Water Sports, Achill Island in Co. Mayo
Achill Island is a haven for a variety of water sports such as diving, surfing, windsurfing, sea kayaking and canoeing.
With magnificent cliffs, excellent beaches and pristine waters, scuba diving around Achill affords the opportunity to explore a wealth of sea life in an unspoilt environment. The Atlantic waters off the Achill coastline are rich in marine biology and other historical features for the diver to explore.
The wreck of the Aghia Eirini lies in 15 metres on a rocky bottom on the western shore of the island. This 4330 ton steamer ran aground and was wrecked on Dec 10th 1940 at Achill Head, close to a cove which is surrounded by high cliffs.
The first deep-sea diver in Ireland, Jimmy O’Gorman, arrived in Achill shortly afterwards to help salvage the wreck of the Aghia Eirini and there began an interest in diving in the area, which is continued to this day by the Achill Dive Centre.
Surfing is another major attraction with Keel strand being one of Ireland's most popular surfing destinations. Surfing tuition and surf board hire are available locally. Nearby Keel lake is popular with windsurfers, kitesurfers, canoeists and kayakers.
The lake is easily accessible for cars, thus allowing watersports enthusiasts to convey their equipment right up to the lake edge. Kitesurfing lessons are available locally. Sea kayaking is also available from local outdoor activities schools and providers.
Stand-Up Paddle boarding is one of the newest and fastest-growing watersports, which combines a surfboard and a long one-handed paddle. It is an excellent sport for surfers and non-surfers alike, which promotes balance, strength and general fitness.
Keel lake is ideal for beginners to Stand-Up Paddle boarding, while the Atlantic waters around Achill are suitable for the more experienced SUP boarders.
Courses and tuition in most of the above watersports are available seasonally on Achill Island and some courses are residential.