Stormy Dookinella, a tiny seaside village located on Achill Island (Ireland) and clinging on to the edge of Europe. Achill Island Achill Island (/ˈækəl/; Irish: Acaill, Oileán Acla) in County Mayo is the largest island off the coast of Ireland, and is situated off the west coast. It has a population of 2,700. Its area is 148 km2 (57 sq mi). Achill is attached to the mainland by Michael Davitt Bridge, between the villages of Gob an Choire (Achill Sound) and Poll Raithní (Polranny). A bridge was first completed here in 1887, replaced by another structure in 1949, and subsequently replaced with the current bridge which was completed in 2008. Other centres of population include the villages of Dookinella, Keel, Dooagh, Dumha Éige (Dooega), Dún Ibhir (Dooniver), The Valley and Dugort. The parish’s main Gaelic football pitch and two secondary schools are on the mainland at Poll Raithní. The island is 87% peat bog. The parish of Achill also includes the Curraun peninsula. Some of the people of Curraun consider themselves Achill people, and most natives of Achill refer to this area as being “in Achill”. There are between 500-600 native Irish speakers in Achill parish. In the summer of 1996, the RNLI decided to station a lifeboat at Kildownet.
Early human settlements are believed to have been established on Achill around 3000 BC. A paddle dating from this period was found at the crannóg near Dookinella. It is believed that at the end of the Neolithic Period (around 4000 BC), Achill had a population of 500–1,000 people. The island would have been mostly forest until the Neolithic people began crop cultivation. Settlement increased during the Iron Age, and the dispersal of small promontory forts around the coast indicate the warlike nature of the times. Megalithic tombs (see picture, right) and forts can be seen at Slievemore, along the Atlantic Drive and on Achillbeg.