The grandeur of ACHILL’s scenery, encompassing towering sea-cliffs and bulky, bare mountains that rise over 650m, can seem grey and forbidding in poor weather, but on a sunny day is quite magnificent. It’s the largest of the Irish islands and, now connected to the mainland by a road bridge, one of the most developed, with plenty of hotels, B&Bs and hostels, and a ribbon of white-painted holiday homes on the south coast. Drawn by sweeping sandy beaches (five of which have earned a Blue Flag) and fairground rides, Irish fun-seekers descend in droves on August weekends, when the place can get a bit rowdy. Germans are also attracted to Achill, by associations with novelist and Nobel Laureate Heinrich Böll, who lived at Dugort in the 1950s. The island was until recently entirely Irish-speaking and its eastern half is still a designated Gaeltacht area, hosting teenagers at Irish college in their summer holidays.

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