Keel Beach to Ballina
This driving route from Keel Beach on Achill to Ballina Quay in Mayo has some spectacular places to visit, including one of the top beaches in the world at Keem Beach. You can of course also travel in the other direction from Ballina to Achill.
Achill Island in itself is spectacular and there are plenty of watersports and other activities to do on the lake and in the sea. It is worth perhaps staying a few days on Achill Island to enjoy what it has to offer.
This particular route is quite a long one and some parts of the road, in my opinion, are not as spectacular as some other parts of the WAW.
I have recently added the Mullet peninsula as a separate route, as it also has some Discovery points worth visiting. So you may wish to split this Keel Beach to Ballina route and visit Belmullet as well. Belmullet is roughly halfway along this route.
Benwee Head is definitely worth a visit for its stunning cliffs but as destinations go, Achill Island is definitely a must-see.
Achill to Ballina Map
Approx. 236km distance, 4 hrs 30 minutes driving time
Download the route map with ALL points of interest included here: Keel Beach to Ballina.
This is one of the fabulous beaches on Achill Island. It looks out over to Minaun cliffs on the left-hand side. You can see a live Achill webcam of the beach here.
There is a campsite here but we were able, like many others to wild camp here, only 50m from the beach. It is a great spot to Wild Camp here.
A perfect spot with public loos nearby as well as a pub, some restaurants and a village store.
I have camped here several times now. The beach is stunning and it is well worth a visit.
The lovely drive from Keel to Keem Beach is only a short 9km, and you can do it in 15 minutes.
This beach was one of the main locations used in filming the Banshees of Inishirin. The house looking over the beach is that of Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson) in the movie.
I have visited now several times and it never disappoints. The road approaching the beach drives around the mountain with superb views out to sea and Achill Island.
When you get there there is limited parking available, so you should try and get there early morning. On my first visit, we swam in the early morning at about 08.00 a.m. and had the beach to ourselves. We were joined by a seal in the water.
Basking sharks are known to often visit the beach, where the water is crystal clear and there are wonderful views out to Clare Island and other mountains in Mayo.
There are public toilets available and food trucks during the summer.
This deserted village lies between Keel and Dugort. There is a car park a short walk away from the village and cemetery. The remains of about 100 old stone cottages are still there.
A pebbly beach located at the North end of Achill Island. There is a campsite there but you need to book upfront to ensure a place.
On a clear day, you can have a fantastic view here over the entire Achill Island.
Park at the mast and walk the 1km to the top where there is a statue of Our Lady.
Worth the detour if the weather is good and you have time.
Doran’s point is a small pier, quite a long drive out of the way which is only really worth visiting if you are intending to visit Inishbiggle Island. There is a ferry service to the island but you will need to contact them beforehand.
This small sparsely populated Island (<20 people) has a loop walk from Bullsmouth and Gubnadoogha.
This is another Discovery point where we struggled to find the WAW Discovery sign, which was not where we thought it was.
We actually saw the Discovery Point on the way north as we left the area but were in convoy so I could not stop.
Not much to see around here apart from the views, so I would only go back here with a good reason to do so, as it was quite a drive out of the way.
Claggan Island (Oileán Chloigeann) has only officially been an island since 1991. It is located near the entrance to the Mullet Peninsula at Belmullet. It is connected to the mainland by a sandy causeway and the island is surrounded by sandy beaches.
The causeway divides Trawmore Bay from Blacksod Bay. There are caves to explore and the island is a perfect place for a quiet peaceful walk. There are some great views of Achill and the Mullet peninsula on a clear day.
This Discovery point is incorrectly marked on some websites. These impressive cliffs are higher than the cliffs of Moher at 255m. There is a sculpture here from Tír Sáile close to the Discovery Point post. This one is called A Home for the Children of Lir.
This location is on the Wild Atlantic Way but is not included on this particular route as it is about an hour’s detour to get there. So if you wish to visit this location add another hour of driving to the route. It is worth the detour as the cliffs are very impressive.
This Neolithic site is the location of the earliest known fields which are hidden under a bog on the Mayo coast.
The site looks out to Downpatrick Head and there is a visitor’s centre here where you can explore 6 millennia of Mayo history.
This signature point at Downpatrick Head is made distinct by the Dun Briste Sea Stack that dominates the location.
This location was home to the 4th Red Bull cliff diving series in 2021. The location has some absolutely stunning cliffs.
A spectacular place to do competitive cliff diving. The location has a huge blowhole (Pul Na Sean Tinne-‘Hole of the old fire’).
There is also the ruins of St. Patrick’s Church. There is also a lookout post dating back to WWII and an Eire 64 sign, used during the war to signal the neutral Irish location to planes overhead.
Lacken strand is a large sandy unspoiled beach off the beaten track. It is the starting Point to an 11km blue loop walk.
The locals have horse races here in May every year.
This is the location of the Battle of Killala, between the British and Irish rebels and French troops during the Irish rebellion of 1798.
There is a plaque here to the Irish and French who lost their lives in the battle.
The Irish rebellion was a major uprising against British Rule in Ireland but led eventually to the Acts of Union in 1800.
This Quay in Ballina is situated on the river Moy, Ireland’s most productive salmon river.
The salmon season is between May and August and we saw salmon jumping at this location.
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Last Updated on October 13, 2023 by Gav