Recently we took a trip to Sligo. This blog describes our trip and the places we stayed.
Here is the route we took to Sligo,. We took the N17 directly to Sligo (as directly as any road can be in Ireland). On the way back we took a side trip to Leenane and Kylemore Abbey. The total trip was about 350-400 km … not too bad when split between two days of driving. The drive to Sligo was about three hours with the holiday weekend traffic. We arrived in time for a later than normal dinner in Sligo (20:00).
View Sligo - Road Trip #4 in a larger map
Our hotel was the Riverside Hotel … a nice location and more than adequate accommodations. Our room had a river view (make sure to ask for this). From our window we could see a small damn, pedestrian bridge, moored boats, and lots of different types of birds from swans to ducks to seagulls, a really nice view. A hike and bike trail through a river-front park starts a short distance from the hotel. The main streets, restaurants and entertainment are a short five-minute walk away.
View from Hotel Window
Pedestrian Bridge Near Our Hotel
The room was large enough to store bikes with out cramping us if we had hauled them from home. It was a suite-type room and had a pretty full kitchen. We did not cook in the kitchen, but enjoyed cheese and cracker and wine in the room, and I certainly enjoyed coffee in the room before we went out for breakfast in the mornings. The room was €75 Euro per night without breakfast for the bank holiday weekend. You can probably do better on non-festival weekends.
I rate this hotel ✔✔✔✔ ( out of 5). The hotel lacked “character” but was certainly the correct price in a good location.
On Saturday we started with a tour of the Strandhill peninsula (OK … it’s the Cúil Irra peninsula with the village of Strandhill on it). The tour included a hike up Knocknarea and cruising Strandhill beach front area.
Knocknarea is a prominent feature on the peninsula but it is only about 1000 ft. high. It is a relatively easy hike to the top of the hill through fields that you share with sheep. The view from the top is well worth the hike. At the top is a cairn … a tomb that is reputed to be the burial place of Medb (or Méabha), an ancient Irish Queen. There is a parking area at the start of the path … good luck finding it … we had to ask directions. The map for this tour shows an approximate location of the parking lot. The path is well constructed but I would recommend hiking boots since there is quite a bit of loose rock. You will be right there with the sheep but they tend to stay away from people. The hike to the top took less than an hour.
Climb up Knocknarea
Strandhill is a beach resort and is know for its surf school … you read that correctly … a surf school, apparently a world famous surf school … no, it is known for its surfing skills not the craziness of surfing in the cold water of the North Atlantic. The day we visited one could believe that people might want to surf … the temperature was over 70F and was quite pleasant … a rare occurrence as we found later in the day.
View Strandhill Pennisula in a larger map
After a short rest back at the hotel we headed North to the Drumcliff church yard the burial place of WB Yeats the famous poet and then further North to the coast near Mullaghmore peninsula.
We happened to be visiting Sligo during the Yeats festival so we had to stop at the burial place of the more famous of the Yeats brothers, WB who was a poet. His brother JB or Jack Yeats was a popular artist. So, in the spirit of a Yeats festival we decided to do a little Yeats research.
MEN IMPROVE WITH THE YEARS
I AM worn out with dreams;
A weather-worn, marble triton
Among the streams;
And all day long I look
Upon this lady's beauty
As though I had found in a book
A pictured beauty,
pleased to have filled the eyes
Or the discerning ears,
Delighted to be but wise,
For men improve with the years;
And yet, and yet,
Is this my dream, or the truth?
O would that we had met
When I had my burning youth!
But I grow old among dreams,
A weather-worn, marble triton
Among the streams.
OK, I must be getting old to identify with this one … maybe some wishful thinking.
When we arrived at the coast the other side of Irish weather had arrived. It was raining so hard that we sat in the car and enjoyed the view … what we could see of it for 15 or 20 minutes. The rain lightened and we ventured to the coastline and took a few pictures. Several people ventured out of their car at the same time in their wet suites and resumed their surfing.
The West Coast of Ireland
Sunday we stayed closer to the hotel and attended mass at the cathedral in Sligo and then visited the Sligo Abbey a former Dominican Abbey. After a short nap we had dinner and enjoyed a Trad Session at Rosses Point.
The Sligo cathedral is named Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and is a beautiful church. The Bishop said the mass we attended. We enjoyed the mass and checking out the architecture and art afterwards.
Organ at the Cathedral
Cathedral Alter - Impressive
The Dominican Abbey was founded with the founding of the city in about 1253. The ruins have been restored by the OPW, Office of Public Works. The OPW has restored many castles and other historic sights throughout Ireland. One can purchase an OPW Heritage Card that entitles the holder to admission to OPW sights throughout Ireland. The entry to the Abbey would have been 3 Euros. The OPW card cost 21 Euros, a good deal if you are going to be in Ireland for any time and you enjoy historic sights.
Sunday evening we went to dinner at a restaurant called Austies on Rosses Point and then camped out in the bar for a Trad Session, one of the best we’ve attended so far. The music was quite good and consistent….
View Rosses Point in a larger map
View from Rosses Point
Sculpture at Rosses Point
The average trad session starts with the musicians talking among themselves … a lot of noise that sounds like tuning and then all of a sudden music … followed just as abruptly by silence and a repeat. The “intermissions” can be short or long depending on the musicians. The group at Austies kept the Craic to a minimum and played a variety of music … a really pleasant experience.
Boys of Ballisodare
After checking out on Monday we visited Glencar Waterfall and took the long way home through Leenane and Kylemore, subjects of a previous road trip.
Glencar Waterfall was a nice drive on a nice day and an excuse to see some of the countryside. It was less than an hour drive from downtown Sligo and feeds Glencar lake. If you are a Yeats fan, apparently the waterfall was the subject of a Yeats poem, “The Stolen Child”
Glencar Waterfall and Lake
Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
Our trip to Sligo was a great holiday weekend that allowed us to enjoy the great weather and to sample the West Ireland cuisine (to be reported in my next blog).
See You In The Pub!!
Jet Lag Jack