As part of my Wild Atlantic Wayfarer project in partnership with LookWest and the Hawk’s Well Theatre, I’ve been checking out things to do in the North West of Ireland. You can’t come to Sligo without visiting Strandhill, a thriving seaside village just 5 miles from Sligo town. There is a great sense of community here and always something to see and do, whatever the weather.
I started off my day in Strandhill with a walk over to Killaspugbrone Church, where it’s said that St. Patrick lost a tooth. It’s a lovely walk with stunning views of Knocknarea and Benbulben. There is a longer looped walk but as I’m suffering with an Achilles tendon problem I just stuck to the short walk.
After my walk it was time to relax and what better way than a seaweed bath in Voya. The seaweed is locally harvested and makes your skin feel so soft. As always I fell asleep! I woke up refreshed and ready to face the world again. If you are wondering what happens to the seaweed after your bath it’s reused as garden fertiliser – I’ve seen the size of Mick Walton’s vegetables and I can say it works a treat!!
All that relaxing had worked up an appetite so I popped next door to Shells for brunch. Shells is a beautiful cafe and bakery, over-looking the sea. You know you are going to enjoy whatever you have to eat here. I went for one of the daily specials which was cinnamon toast, topped with bacon, maple syrup, caramalised banana and walnuts – it shouldn’t have worked but it did and it was delicious. I’m hungry again just typing this!
After a little walk to let my food go down it was time to pay a visit to Paul at Strandhill Surf School and try my hand at surfing. Paul was really friendly and welcoming and put me in a group with our instructor Sean and off we went into the waves. Poor old Sean spent half the time dragging me round on my surf board, where I wallowed like some kind of giant slug! I did try to surf and for a millisecond even got to my feet – which was a major miracle! If there was a pause button between the waves so I could get organised I might actually manage it! I think it’s safe to say I will never be a surfer dude!
After struggling out of my wetsuit I was hungry again so it was time to pay a visit to Trá Bán which is a fantastic steak and seafood restaurant. Trá Bán serves locally sourced Irish food which you can enjoy while you look out on the waves crashing against the rocks.
I had the early bird menu which is served from 5-7pm. I chose a mini lamb pie to start which just melted in my mouth, it was so delicious. For my main course I had chicken stuffed with mixed peppers, aubergine and onion and served on a bed of pesto mash with a cream shallot sauce, it was so filling but of course there is always a little bit of room for dessert! I went for the chocolate chilli brownie which was a warm chocolate brownie with a little kick of chilli, served with warm chocolate sauce and vanilla ice-cream. All in all it was a fabulous meal and I’m very impressed to see they also have a healthy kids meal at a very reasonable price so it’s the perfect location for a family meal.
So that was my ‘Thrill of Strandhill’ there is much more you can take part in and you can check it out here. Sincere thanks to Anthony from Tra Ban for organising this wonderful day for me and to Voya, Shells and Strandhill Surf School. It was a day to remember.