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Home to Ireland’s lowest corry and a magnificent hidden beach, hiking to Annagh Bay has to be one of Ireland’s most rewarding routes.
Duration: 3 hours
Highlights: Ireland’s lowest corry lake situated right by the sea, it is quite a sight to behold.
Don’t miss: There are a few better swimming spots in the Ireland so don’t be afraid to take the plunge!
Living in Ireland we are fairly accustomed to wow moments. After all, our scenery is some of the best in the world. However, nothing could have quite prepared us for what lay before us on our latest venture on Achill Island.
From the moment we left the car at Lough Acorrymore, to the moment we return some four hours later, we were in utter awe of our surroundings. Lough Acorrymore a geographical feat in itself – high cliffs surround a glassy lake, green hills rolling up and up to one side and views out across the sea behind. If that had been the start and end of the great views we would have been satisfied!
However, I am not sure anything could have prepared us for what was in store. Following a web of sheep tracks up to the saddle of the mountain, this hike is very manageable for all levels of fitness and ability. And any effort expended is more than rewarded on the other side of the mountain, in fact, the views are so good, words will do that little justice.
Stretched out before you is the wild Atlantic, a vibrant blue which changes to a tropical green and then turquoise blue as it reaches the shores of a crisp, white sandy beach.
Stretched out before you is the wild Atlantic, a vibrant blue which changes to a tropical green and then turquoise blue as it reaches the shores of a crisp, white sandy beach. Set a couple of metres back from the beach, divided by a thin stretch of electric green lies a glassy corry lake, the lowest in Ireland. My heart actually skipped a beat as I took in what lay before me. Leaping down the side of the mountain I was eager to get closer to this natural wonder.
Wild swimming fanatics are spoilt for choice, so much so you will find it hard to choose between the dark mystical waters of the corry and the crystal clear waters of the sea as you stand on the narrow grassy verge dividing them both.
In the end I chose the sea and as I plunged beneath the icy waters of the wild Atlantic Ocean I am not sure I have ever felt so alive, happy, or numb for that matter!
Despite the fact that it feels so remote, Annagh Bay is very easy to access. If you are heading to Keem, take the right turn signposted Reservoir and follow the road until it goes no further. You need to cross the small bridge over Lough Acorrymore, following the sheep tracks up the side of the hill, right up to the saddle which you will clearly see up ahead. Once at the saddle you need to head down the other side, taking the path around the left side of Lough Nakeeroge towards the small beach. When the weather plays ball, the beach makes a fantastic wild camping spot! The walk to the beach takes about 1.5hrs over rough terrain.
Where to stay on Achill:
Pure Magic on Achill offers rustic charm, a comfortable bed, good food and a bit of craic to boot. Be prepared to take part in a good old sing-song late into the night as the owner, Francois belts out his favourite Irish tunes on his accordion – we promise you will never meet a more Irish Frenchman!
In addition to accommodation and food, Pure Magic also offers kite-surfing and stand-up paddling boarding.
Check out puremagic.ie for further details.
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