Wild Atlantic Way County SligoThe new driving route along 2,500 km (1,500 miles) of Ireland’s Atlantic shoreline is now officially open. Stretching from Malin Head in the north–with a jig over to Belfast in Northern Ireland–to Kinsale on the southern coast, the route is a celebration of the wild, raw beauty of oceans in harmonious collision with land. Last October, Tom and I joined a busload of bloggers on a preview of the route’s northernmost reaches, in Donegal and Sligo.

In County Sligo we saw burial sites older than the pyramids of Egypt. Sligo is also Yeats Country, its landscapes featuring lakes, rivers, forest walks and of course, the mighty Atlantic. Here are a few of the highlights of our journey through Sligo.

Sligo is rich in history, prehistory and mythology, with ancient burial places and cairns. Ancient Celtic legends came from this landscape, and it is easy to see why, as we spot Benbulben, the setting of many Celtic legends.

Sligo was also the scene of poet W B Yeats’s childhood, and his work invokes the myths and landscapes we travel today.

The Sligo coast is quiet, although the “prowler surf” offshore is anything but.

 

Sligo is Yeats’ Country

Yeat’s grave is in Drumcliff churchyard, a few kilometers north of Sligo Town. Lines from Yeats’ poem “He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven” are inscribed as part of a sculpture installed at the entrance to the churchyard.
The high cross at Drumcliffe was constructed in the 11th century for a Christian monastery there, founded in 574 by Saint Columcille.

Streedagh Beach

The beach at Streedagh still shows the evidence of millennia of human habitation, and its fossilized seabed and rock formations invite geologic time-travel back 330 million years or so.
The bluffs above Streedagh are lined with stone fences and face a seemingly endless expanse of Atlantic Ocean.

For more about Streedagh, beach and bluff, see In County Sligo, step into Irish history with SeaTrails.

Soft adventure calling

If hiking, climbing, surfing and fishing pall, Sligo offers an array of other activities to tempt a traveler. Our group experienced two that come highly recommended: Stand-Up Paddling (SUP) and seaweed baths.

Standup paddle-boarding (SUP) is all the rage, and there is plenty of it on tap in County Sligo. Here, bloggers get a Standup Paddle lesson from the family crew of Perfect Day SUP.
At the beginning of the 20th century, there were an estimated 300 seaweed bath houses in Ireland, nine in the small town of Strandhill alone. Voya Seaweed Baths continues the tradition, offering a traditional organic cure for stresses and strains: a soak in the iodine-rich warmth of a wild-seaweed bath.

Sunset and good food in Strandhill

After a day of hill walking, paddling and soaking, it’s time to take in the sunset in Strandhill, County Sligo, and think about dinner.
Seafood and scrumptious desserts at Shells restaurant in Strandhill.
With Shells Seaside Cafe and Bakery, Jane Chambers and Miles Lamberth are living their dream of creating good, innovative food, with plenty of time for surfing. The Shells shop offers bakery goods, teas and other artisanal items, and is available online.

Related posts:

Feasting on seafood and seaweed in County Sligo, Ireland

In County Sligo, step into Irish history with SeaTrails

*  *  *

Thanks to Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland, who hosted our group of TBEX travel bloggers, for an advance look at the Northwest section of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, and to Sligo Tourism for introducing us to local attractions and people. The enjoyment was all ours!

4 COMMENTS

  1. I read your previous post as well. It sounds like you had great trip to Ireland and you have explored the beauty of countryside. I love you all stunning images and text is also much informative. I wish I would be there once.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

you MUST enable javascript to be able to comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.