops for National Heritage Week. The island is also steeped in history too. There’s the Deserted Village in the middle of the island to explore and many more historic sites around Mayo county.
Eating Out in Achill
We found lots of good family-friendly eateries on the island and along the Greenway too. Calvey’s seafood restaurant offers a good children’s menu, as does Achill Island Hotel. Nevin’s of Newfield is a great stopping point along the Greenway from Newport to Mulranny and of course Mulranny Bay Hotel is ideal as the Greenway passes directly behind the hotel. The food was excellent, staff very friendly and welcoming in each establishment.
Family Activities in Achill
There are plenty of activities on offer in the area too to keep any family entertained. These include a surf school, an equestrian centre, a local library in Achill Sound and golf courses on Achill Island and in Mulranny.
Westport and Castlebar are only a drive away with their variety of shops. We spent a day at Westport House and Pirate Adventure playground, which the kids loved. We also visited the Museum of Country Life near Castlebar which we all found fascinating. There are worksheets available and interactive areas which kept the kids interested.
We would recommend Achill and Mayo to any family as there is so much on offer and it’s a great base for exploring the West of Ireland. We will definitely be back for more!
Useful links when visiting the area:
Achill Cottages www.achillcottages.com
Achill Tourism: www.achilltourism.com
Museums of Mayo: www.museumsofmayo.com
Westport House: www.westporthouse.ie
Museum of Country Life: www.museumsofmayo.com/countrylife.htm
Calvey’s of Achill: www.calveysofachill.com
Nevins of Newfield: www.nevinsinn.com
Achill Island Hotel: www.achillislandhotel.com
Have you visited Achill Island with your family? Tell us about it in the comments below