Earlier this month we headed to Sligo. It was the first time visiting for both of us and wow, were we blown away! I reckon Sligo is seriously under rated as a tourist destination. It certainly helped that we had some fantastic weather during our stay but the same could be said for anywhere and even as we walked the beautiful Gortarowey Forest Park Loop in the rain on our last day, majestic Benbulben still stole our hearts.
Part of the Darty Mountains in an area often referred to as Yeats Country after the famous writer and poet W.B. Yeats, Benbulben (sometimes Benbulbin or Ben Bulben depending on who you talk to) is an impressive rock formation made up of limestones and mudstones. It has been called Ireland’s Table Mountain for obvious reasons – when you see it from the right angle! Having seen so many photos of it, it was incredible to finally see it for real on our approach into Sligo town and pretty much from everywhere else we went after that. Check out the video below to see what I mean.
As magical as Benbulben is, there is a lot more to Sligo. Be warned…it’s hard to squeeze it all in! We really only had two days to explore so we didn’t really get to check it out extensively but we’re not too upset about the idea of going back!
As well as the Gortarowey loop walk, we visited beautiful Strandhill beach and enjoyed a delicious alfresco lunch at Shells Cafe before reluctantly dragging ourselves away from this picturesque seaside location. To work off our lunch we took a walk up Knocknarea, where Queen Maeve is said to be buried in the cairn at the summit. The views are stunning and well worth the effort.
The scenery along the coastal drive to Mullaghmore was another highlight and for the photographers out there, it is where you will catch the iconic image of Classiebawn Castle in the shadow of mighty Benbulben. Another worthwhile drive to take in the scenery is around Glencar Lough and the Glencar Falls – although technically in Leitrim as they are just over the border – shouldn’t be missed while your are in the area. It’s an easy walk from the carpark to the viewing platform to check them out.
All of these locations can be easily reached within 15 – 30 mins drive of the town, so it is possible to see a lot within a couple of days. We stayed at the Radisson Blu near Rosses Point. It’s a great location from which to explore and although the hotel is a little dated, the staff were great and the food in the Classiebawn restaurant was seriously delicious! It was José’s birthday on the night we dined there so I asked for a candle to put in his dessert (having forgotten the ones I bought). We were then surprised with a complementary glass of prosecco each, which really was the icing on the cake!
We loved our first taste of Sligo and as we left we both agreed this trip was just an enticing starter. We’ll definitely be back for the main course!
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