Achill

  • There’s good news this morning for the proposed Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point at Keem Bay in Achill.

    Fáilte Ireland is allocating €150,000 to Mayo County Council to begin the design phase of the discovery project.

    The council will contribute €50,000, which means an investment of €200,000 in progressing the discovery point, which will attract an increased number of visitors to Achill Island –that’s according to the Minister for Rural & Community Development Michael Ring.

    The Discovery Point was announced three years ago, and will see the construction of a viewing platform over Keem Bay.

    The project is expected to cost over €4 million euro in total.

  • The Achill Dolphins are here to stay.

    It was revealed recently that the same family of dolphins have been following an Achill fishing boat for more than two years as the local crew went about their business in the waters off the coast.

    They were waiting for the boat every time it went to sea and would play around it until it returned to Purteen Harbour with its catch.

    However, fishermen can be very superstitious and the story remained untold until recently.

    The recent spell of bad weather meant that the fishing boat was tied up for two weeks and some experienced fishermen reckoned that the dolphins would no longer be present in the bay when fishing resumed, now that the secret was out.

    Nothing could be further from the truth! When the fishing boat returned to the water on Monday morning, the dolphins were in situ much to the delight of the local aquarium and its CEO, Terence Dever.

    “We’re very proud of the amazing waters we have around Achill and were overjoyed when news came through this morning that the dolphins are here to stay. They obviously know what hospitable people we are.

    “We have thousands of people coming to see the wonderful aquarium we have here and now we’ll be able to tell visitors about our resident dolphin family as well,” he added.

  • Dingle might be famous for Fungi the dolphin, but Achill Island can now boast not one but two friendly dolphins.

    A local fisherman has revealed that the same two dolphins have followed his boat out to Achill Head every day for the past three years, and can be seen playing in the waters around his vessel.

    In recent days, the fisherman has told staff at the Achill Experience Aquarium & Visitor Centre about his friends in the dolphin family, and staff expect huge interest from the public in the coming weeks and months.

    Achill Aquarium is celebrating its second birthday today and has already welcomed some 40,000 visitors.

    On Saturday next, Minister Michael Ring will officially open phase two of the Aquarium and Visitor Centre.

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    An Achill man has been jailed for two years for his role in an aggravated burglary, during which a husband and wife were tied up in their home and threatened with an imitation firearm.

    The court heard that 20-year old Declan Maxwell and another man, who is now deceased, invaded the house and demanded money because they claimed the couple's teenage son owed a drug debt.

    Maxwell, who was then 16-years-old, and the other man ordered the couple to hand over their bank cards and write down their PIN details.

    These were then passed to a third person outside the home who used them to take €440 cash from an ATM.

    The couple were then tied up with rope cut from the clothes line before the invaders made off with an Xbox, Wii console, Samsung Galaxy phone, a wifi router and runners, all valued around €1,000.

    Declan Maxwell, with an address at Rossfield Park, Fettercairn, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to aggravated burglary at Stannaway Avenue, Crumlin, Dublin, on December 7, 2013.

    The father-of-one is originally from Achill Island, Co. Mayo and has one previous minor conviction for possessing drugs.

    The court heard that Maxwell  was stopped by gardai the following day for a random drugs search, when he confessed to the aggravated burglary. The court heard was carrying a bag containing some of the items that had been taken from the house.

    Judge Martin Nolan said Maxwell participated voluntarily in the home invasion, which he described as a “reprehensible crime”.

    The judge imposed a five year sentence with three suspended and ordered that Maxwell undergo 18 month probation service supervision post release.

  • The recent heat wave and calm seas has allowed a group of rocks known as Bills Rock, situated 11Km south of Achill Island to be filmed. The cameras caught the magnificent rocky island outcrop from the air for the first time and were also able to go through a double sea arch and record it.

    Few visitors ever go out to the Rock which can be seen on the horizon from Achill Island. And of those that do, even fewer have sailed under the arches as the sea, tide and wind have to be just right to allow it to be done. The unusual weather system that Ireland has experienced over the past two weeks has allowed this to happen and we now can show this magnificent location in all its beauty.

    The rocks are an important habitat for wildlife and hosts colonies of puffins (7.1% of the total Irish population), storm petrels, kittiwakes, guillemots and other gulls. A large number of seals also live on the islands. It is now a designated SPA (Special Protection Area).

    It gets its name from an unusual source, a Danish sea captain by the name of Mathias De Bille. He was the captain of a Danish Navy frigate called the Bornholm that departed from Copenhagen on 14th December 1781. As the ship rounded Ireland’s north coast on 17th January 1782 a hurricane blew up and drove the Bornholm south along the west coast of Ireland. With its foremast and bowsprit gone the frigate was virtually uncontrollable and but for a tremendous feat of seamanship would have been lost at these rocks and under the treacherous cliffs of Clare Island. Somehow De Bille guided his ship to the relatively calm waters of Melcombe Bay near Newport in Co. Mayo. The weary captain had lost several of his crew during the storm and was horrified to discover that the remaining crew members were now stricken by malignant fever. De Bille also caught the fever himself and was befriended by a local merchant, John McLoughlin, who treated him in his own home. De Bille died there on St. Patrick’s Day 1782. He was buried in Newport with full military honours.

