With certain restrictions easing from April 12th it means that we will be able to travel within our counties. I’m very excited because I haven’t been to the seaside or some of my favourite places for a while, I’ve written this post so those of you who live in Sligo might find inspiration, or if you are planning a trip to Sligo this might be of help. I’ve stuck to the places where it’s fairly easy to social distance, hence why some seaside resorts aren’t listed.
The Tubbercurry Trail. Just outside Tubbercurry town on the road to Ballina, next to the Homeland store. A lovely flat walk, perfect for stretching the legs and a section is wheelchair and pushchair friendly. The walk goes through acres of woodland including the scenic Spruce corridor, and along Bog Cutters Road and the Rhue Road through the bog. There’s a stretch along the Maiden River, which is a tributary of the River Moy.
Further down the road you will see Lough Talt. This is a beautiful lake, and you can walk around it, although part of the walk is on a busy road, so I just turn back when I do it. It’s a lovely spot for just sitting and having a picnic. https://sligowalks.ie/walks/lough-talt-walk/
Turn left from Lough Talt and take a right turn heading for Lough Easkey. This is a spectacular drive. You will drive alongside the Owenaher River which has a stunning waterfall. You will see Masshill and you can walk up to Massrock. This is an outdoor place of worship and well worth a visit. There’s also an old schoolhouse dating back to 1910. There are turf bogs and ruins, and it feels like you are in the wilderness but really is just around 8 miles from the nearest town. Chickens and sheep roam freely around the lanes, it’s like the Sligo version of Connemara. You can walk around Lough Easkey, it’s around 6km and a looped walk, but it can be quite wet and muddy.
As you drive on towards Dromore West you will see the ruins of an old hunting lodge that is or was part of the Markree Castle estate. Rumour has it this place is haunted, but I’ve never seen anything – except sheep.
Enniscrone is the next of my suggestions. Miles of sandy beach for you to walk along, and just a gorgeous seaside town/village. Even just to sit on the beach and make sandcastles, or watch the world go by.
Take the coastal road from Enniscrone and marvel at the stunning scenery. I’m always amazed that Sligo is still quite a secret.
My next stop would be Aughris Head. There’s a fantastic walk along the cliffs, overlooking the Wild Atlantic Way, if you are lucky you might even spot a dolphin. If you fancy a beach walk you can walk from Aughris to Dunmoran Strand. Dunmoran is a beautiful beach and usually much quieter than the other better-known beaches in Sligo.
Tobernault Holy Well would be my next suggestion. This is a place that always calms me, there’s something very special about this outdoor place of worship. You have to visit to know what I mean.
Take a trip to Slish Wood and walk from here to Innisfree, it’s just spectacular looking at the views over Lough Gill towards the Sleeping Giant. I’ve written a longer post about this walk here: https://magnumlady.com/2018/07/19/in-the-shadow-of-a-giant/
To see Benbulben from a different angle check out the Gortarowey Looped Forest Walk. It’s a lovely walk with views all around you. More details on Sligo Walks. https://sligowalks.ie/walks/benbulbin-gortarowey-looped-walk/
Mullaghmore would be my next suggestion. Mullaghmore Head is just breath-taking, Benbulben Mountain provides a backdrop to Classiebawn Castle and the waves crash on the rocks in the foreground. If you want the wow factor this is it. There’s also a gorgeous beach and Mullaghmore Harbour is lovely too.
Another wow factor just a short drive away is the Gleniff Horseshoe, Ballintrillick. This is a 10km loop which you can walk, cycle, or drive. It’s something else as you walk alongside the river and head into the valley. My favourite spot is the old schoolhouse and if you look upwards you will see Grainne and Diarmuid’s Cave.
Before you come to Glencar Waterfall (on the Sligo side) you will see some car parking spaces and a wooden gate signposting Sruth in Aghaidh an Aird waterfall. At 150 metres it’s higher than Powerscourt Waterfall. It’s a steep enough walk in places, through the forest. You will be walking through farmland at the start of the walk so you may see sheep, donkeys, and chickens on the way. The walk is well worth it as the views are spectacular. As for the waterfall itself it doesn’t flow in dry weather, it’s always better after a heavy rainfall and when it’s windy it blows upwards.
Union Wood is another lovely walk, located between Ballygawley, Ballisodare and Collooney. There’s a real mix of flora and fauna here, you might see deer, squirrels and more. There are stunning views from Union Rock, you can see all over Sligo and over to Roscommon too. The only problem I have with this walk is that it’s very easy to get lost, which I’ve done on a number of occasions. Thankfully I’ve always met someone to direct me.
Carrowkeel in the Bricklieve Mountains. A walk where you will see numerous Megalithic monuments and stunning views over Lough Arrow and beyond. With just sheep for company there is something incredibly special about this place. Read more here: http://www.carrowkeel.com/sites/carrowkeel/index.html
The Caves of Keash, just outside Ballymote and another of my favourite places. It’s a short enough walk and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views if you walk up in good weather. There’s one short steep bit but there’s a seat for you to catch your breath if you need to. There are seventeen caves in total but it’s dangerous to get to all of them and not recommended.
Knocknashee – the hill of the fairies. Knocknashee is a hillfort, dating back to the Bronze Age. If you are interested in reading more about it check out the Voices of the Dawn website. There’s a new official walk there now so everyone can enjoy it, it is a steep walk but it’s short, and very worth it.
So, there you have it. Just some of my suggestions of possibly lesser-known places in County Sligo. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.