New Year’s Eve on Achill Island, Ireland

New Year Celebrations 2021 / 2022

For a New Year celebration with a difference, why not try Achill Island, Co. Mayo, on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way? Connected by a bridge to the mainland, Ireland’s largest island boasts a number of events and features to make a truly memorable New Year’s experience.

Last Sunset in Europe

At ten degrees west, Achill is one of the last places in Europe to see the final sunset of the old year.

After watching the sun go down, check out our Eating Out in Achill listings for a New Year’s Eve meal (booking in advance strongly recommended) and our What’s On in Achill guide for listings of music and entertainment.

Achill Pipe Bands

Join one of Achill’s famous village pipe bands to ring in the New Year at the stroke of midnight. Bands in Dooagh, Pollagh, Keel and Dookinella traditionally mark the New Year with a rousing tune. Some then march to St. Patrick’s Church, Pollagh.

New Year’s Day Swim

1pm, Silver Strand, Dugort. A New Year’s Day dip in the bracing Atlantic Ocean. Join hundreds of hardy souls for a pre-dip workout (optional) and splash in the sea. Collection for RNLI on the day.

Video from 2017 New Year’s Day Swim, Dugort, Achill Island

The last sundown in Europe

Achill 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.

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.

For the ‘morning after the night before’ how about a bracing dip in the Atlantic at the traditional New Year’s Day swim at Dugort? 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.