Keem Bay and Beach

On a sunny day, Keem Bay and Beach feel like a little piece of heaven on earth. And the experience starts before you even get there, as you approach along the winding and breathtaking cliff-top road.

Keem’s International Fame

Tucked away between some of Achill’s trademark cliffs, Keem’s horseshoe bay has made its name far beyond Co. Mayo. Its shores have often been featured on “Best Beaches in the World” lists (including Condé Nest Traveller’s).
The area also features prominently in the Oscar-nominated film, “The Banshees of Inisherin”. The movie’s beach scenes were filmed here and it’s also where Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson’s character) lives.

Keem Bay’s Fishing History

In the past, Keem Bay was a key fishing location for Achill Island. Fishermen used traditional currachs, made from a wooden frame and animal hides.
The beach is believed to have been the location of “Launching the Currach”, a famous 1910 painting by Paul Henry. Originally from Belfast, Paul lived on the island for 10 years. The painting is currently on display in the National Gallery of Ireland.
During the 1950s and 1960s, a basking shark fishery operated out of the bay. Sharks were hunted for their liver oil, which was sold to and used by the aerospace industry.
Now, the basking sharks can enjoy the beautiful Achill coastline in peace. Keep an eye out for them when you visit Keem during your Achill Island Day Tour. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot some dolphins too.

The Legend of Keem Beach

According to folklore, Keem Beach even caught the attention of Ireland’s patron saint – St. Patrick. It’s said that during his time on Croagh Patrick, he was transfixed by the beauty of Keem’s golden sands in the distance. He blessed the beach, declaring that nobody would ever drown in its waters.

Keem Bay: A Watersports Hotspot

Keem Beach is a Blue Flag beach, with lifeguards regularly on duty during the summer months. As well as being perfect for a fun family day by the sea, it’s home to a wide range of watersports. Snorkelling is especially popular, thanks to the bay’s crystal clear waters. The bay has a designated snorkelling trail, suitable for beginners and experts alike.
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