The last sundown in Europe

achill-island-tourism-11Achill is located on a longitude of approximately 10 degrees west, making it one of the most westerly points in Europe. This means that Achill enjoys one of the last sunsets in Europe, and that on New Year’s Eve Achill is one of the best places in Europe to see the final sundown of the year.

On the final sunset of the last Millennium, on 31st December 1999, hundreds of people drove up to the observation point on Minaun to watch dusk fall over Keel and Achill Head and out over the Atlantic towards North America – the same view as shown in the picture, above right.

A perfect location for a short break, Achill boasts a good range of family-run restaurants and hotels serving high quality and reasonably priced countryfare, with seafood a speciality. The pubs and bars on Achill provide an abundance of live entertainment, from the traditional seisun to contemporary bands and entertainers.

At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve there is a tradition in many villages on Achill for their pipe bands to welcome in the New Year. A short parade followed by a rally of three or more Achill pipe bands provides a rousing and unforgettable New Year’s celebration for all the family.

achill-island-tourism-12For the ‘morning after the night before’ how about a bracing dip in the Atlantic at the traditional New Year’s Day swim at Dugort (pictured, right)? The waters at that time of year are cold enough to test the New Year’s resolve of the hardiest swimmers. For a more relaxing start to the New Year, Achill offers a wide range of hillwalks for all abilities, while the 3km beach at Keel is a popular place for a brisk walk to kick start a New Year’s exercise regime.

Video of New Year’s Day Swim 2011