Tread the path of a bygone age
Deserted Village to Dooagh Path
Distance 2.5 miles
Trail Surface Gravel path and bog road
What to bring Walking shoes or runners, rain gear, camera
Dogs No dogs please, this is an active sheep-farming area
Achill Island was made for outdoor enthusiasts; it has great mountain hikes, blue-flag beaches, water sports, cycling trails and activity centres. You can even cycle to the island along the Great Western Greenway. Visit www.achilltourism.com for more information on what to do in Achill – there’s a wealth of material there.
The island has plenty of low-level walks, and one of the best is along the path that leads from the Deserted Village near Keel to Dooagh village. This is an unmarked, linear walk of about two-and-a-half miles. It’s on a gravel pathway that is suitable for all levels of fitness, and there is only one small hill to climb, a sturdy buggy can be used on the path if you want to bring young children.
This is a linear walk so if you leave a car at the Deserted Village you will need to arrange transport to get back, or simply retrace your steps back along the pathway, alternatively if you are feeling energetic you can walk back to the Deserted Village along the main road via Keel – this will add three miles to your walk.
The Deserted Village is situated at the foot of the Slievemore Mountain on the road from Keel to Dugort. Today, the area houses about 80 cottages in various states of ruin, spread along a one-mile stretch of an ancient road. The cottages date from at least the 19th century, and probably date to medieval times, though archaeological investigation suggests that the current structures were actually built on the site of a much older settlement.
Starting at the Deserted Village, walk westward through the ruined houses for about a mile until you reach an abandoned quartz mine. To your right, you will see a lookout tower dating from the 1800s which was part of a coastal defence system of the time.
Veer left at the mine and continue uphill where you will be rewarded by a great view of the sea with Bill’s Rocks in the distance. A gentle stroll downhill brings you to the main road at Dooagh.
There are lots of other walks on the island, including a short loop walk that starts and finishes at Dooagh strand, as well as a shoreline walk from Dooagh to Keel beach via Purteen pier.
This article is the ninth in the Living section Walk of the Month series, which describes a different Mayo walk at the start of each month.
Tom Carolan works for South West Mayo Development Company. His job involves the design, construction and promotion of recreational trails. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.