Why put the Amethyst gemstone along with Achill Island as the caption of this article. Apart from the fact they are both beautiful. Amethysts are actually found on the Island. Firstly, let me tell you about the beautiful island just off the west coast of County Mayo, Ireland. Interestingly, it is only accessible by road. There are rail services from Dublin to Westport or Castlebar while a daily bus service connects Achill to these two towns and the national bus network.
Achill Island has a stunning landscape and rich history. It is perfect for exploring on a weekend or short break. The island has five 'Blue Flag beaches'. The 'Deserted Village' at Slievemore is a reminder of times gone by. It is made up of some 80 stone cottages located at the base of the Slievemore mountain, the 'Deserted Village' offers us a fascinating insight into life on Achill in former times. The area is also rich in archaeological artefacts, including megalithic tombs. Local field systems and site remnants indicate that settlement in this area dates from early Mediaval time.
Achill provides an unrivalled location for outdoor activities. Watersports such as surfing, windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking are all to be enjoyed. If you prefer a calmer activity Achill's romantic setting has proved to be an inspiring creative retreat for artists and writers. Fishing on Achill is also popular. Whether sea angling from a charter boat or casting from the shore. The Atlantic water around Achill Island and the Curraun Peninsula are home to a wide range of sealife and varieties of fish, making the area one of the best sea angling destinations in Ireland. Not forgeting the golfers, Achill offers a nine-hole golf course in a magnificent location at Keel that is open to visitors at a reasonable rate. A nine-hole pitch and putt course is also available.
Achill is characterised by its large expanses of blanket bog/peatlands. Peatlands are recognised as one of the unique features of Achill's heritage. The peatlands of Achill which sweep from the mountains to the sea sustain unique communities of plant and animal life. Fauna - many animals such as the Irish hare, fox, Irish stoat, badger, pygmy shrew and bats are observed. Ireland's only lizard (lacerta viviparta) is also present on Achill. One important animal to the local ecosystem is the common frog, which is found on most of the habitats in Achill. A beautiful moth the 'elephant hawk moth' breeds on the island also.
Here comes the connection between Achill island and the stunning Amethyst.
Keem Bay is a perfect horseshoe bay at the head of a valley between the cliffs of Benmore to the west and Croaghaun mountain on the east. Keem is accessible for cars via a clifftop road. This road also crosses a local geological boundary, exposing a seam of amethyst quartz in the cliffside. Amethyst is a semiprecious stone with a magnificent purple to violet coloration. The amethyst is said in folklore to have a number of properties, as a love charm, or as protection against thieves and drunkenesss, and as an aide to sleep.
So for all you treasure seekers out there. Why not come to Achill island and hunt for amethyst. The best time to search is immediately after heavy rainfall and lets face it Ireland get plenty of that!
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