Only a beach in the sun-soaked Caribbean and a beach in a Hawaiian paradise stood in the way of Achill’s Keem Bay of being ranked the world’s best beach.
The island’s jewel has been ranked third by another prestigious travel magazine mere weeks after a leading travel magazine ranked Keem as the eleventh best beach in the world.
In selecting their top 20 beaches in the world, Condé Nast Traveller chose Mayo’s Keem Bay at number three, just behind first placed Grand Anse in Grenada and Honopu Beach on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.
It comes hot on the heels of travel website Big 7 naming Keem as the eleventh best beach in the world in its annual list of the top 50 beaches in the world.
Keem Bay is the only Irish beach to make either list.
Journalist Lizzie Pook compiled the top 20 for Condé Nast Traveller.
She wrote this about Keem Bay:
“It’s a windy road to Keem Bay, but the staggering cliff-top views are worth it. This sheltered inlet, on Achill Island in County Mayo, is almost unknown to visitors, but its clear malachite waters and soft biscuit sand makes it a family-friendly spot – that’s also wonderfully crowd free. Bring binoculars for spotting basking sharks; in warmer summer months you’ll find herds of ice-cream vans in the car park.”
Condé Nast Traveller is from the Condé Nast mass media company also responsible for such renowned publications as GQ, The New Yorker, Vogue and Vanity Fair.
In reaching number three in the Condé Nast list, Keem finished ahead of beaches from such world renowned destinations as Mauritius, the Seychelles, Fiji, Brazil, Australia and the Galapagos Islands. It was the highest ranked ranked of three beaches in Europe that made the list, ahead of a beach in Greece and another in Iceland.
Big 7 Travel is a very popular online travel guide. They ranked Keem at 11th, sandwiched between a beach in Cape Town, South Africa and the Bahamas.
Keem was ranked highest of three beaches in Ireland and the UK with a beach in Cornwall ranked 22nd and a beach on Monach Islands off Scotland coming in at number 40.
Indeed, Keem was the fourth highest beach in all of Europe in the Big 7 survey.
The beaches were placed using a combination of readers votes, aggregated scores from previous media results, official Blue Flag locations and contributions from the Big 7 Travel editorial team.
“Keem Bay is a breathtaking rural and sheltered beach surrounded by cliffs on Ireland’s largest island – Achill Island. Its gleaming white sand rivals tropical islands and the water is superbly clear,” wrote Big 7 Travel.
“The sun might not always be shining, but when it does it’s world-class. And yes, it’s beautiful even on a rainy day.”
The latest acknowledgement for Keem Bay has been a major shot in the arm for the tourism industry on Achill Island.
“Not only has Ireland a world class beach but it is here in Achill. It is a natural, unspoilt beach and is a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike,” Chris McCarthy, Manager of Achill Tourism told The Mayo News.
“Both publications would be considered highly influential and would be read by a huge number of potential visitors.
“Keem Bay is a huge attraction at the end of the Wild Atlantic Way. It is secluded but is also serviced with public toilets and a lifeguard in the summer season,” he said.
Located at the very western end of Achill Island, Keem Bay is a sheltered beach surrounded by cliffs. To get there, drivers have to drive along a stunning cliff-top road with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and of the beach itself.
It is one of four Blue Flag beaches on the island together with Keel, Silver Strand in Dugort and Dooega.