Achill Island Sea Salt

Home / Place / Achill Island Sea Salt

Achill Island Sea Salt really captures the essence of this captivating island on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Read Our Review

Achill Island Sea Salt

The O'Malley Family, Achill Island Sea Salt, Achill Island, Co. Mayo, Irish Food, Good Food Ireland

The Rebirth of an Ancient Island Tradition

There has been a longstanding tradition of sea salt production on Achill Island. In recent years Kieran O'Malley, his wife Marjorie, son Seán and daughter Maebh have re-rejuvenated the practice by producing sea salt in the traditional manner from the pure water of the Atlantic Ocean. Water from the sea is brought up from the ocean similar to in previous generations, replacing the buckets for tanks that can hold 2000 litres. It is then turned into brine and crystallized, dried and turned into the flaky salt that is so loved by chefs and consumers alike.

Our Review of Achill Island Sea Salt

Achill Island Sea Salt was originally inspired by a documentary on the ancient tradition of making salt on this wild and diverse island in Co. Mayo. ‘Producing salt on Achill has a longstanding history. In the old days, islanders needed lots of salt to preserve their fish and vegetables over the winter. There was a salt factory here up to the 1820’s.’ says Kieran O’Malley, owner and founder of Achill Island Sea Salt. 

In 2013, inspired by the island’s salt heritage, Kieran decided to give it a go. The first attempt to make salt in the kitchen at home was ‘awful’ as he says himself. But he didn’t give up, trying different techniques, till he found a taste and texture he was happy with. Kieran took it off to the local country market, where, to his delight, it sold out straightaway. ‘Everyone loved it. We were thrilled.’ Then Aran McMahon of Café Rua and Rua Deli brought it to restaurants in Galway. Someone tipped Kieran off that he should check out Twitter, because it was ‘hopping’. He had no idea what that meant, but soon realised it meant that chefs and food professionals really liked his salt, and were telling the world about it on social media! The O’Malley family’s salt production began in earnest, with the help and support of Udarás na Gaeltachta. 

Achill Island Sea Salt really captures the essence of this captivating island on the Wild Atlantic Way. It’s made in the traditional manner, from pure water from the Atlantic Ocean, as Kieran explains, ‘We collect water from the ocean and bring it back to our production factory in large tanks pulled on a trailer. We don’t have a direct pipeline from the ocean to the factory. It’s the same as when they used to collect the water in buckets, except our collection tanks hold two thousand litres. We use hands on traditional methods to evaporate the water to a brine, then slowly crystallize it to make the salt. It’s then carefully oven dried to give the flaky crystals, which are a very important part of our salt, that chefs have said they love. Our salt contains no chemicals or additives. It’s a natural product straight from the sea, made as it was always made here.’ 

An intense salty flavour of the sea is what you taste when you use Achill Island Sea Salt. The complex mineral character comes from minerals naturally occurring in the Atlantic Ocean around Achill, and the spring water flowing from the mountains on the island into the sea. The flaky consistency of Achill Island Sea Salt makes it a perfect table salt for sprinkling on food and great for cooking. This is a natural full flavoured salt, so you don’t need a lot to enhance a dish. It melts superbly into food, and makes a lovely crunchy coating for oven roasted baby potatoes or baked jacket potatoes. A whole fish baked in salt in the Mediterranean style takes on a whole new flavour with Achill Island Sea Salt. And of course, it works superbly in pickles, brines and chutneys, which is why it was made in the first place. 

Kieran and his family have created a business making a heritage product which he hopes will ensure the future livelihoods of his children on the island where they were born and grew up. ‘We want our kids to be able to stay here.’, he says. Luckily, the O’Malley siblings are interested in working in the business, with daughter Maebh currently doing the marketing to help promote her dad’s wonderful product. The future for Achill Island Sea Salt seems well and truly secured. 

  • Good Food Ireland | Places to Stay | Renvyle House Hotel & Resort
    place_to_stay

    Renvyle House Hotel offers a family friendly welcoming atmosphere on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

    Renvyle, Galway
  • Renvyle House Restaurant Good Food Ireland
    place_to_eat

    Enjoy fine dining with a focus on The Wild Atlantic Way 'Taste the Atlantic - A Seafood Journey' trail, at the Roisin Dubh Restaurant.

    Renvyle, Galway
  • Loam Restaurant, Galway
    place_to_eat
    Enda McEvoy is one of the quiet gentlemen of Irish food.
    Galway, Galway
  • White Gables Restaurant | Places To Eat Good Food Ireland
    place_to_eat

    White Gables' reputation as a long standing restaurant of consistently good food equals popularity among its regulars.

    Moycullen, Galway
  • Aniar Restaurant Galway
    place_to_eat

    Wild and seasonal foods are key to the unmissable menu served by J.P McMahon's Galway based restaurant Aniar.

    Galway
  • JP McMahon of Aniar Cookery School Galway
    cookery_school

    Aniar Cookery School offers courses that will build food knowledge, and transform seasonal and wild ingredients.

    Galway
  • food_producers

    Find bread mixes, biscuits, cakes, beautiful crackers, cake slices, scones, wholesome breakfast Granolas and other goodies in the Wheat and Spelt baking selection. These are the products that have made the business thrive.

    Galway
  • IL Vicola Restaurant
    place_to_eat

    IL Vicolo Restaurant & Bàcaro marries the fresh and seasonal produce of Ireland with the cuisine of Italy. And it’s going down very well indeed.

    Galway, Galway
  • Leahy Beekeeping - Slieve Aughty Honey - Good Food Ireland
    food_producers

    To hear Noel Leahy of Leahy Beekeeping, producers of Sliabh Aughty Honey speak about his bees is like listening to a passionate story teller weaving a magical tale.

    Carrowmore, Galway
  • The Bistro at The Kings Head Pub
    place_to_eat

    Connected to the infamous Kings Head Pub in the heart of vibrant Galway, The Bistro at The Kings Head offers great food in a relaxed atmosphere.

    Galway, Galway
  • Good Food Ireland | Pubs and Bars | The Kings Head Pub
    place_to_eat

    In the heart of the Latin Quarter, The King’s Head Pub and The Chophouse Restaurant is a place anyone with even a remote interest in history and a quest for culinary excellence must visit. 

    Galway, Galway
  • Maxwells Bistro | Places To Eat Good Food Ireland
    place_to_eat

    Serving the best of local and home made food in casual surroundings, with a team of professionals out front and in the kitchen, is the ethos here. Maxwell’s has reached the modern day in a very organic way.

    Galway, Galway
  • Cava Bodega, Galway, Irish Food, Good Food Ireland
    place_to_eat

    Cava Bodega is a prime example of the popular practice of communal dining long associated with tapas.

    Galway, Galway
  • Tartare Café + Wine Bar, Galway, Irish Food, Good Food Ireland
    place_to_eat

    Lower Dominick Street in Galway’s Westend is home to, Tartare Café + Wine Bar.

    Galway, Galway