Day 1: Sligo, Queen Maeve’s Tomb, Seaweed baths and Carrowmore.
Walk: Easy, Knocknarea (Queen’s Maeve’s Tomb) Distance approx 5Km incline 250m
We will meet up at the Molly Malone statue on Suffolk Street at 9am to make our way to Sligo. We are staying at the Luxury 4 star Glasshouse Hotel; it is located right in the heart of the town, beside the Garravogue River. We are based here for two nights with breakfast and an evening meal. There are plenty of shops, pubs and cultural offerings on our doorstep.
On our arrival we can leave our bags at the hotel and travel to Strandhill, a seaside resort famous for its beaches and seaweed baths. Here we will begin our first easy walk of Knocknarea, which is topped by Queen Maeve’s Tomb (Ancient Celtic Queen of Connacht) the largest cairn in Ireland and unexcavated. It is said that Queen Maeve is buried here standing up and facing her enemies of Ulster.
After completing our walk, there is an option of a Seaweed bath (additional cost of €25). Your skin and joints will thank you and it is a real “Sligo” thing!
or you can visit to the Carrowmore Tombs.
You can also decide to just enjoy a walk along strand beach.
While waiting for the bathing beauties, we can take refuge in the Strand Bar where we will have a reserved space for our dinner – this place does excellent pizzas and a non-pizza option will be available – this is at your own expense!
The bus will then convey us back to Sligo at an appropriate hour.
Day 2: Choice of walk, Ben Bulben, Lissadell House, WB Yeats grave.
Ben Bulben Walk: Distance approx 10Km, Ascent: 380m Time: 3-4hrs
After a hearty breakfast our bus will pick us up and take us to our walking locations. One group will walk up Ben Bulben, the iconic mountain that dominates the landscape. This is subject to weather conditions, and there have been issues regarding access that seem to have been resolved, but it is not a public right of way. As the bus may not be able to go up the narrow roads giving access to Luke’s Bridge, be prepared for a “warm up” on some roads before hitting the bog!
The alternative walk for those who don’t like steep slopes and wet bogs is the renowned Gleniff Horseshoe. This is a flat 10 km walk with stunning views of the Dartry Mountain Range. The start and end point of this walk is a pub, so if you arrive back early you can relax after your refreshing walk. Of interest on this loop is Ireland’s largest and highest cave where Diarmuid and Grainne are alleged to have spent some time – this is on private land and is 300 m up a tough slope so we can admire it from below!
After collecting both groups we will travel together to Lissadell House.
Lissadell, is the childhood home of Constance Markievicz, the first woman elected to the British House of Commons and Irish Revolutionary. This is a handsome large house with a fascinating history, and is well worth a visit. Recent famous visitors have included Leonard Cohen, the Irish Cabinet, and Charles and Camilla, and now us!
As well as a house tour, we will have the opportunity to walk down to the recently restored Alpine Gardens and down onto the beach with glorious views across the water to Ben Bulben.
On our way back to the Hotel we will take a short stop en route, at Drumcliffe graveyard, to pay homage to the poet WB Yeats.
We can then freshen before enjoying a sumptuous three course meal,(included in cost)
Day 3: Lough Gill and Slish woods walk
We will check out of our hotel and take our coach to Slish Woods for a gorgeous 10 km walk along the shores of Lough Gill with its many islands including the famous “Lake Isle of Innisfree”. You can quote your favourite Yeats poems as we walk!
This walk is the last stretch of the Sligo Way, ending in Dromahair (Co Leitrim!).
Then we make our way back to Dublin after a full weekend of walking, exploring and relaxing in one of Ireland’s finest counties.