    Achill Tourism has recently launched The Achill Maritime Trail, a series of 19 story boards that are placed at various locations around the island and tell many stories of Achill’s long history with the sea. As well as the story of how Bills Rock got its name, the trail highlights tales of Grace O’Malley, ancient ship wrecks, the basking shark fishing industry and many more tales of triumph and tragedy. The video has shot on 27th June 2018 and features views that have never been seen before. It was filmed by Sean Molloy who travelled there with 2 local experienced local fishermen Gerry Hassett and Martin Kane.

     

     

    Check out Achill Tourism for more wonderful images and events in the area.

  • Minister Creed needs to immediately review the situation where commonage farmers in Achill are having their payments delayed because of a fire that occurred on the mountain on the island last summer.

    Achill based Fianna Fail councillor Paul McNamara made the appeal at the monthly meeting of Mayo county council  this week attended by Minister of State John Paul Phelan.

    He described the impact on farmers having their payments held up or withdrawn, when a fire occurs on commonage that is open and accessible to the general public.

    In one case on Achill there is a 17,000 acres of unfenced commonage held by more than 500 shareholders and with about 200 active farmers and these farmers are told that if there is 20 percent burning of the commonage then all their payments will be withheld.

    But he argued, those farmers cannot be responsible for what they simply can’t control.

  • Former double National Rally champion Declan Boyle took a comfortable victory in the opening round of this year’s Triton Showers series by bringing his Ford Fiesta home 37 seconds clear of the nearest opposition in the Achill Island Hotel-Connacht Print and Signs Mayo Stages Rally yesterday.

    The Donegal driver and his new Monaghan partner James O’Reilly led from the opening stage and were never headed all day, with Josh Moffett and Keith Moriarty taking runner up position ahead of Desi Henry and Liam Moynihan in yet another Fiesta, just over a minute farther back.

    Two more ex-title holders were out of luck, with Donagh Kelly recovering to tenth place at the end after a disastrous puncture, while Roy White slid off the road on the first stage and was completely out of contention by the time he could restart. Adrian Wray won the Group N Production class, with Jason Black and Jack McKenna the Junior winners.

     

  • Funding of €31,320 has been approved to Scian Mara Teo in Achill under the Sustainable Aquaculture Scheme for the expansion of oyster production.

    Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Michael Creed today announced the award of €4,863,643 in grants to 26 seafood enterprises and 3 research institutions in 11 different counties under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme for the seafood sector.

    Minister Michael Ring says he is pleased this funding has been approved which is a total investment of €78,300 in Sciana Mara Teo.

  • The IFA say there are still a number of farmers in Achill and in Sligo that are awaiting payments which were stopped over fires on their land.

    This saga has been ongoing for the best part of nine months.

    Numerous meetings have taken place over the past while, however there a still a lot of people out of pocket according to Eddie Davitt who is the Rural Development Chairman for the IFA in Sligo.

  • A helmet and lifejacket believed to be from crashed Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 have been recovered from the Atlantic almost 16 months after the tragedy.

    Gardaí confirmed that a fisherman discovered the items while fishing just off the west coast — about one nautical mile north of Achill Island last Thursday, July 12th.

    The Irish Examiner is today reporting that the items were found about 12km south of where the Dublin-based search and rescue helicopter crashed in the early hours of March 14, 2017, while on a mission.

    Rescue 116 struck Blackrock Island while it was flying on a route to refuel at Blacksod, and crashed into the sea, with the loss of all four crew on board.

    Capt Dara Fitzpatrick was recovered from the water within hours and was later pronounced dead in hospital. Following an extensive search operation, the body of Capt Mark Duffy was recovered from the wreckage in about 40m of water off Blackrock Island by divers on March 26. Two other crew members, winch-man Ciaran Smith and winch operator Paul Ormsby are still missing.

    Aircraft’s flight data was recovered and salvage experts later helped recover the main bulk of the helicopter for inspection.

    Air accident reports have been published and recommendations made but this discovery of items which may be directly linked to the two missing crew is the most significant development since.

    It is understood the items were discovered after a fisherman hauled his tangle gear on board last Thursday evening.

    A Garda spokesman confirmed that the items have been handed to Gardaí in Belmullet, who are overseeing the investigation into the deaths of the helicopter crew, and who have now taken possession of the items.

