Achill Island - Irish Pictures (1888)

From Irish Pictures Drawn with Pen and Pencil (1888) by Richard Lovett

Chapter VII: Connemara … continued

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The two special things for which many visit Achill are to see the seal caves and to look down Croghan. The caves are visited by boat, and are about two miles from Dugort. If the trip is made when the animals are inside, their cries can be heard mingling with the noise of the waves, and as the boat draws near they may be seen swimming away beneath in affright.

The Croghan is a long range of cliff forming the west coast of Achill. The approach from the land side is gradual, but when the proper point is reached by creeping cautiously to the edge and looking over, the explorer can gaze down 2,000 feet of sheer precipice. ' The mountain seemed to have been rent in twain by some stupendous convulsion of Nature, and half its mass to have dropped bodily into the ocean. We stood on the summit, and below us the Atlantic surged and roared, beating on the jagged rocks, and sending columns of white foam high into the air. It made us giddy to look down the face of the cliffs.

In some places the rocks under us were hidden from our view, as they toppled over the sea at an angle of sixty degrees. In the recesses of these mighty cliffs, which extend their bare crags against the sea for five miles, from Saddle Head to Achill Head, numbers of golden eagles have their eyries, and flocks of wild goats have their habitation, affording sport that equals chamois hunting in its danger and excitement, and requires the sure foot of the mountaineer and the skill of the deerstalker.'[4]

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[4] Midland Great Western Railway Handbook, p. 51.