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Frederic William Burton - The Meeting on the Turret Stairs, 1864
The Meeting on the Turret Stairs, 1864
Frederic William Burton
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The Achill Yawl Sailing Festival
Sailing fans can enjoy the competitive races this July and August in County Mayo

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Photo by S. Barrett

by Suzanne Barrett

Sailing fans can enjoy the competitive races at the Achill Yawl Sailing Festival. County Mayo will play host to the Achill Yawl Sailing Festival, which will run through July and August and involve a series of weekly races taking place at various locations along Achill Sound, the body of Atlantic water that connects Clew Bay with Blacksod Bay on the west coast of Ireland.

This annual event sees competitive contests take place between crews who race their Achill Yawl sailing boat against one another. The traditional wooden seafaring vessel is made with a solid hull with a single mast and has in recent years, made something of a revival, thanks in part to the success of Cruinniu Badoiri Acia and a dedicated workshop being established in Mulranny to build new yawls. If you are planning to travel to the west coast of Ireland, cars can be hired from Dublin and other major cities, allowing you the freedom to explore the island and enjoy the stunning landscapes.

The festival runs until the end of August with races taking place at weekends and in evenings providing there are favourable weather conditions and the tide allows competition to take place. This exciting spectator sport has proved an ever-popular event with visitors as teams from Achill and Mulranny compete for various cups and the local honors.

Mulranny is an idyllic seaside village located on the neck of land between Clew Bay and Blacksod Bay and is home to numerous long, sandy, blue flag beaches making it a favorable location for families. The Corraun Peninsula, containing three mountain peaks dominates the landscape, providing incredible coastal walks and stunning views. Shore fishing is a popular past time here and the village has a friendly ambience with many hospitable local pubs.

Achill Island is the largest island in the country with a population of around 2,700. It is attached to the mainland by Michael Davitt Bridge allowing guests to drive onto the island freely, but is made up of 87 per cent peat bog. However, there are many places of natural beauty to be found, including the cliffs of Croaghaun on the western end of the island and boast to be the highest sea cliffs in Europe. Surfing is a popular activity on the island for locals, but also attracts a number of visitors who brave the unpredictable Atlantic waters.

Until next time.

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