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Ireland Day 8: The Edge of the World

all seasons in one day

We started off our day on Achill Island by driving clockwise, starting off towards the southwest. We came to a place called Kildavnet. The element "kil" in Irish place names generally derives from "cill" which means church. "Davnet" is a form of the name Dymphna, an Irish saint who is patron of those struggling with mental disorders. St. Dymphna was an Irish princess whose father went insane and began to lust after her: she fled, and he eventually caught up with her in Belgium and had her killed. According to legend, she stopped in Achill on her way, and thus this church and well are associated with St. Dymphna. We looked at the church and the tragic graves of victims of the Famine, then walked down to the well which is next to the ocean.
Next to the church, graveyard, and well is Kildavnet Castle: it was one of Granuaile (Grace O'Malley)'s strongholds. Granuaile was a chieftain of the O'Malley clan during the sixteenth century. She is often referred to as the "pirate queen of Connacht" for her actions against other clans and the English who were consolidating their power in Ireland at the time. This was one of her smaller castles: nearby Rockfleet (outside Newport) and her castle on Clare Island were more important. It is an interesting ruin, and is open for anyone to go inside.
Beautiful views as we drive around Achill Island. It really feels like the edge of the world, especially when you are driving along the side of the cliffs.
A lonely island off of Achill.
Lunch at a tiny pub along the way.
A beautiful stream at Keem beach at the tip of Achill Island.
Keem Beach: our host mentioned that from there "the next stop is America." It is a beautiful place. Adrian and Mary Kathleen both highly encouraged us to go to Keem, but both warned us about the roads. The roads weren't that bad, probably because most everyone is a tourist frightened of the roads and thus being careful.
Catherine enjoying a delicious ice cream at Keem beach.
Some views of the Deserted Village in Achill. This was formerly used as "booley" housing, for semi-nomadic cow herding people. We spoke to a "modern day shepherd" near the village who was training his sheepdog. We had a nice conversation with him about how life has changed in Achill and how he retired from a job in England in his thirties to buy a farm in Achill. It was a very interesting conversation.
Palm trees!
A bog where turf was dug up and drying. We drove in looking for "the crannog" that was signposted, but Catherine has been fearful of bogs since our adventures in Glencolumcille and so we drove out quickly.
A place we stopped to look at the view in between Achill and Newport.
Croagh Patrick, the holy mountain, from across Clew Bay.
Rockfleet Castle, another of Granuaile's strongholds. It is larger than Kildavnet and seems better defended. Unfortunately it is closed for restoration right now: usually it is open for people to go inside.
After Rockfleet, we went to Burrishoole Friary, which was a fascinating ruin. There are several intriguing grave markers here, some of rather notable people.
More pictures of Burrishoole.
Dinner in Newport at a very nice and cozy pub. In fact, this was the first time we tried Guinness in Ireland!
The moon from our room in Achill as we had a cup of tea and some cookies for dessert.

Posted by danielcatherine 17:35 Archived in Ireland Tagged newport achill croagh_patrick granuaile kildavnet dymphna modern_day_shepherd keem rockfleet burrishoole

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That looked like a wonderful day. I feel bad for Dan though. It was warm enough at the beach for people to actually be in the water. Keep having fun and stay safe.

Love, Chief

by Ed

What a beautiful country. I hope one day that Dad and I can travel there with you guys as our guides.

by Katie

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