Natural Sligo

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Sligo is also a very special place for biodiversity. W.B Yeats was inspired by the nature and landscape of Sligo, with clear references to its wild and natural beauty in his work. Yeats’s earlier poems, such as The Wanderings of Oisin and The Rose, celebrate the Irish landscape of his boyhood and the nostalgic beauty of these poems is exemplified in The Lake Isle of Innisfree, which came into the poet’s mind as he walked in a London street.

One of Irelands greatest naturalists, Robert Lloyd Praeger (1937) said;

"The flourishing town of Sligo is surrounded by a district unsurpassed for beauty in Ireland and of high botanical interest".
The beaches, headlands and estuaries of the beautiful coastline that fringes the north-west of the county attract a variety of species including internationally important bird populations, including over 12,000 waterfowl, as well as walkers, surfers, anglers and others.
The uplands - the Dartry Mountains, including Benbulben in the north, the Ox Mountains in the middle and west, and the Bricklieve and Curlew Mountains in the south of the county - have a mix of bedrock underlying them including granite, sandstone and limestone and support a variety of habitats.
These habitats include a truly unique Alpine flora on Benbulben, limestone grassland and blanket bog.
There are a number of large lakes in the county, great for walking, fishing and water sports, with Loughs Arrow, Gill and Gara the largest. A network of rivers connects these and other lakes such as Lough Talt, Lough Easkey, Glencar Lake, Templehouse Lake and Cloonacleigha Lake with the sea. The main river system in the county drains into Ballysadare Bay and includes the Ballysadare, Unshin and Owenmore rivers. The south-west of the county drains via the Moy River into Killala / Moy estuary, part of the south of the county drains into the Shannon system, and the north of the county largely drains through the Garavogue or Drumcliffe rivers.
Broadleaved woodland is dotted around Sligo, including the larger sites around many of the lakes and rivers, covering around 1.5% of the county area and ranging from large areas of international importance to small copses on farms. When commercial forestry is included, around 12% of the total area of the county is forested.
Much of Sligo is farmland, often comprising of improved grazing pasture. These areas, though often limited themselves in biodiversity value, are mixed with other habitats such as small areas of wetland, scrub, and hedgerows that can have a very high biodiversity value. These small areas, plus some of the important road verges, provide some surprisingly important areas for biodiversity.

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Please view the Sligo Walks brochure online.