  • Ray Clarke, Mayo & District Motorsport Club Chief Marshal has announced an interesting incentive as a way of saying thank you to all marshals who are out in action for the weekend of the Mayo Stages Rally 2018 on the 10th & 11th March in Achill. The concept is that every Marshal will be entered into a draw for a fantastic prize of three hotel vouchers, one being allocated to each stage of the event. The voucher will entitle the winner to three night’s accommodation for two people in any one of 65 hotels of their choosing (see leaflet attached). The draw will take place during the course of the rally day and the winners will be announced at prize giving in rally HQ that evening. 

    Mayo & District Motorsport Club would like to thank our neighbouring Motor Clubs and in particular their Marshal Coordinators for all their efforts in recruiting marshals for the Mayo Stages.  With less than 3 weeks to go, we look forward to welcoming you to Achill on the weekend of the 10th & 11th March. 

    For anyone who would like to get involved and help on the day, Marshal Training will take place in Óstán Oileán Acla on Sunday 4th of March at 2pm, all welcome.   For more information you can contact Ray on 087 2386427 or by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

     

     

  • This Saturday evening 17th February marks the official launch of the Óstán Oileán Acla / Connacht Print & Signs Mayo Stages Rally 2018.  The launch will take place at Óstán Oileán Acla, Achill starting at 6pm.

    The Mayo Stages Rally is one of the largest annual sporting events in the county, attracting thousands of visitors every March and Mayo & District Motorsport Club are looking forward to another successful event.   The 2017 event which was also held in Achill gained much praise from competitors and spectators alike on the challenging nature of the roads, the scenic beauty and the warm welcome; Mayo & District Motorsport Club are delighted to return to Achill once more for another exciting event.

    This year the Mayo Stages Rally is the opening round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship in addition to also being the opening round of the Sligo Pallets Border Rally Championship.  Saturday evening will be a great opportunity for the event sponsors to meet with club members and the local community and in keeping with past launches there will be a static rally car display at the hotel and local and national competitors will be in attendance.  This promises to be an interesting and entertaining evening and all are welcome.

  • Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has confirmed today that farmers in Achill who had their payments held up or withdrawn, due to a fire on their commonage, will receive their payments.

    That was confirmed by Fianna Fail Councillor Paul McNamara.

    On Monday Cllr McNamara made an appeal at the monthly meeting of Mayo County Council attended by Minister of State John Paul Phelan.

    In one case on Achill there is a 17,000 acres of unfenced commonage held by more than 500 shareholders and with about 200 active farmers and these farmers are told that if there is 20 percent burning of the commonage then all their payments will be withheld.

    But Cllr McNamara argued, those farmers cannot be responsible for what they simply can’t control.

    This morning Minister Creed has confirmed the farmers will receive their payments.

  • A Mayo pensioner, living in London, who suffers from Alzheimer's  and had been missing has been found safe and well.

    78 year old Bridget Ann McLaughlin,  a native of Saula, Achill, living in Hayes, London is with her family this lunchtime.

    Metropolitan police had appealed for public assistance in locating her.

  • Phase two of the Achill Aquarium & Visitors Centre is being officially opened today.

    The acquarium celebrated its 2nd birthday earlier this week, and has already welcomed some 40,000 visitors.

    It’s quickly becoming an important asset to the tourism offering on Achill Island, according to Minister Michael Ring, who will officially open the extension to the Aquarium and Visitor Centre today.

  • A section of the greenway that links Castlebar to Turlough is subsiding into the Castlebar river at present, but Mayo County Council Tourism Officer Anna O’Connor says work will get underway on restoring the path this week.

    Severe winter weather, with high water levels in the river impact on the greenway, and the local authority will use a bio engineering product “willow” to repair the damage.

    Mayo has 80 km in total of greenway, the largest 42 km section runs from Westport to Achill, there is also a greenway in Ballina, and another in the county town.

    Funding of 100,000 euro is allocated annually in Mayo county Council’s budget for Greenway Maintenance. This figure was described as inadequate by Achill based Fianna Fail councillor Paul McNamara at a recent Special policy committee on tourism.

    He says if the county is serious about being an international tourist location more funding needs to be invested in facilities and maintenance along our greenways.

    Ann O’Connor says the plan is to expand the greenways in the county. She says it generally takes 200km of a cycle route to attract international cyclists.

    Speaking to Midwest News today she said  that in addition to the funding for maintenance of the greenways, there is also a Green Patrol that assist in keeping the routes in good condition.

  • It’s three years since a €3 million euro Signature Discovery Point was announced for Keem Bay in Achill, but there’s no sign of the project being delivered.

    That’s according to Achill-based Councillor Paul McNamara who questioned council management on the issue again this week, at the monthly meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District.

    It's the second signature discovery point in Mayo, following developments at Downpatrick.

    The Wild Atlantic Way Signature Discovery Point at Keem Bay would include a viewing platform and looped walk, and is expected to provide a major tourism boost for Achill Island.

    However- despite a public consultation process three years ago – Councillor McNamara claims Mayo County Council has now taken a back seat on this project.