A spin up to Minaun Heights is one of the best things to do on Achill.
It’s here that you’ll be treated to some of the best views across the island (the fact that it’s easy to drive to is the icing on the cake!).
Below, you’ll find some warnings (please take note of these) along with what to see while you’re there.
Some quick need-to-knows about Minaun Heights
Before you jump in the car and head up to Minaun Heights, it’s worth checking out the basics first of all.
Minaun Heights sits more or less in the centre of Achill Island and stretches to the island’s west coast. Located off the west coast of County Mayo, the island can be reached by car, with a bridge connecting it to the mainland. It’s a 30-minute drive from Mulranny, a 45-minute drive from Newport and a 1-hour drive from Westport.
You’ll find a spacious car park pretty much at the top of Minaun Heights, making it easy for everyone to enjoy the spectacular views. From the car park, you can walk to the peak in around 15 minutes or so. If everyone parks properly, there’s plenty of space up there, though you may want to get up there early during the high (no pun intended) season.
3. Please Drive Slowly
The drive up to the top is absolutely beautiful, winding up a narrow track that boasts amazing views as it steadily climbs the hill. However, being steep and narrow, it’s important to drive carefully up and down. Walkers and cyclists also use the road and passing points can feel few and far between if you come face to face with another vehicle on your way up. Take it slow and keep your wits about you and it’ll be grand.
4. The Weather
The views from Minaun Heights on a clear, sunny day are absolutely fantastic. You can see across the entire island for miles, enjoying the sight of the sparkling blue sea crashing against golden bays and craggy cliffs. But, it can be foggy and misty up the top, which can somewhat spoil the views if it’s too thick. Having said that, some low cloud that doesn’t completely block the view can be incredibly beautiful in its own right. It can also get pretty windy up the top, so take care and don’t stand too close to the cliff edges.
5. Part of the Atlantic Drive
Minaun Heights viewpoint is a key stop on the Atlantic Drive, a superb road that covers all the best sights and attractions on Achill Island. You can drive or cycle the route, but if you’re on a bike, be prepared for a lung busting ride to the top of Minaun Heights.
What to expect from a visit up to Minaun Heights
It may be a little bit of a detour, but it really is worth checking out Minaun Heights if you find yourself on Achill Island. Need a little more convincing? Here’s what to expect.
1. The Narrow Road That Leads to It
For avid road trippers, the narrow road that takes you up to the viewpoint is absolutely stunning, and a joy to drive. It can be a bit hairy at times, especially if heights give you the trembles, but if you take it easy and enjoy the ride, it’s a real joy.
Going down again is just as fun, taking in all the views that were behind you as you made your way up the road.
2. The 360 views
Talking about views, the panoramas from the top of Minaun Heights are unrivalled when it comes to showcasing the beauty of Achill Island.
On one side, you’ll see the stunning Keel Bay stretching out below, while looking behind you showcases the majestic White Cliffs of Ashleam. On a clear day, you can easily see the tropical-looking Keem Bay and the peaks of both Slievemore and Croaghaun.
Away from the ocean, you’ll see the stark boglands, vivid green farm fields, and lively villages that make up the island.
3. A Sunset Stunner
Get up to Minaun Heights to catch one of the best sunsets you could hope for. Whether you’re planning to take an award-winning photograph or simply relish the sight of the sinking sun, there are few better places. For that matter, it’s also a great place for sunrise.
Being alone on the peak as the red disco of the sun sets or rises offers an almost mystical experience.
Things to do near Minaun Heights
One of the beauties of Minaun Heights is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit on Achill.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from here (see our Achill restaurants guide if you’re hungry!).
1. Keel Beach (20-minute drive)
Keel Beach can clearly be seen from Minaun Heights, a long stretch of golden sand running from the bottom of Minaun Cliffs to Keel village. It’s one of the most popular beaches on Achill Island and offers a clatter of things to do.
2. White Cliffs of Ashleam (20-minute drive)
The White Cliffs of Ashleam viewpoint is another place that’s well worth seeking out. The jagged cliffs seem to slice into the crashing ocean, while the bright white rock face contrasts with the vivid blue ocean. There are also fantastic views through the valley behind to the peaks beyond.
3. Keem Bay (30-minute drive)
The road to Keem Bay is another stunning one, cutting across the shoulder of the mighty Croaghaun. Keem boasts another Blue Flag Beach and almost tropical scenery. The gorgeous golden sands meet an azure sea, all neatly tucked in between rolling green slopes.
FAQs about Minaun Heights on Achill
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is the drive dangerous?’ to ‘How long does it take?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Is Minaun Heights worth visiting?
Yes. It’s a short drive to the top and the views on a clear day are just out of this world, especially at sunset.
Is Minaun Heights dangerous?
There’s some exposed drops in places so please use caution. Also, the road up is narrow, so drive slowly/keep an eye out for approaching vehicles.
Andy was once on a glorious worldwide trip on his equally glorious motorcycle. After 4 years, he’d still only made it as far as Eastern Europe, before falling in love with his surroundings and deciding to settle down a while. Nowadays, he spends his time writing about traveling through the places he once explored, normally while sipping a pint.