The Pleasures of Achill Island and Some Valuable Ireland Travel Tips

By Judy Arnold

After 5 trips to Ireland, choosing something to write about in Ireland is somewhat like choosing which of my grandchildren is my favorite.

That said, Achill Island in County Mayo would easily make my list of places where I could spend at least a week and perhaps two. No doubt I never would have heard of it had Michele from had not given The Bervie B&B a glowing review in her book.

Achill Island has it all….mountains and cliffs, lovely beaches, a deserted village, scenic drives, Grace O’Malley’s Tower, and a Giant’s Grave.

When it comes to B&Bs, The Bervie is unique (at least in my experience). It was once a Coast Guard station, and Elizabeth, the hostess, was born there. The food is world class and the rooms interesting. We could walk out of our room through a garden gate right onto Trawmore Strand (beach). On the day we ambled along the beach, there were surfers enjoying the waves. Such wonderful memories… I just had to share.

Keem Bay, County Mayo, Ireland

In this photo, you can see the road to Keem Bay clinging to the edge of the cliff.

Judy’s Tips

Bring face flannels (washcloths) just in case (get an 18-pack at a discount store and leave them behind as you travel so you don’t have to deal with the damp in your luggage), also some small disposable paper or light plastic cups as some en suites don’t have glassware. Warm jammies and bed socks are usually a good idea.

If you plan to send postcards home, print off some address labels to take along. Also, most important, bring a journal and pen so you can participate in the next Tips and Experiences at Irish Fireside. Shopping for gifts for the unfortunates who didn’t get to come along will be easier if you have a list of just who you plan to buy for. Nothing like getting home and realizing you forgot to get enough shamrock lapel pins or castle-and-cottage salt and pepper shakers.

In that journal, each day note where you stayed, what the weather was like, and the mileage if you are self-driving. If you are so inclined, you can also log in your expenses and what everyone in the party ate at each meal. Oh, yes, don’t forget to cite the sights and sites!

If you rent a car in the Republic and drive into Northern Ireland, be advised that some cars only have kilometres on the speedometer and the NI signage is in miles per hour. A cheat sheet might well be in order. Or you could practice saying, “But officer, I’m not from around here.”

Read Judy’s 2009 Ireland travel blog at

You are invited to share your Irish travel experiences, just send an email to

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  1. Beautiful! And great tips, thanks! 😀

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  2. Loved Achill Island and Keem Beach. I visited on a misty March Day. Thank you for sharing the lovely photo.

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