The Wild Atlantic Way has led to the West of Ireland being more visible and more accessible than ever before. But while almost 10 million visitors annually flock to tourism hotspots from Kerry to Donegal, it’s becoming more of a challenge to find that genuine off the beaten track holiday experience that will stay with you. For that, you could head to Sligo.
The home of WB Yeats, great golf courses and some of the best surf breaks in Ireland, nowadays Sligo has a much broader range of options for tourists, many of them based on fresh air, stunning views and rugged coastlines.
The SligoWalks.ie website provides you with all of the information you’ll need to get to immerse yourself in a great outdoor holiday experience. There are over 50 walks and trails, encompassing some hundreds of kilometres, the length and breadth of the county.
From walks along the Atlantic shoreline at Strandhill to upland walks at the Devil’s Chimney – home to Ireland’s highest waterfall, you’ll get to walk some of the most scenic walks anywhere in Ireland, and – for the most part – far away from the milling crowds.
Sligo has had a tough time competing with its bigger coastal neighbours Donegal and Mayo, but now the word is getting out that Sligo has an incredible array of outdoor experiences – you just need to wrap up, get your walking boots on and start exploring.
From the greatest array of megalithic tombs anywhere in Ireland – you can’t miss Queen Méabh’s cairn on the top of Knocknarea, visible from almost anywhere in Sligo, through to the ancient Sligo Way, a 10km cross-country route along the shores of Lough Gill, and lots of stop off points in between for food and refreshments, it’s hard to beat.
Start at the Fáilte Ireland office in the centre of Sligo, where you can pick up one of the stunning illustrated maps of the routes, produced by local artist Annie West, before heading off to explore the countryside. You can either head out as part of an organized group or take the option of going solo. The great thing about Sligo town is that it’s at the very centre of the county, and all of the walks are located less than half an hour from this starting point.
And with restaurants, bars and shops never more than a few minutes away from each route, you’ll find the complete package without any difficulty. Sligo is under 3 hours from Dublin airport, is located just 45 minutes from Ireland West Airport, and has regular rail and bus network. It has all you’ll want in a holiday, and it’s there to be explored.
Visit SligoWalks.ie for details, map downloads, photos and videos.