Sligo Mountain Walks
Sligo is perfect territory for walking thanks to its contrasting scenery and many curiosities. There are 2 mountain walks – Knocknarea, a moderate climb and Benbulben, which is a bit tougher. Knocknarea Mountain (452m) is six miles from Sligo town and offers a relatively easy walk of about 45-60 minutes.
There is a notice in the car park which explains the route. Knocknarea has a mound of stones at the top, reputedly the tomb of Connaught’s legendary Queen, Maeve. From the top are views of Donegal, theOx mountains, Sligo Bay and Mayo. Benbulben (527m) has a striking table top profile and is one of Ireland’s most famous mountains. It features prominently in Irish legend and more recently has been associated with W.B. Yeats, who is buried nearby.
Lough Arrow Walks
Ten circular walks introduce the rambler to further delights in the scenic Lough Arrow and Lough Key area. They explore the fascinating archaeology, prolific wild fauna and the colourful flora in an ancient land that has retained its beauty and has remained remarkably unspoiled.
Starting points: Boyle, Castlebaldwin, Ballinafad on the N4. Length: 4km-12.3km approx.
Sligo Spur Walks
The Lough Talt walks, many of which link into The Sligo Way traverse the Ox Mountains region and stretch from Lough Talt in south west Sligo to the border with Co Leitrim at Dromahair. The nineteen walks vary in length from about 1 hour to 6 hours. The walks are all circuits starting and finishing from a small village or town.
The Lough Talt Walks, numbering three includes a short walk around the beautiful Lough Talt.
The Knocknashee Walk, which is less than one kilometer, climbs to the summit of one of the most striking hill top features of the Ox Mountain region.
The Tubbercurry Walks all start from the centre of this most beautiful old Irish Industrial town and include the five kilometre around ‘Lover’s Lane’. Come walking here in July and you will be entertained with a feast of traditional Irish Music and culture.
Traverse the River Walk at Coolaney, county winner of the Tidy Towns competition. Enjoy an ecological wonderland and listen to the rushing water through the old mill race.
The Cloonacool Walks take you along quite country roads and across the Mad River. Cloonacool is surrounded by three bridges, take a look at the different shapes of each one as you pass by.
Knocknarea Mountain (Cnoc na Rí) is situated 4 miles west of Sligo Town, in the area of the Strandhill Peninsula, this breathtaking mountain dominates the skyline of Sligo town it is 1078 feet high.
Take the neatly paved path from the car park. The walk to the summit of the mountain it takes an average of 40 – 45 minutes, once you reach the top there lies the cairn, of Queen Maeve of Connacht the cairn is about 10 meters high and is visible for miles around. It has not been excavated but it is thought to cover a passage tomb similar to that of Heapstown Cairn.
Queen Maeve and Knocknarea Mountain are mentioned in several of Yeats’ poems and are of keen interest in Irish myth. There are spectacular views around County Sligo.
Note: Always take care when climbing rugged or mountainous areas. For further information contact the Tourist Office.
A pleasant lakeshore and hillside walk, tracks all the way. It has some lovely views of Lough Gill. The walk is an easy to follow route all the way, the best way to begin is from the north end of the car park and walk along the track beyond with the lake and its tiny wooded islands glimpsed through lovely deciduous trees close on the left. After approx a mile the track rises and at the first fork go right, continue to the tee close to the car park and turn left for it.
Slish Wood is a perfect walk for people of all ages, particular enjoyable for a day out for all the family. Visitors will enjoy the Forest’s Flora and Fauna such as Wood Rush and briar. Mute Swan, duck and heron may be observed on the lake while blackbird, thrush, lark and pigeon can be found in the woodland. Badger, fox and fallow deer are common.
Oaks some 250 years old are scattered throughout the area. The main species plantedare Norway spruce, Sitka spruce, scots pine, lodge pole pine, grand fir, silver fir, whitebeam, birch and holly.
Rosses Point Walk
Rosses Point is an easy walk for all ages as it is mostly flat. Starting from the Church of Ireland the walk takes you along the promenade where the Garavogue meets Sligo Bay.
With the mountains to your left and the old village of Rosses Point to your right this stretch takes you to the Pier and the Lady Waiting on the Shore, dedicated to all the women from Rosses Point who waited behind as the loved ones when to sea.
Following down the slight hill you will see on your right Elsinore House now in ruins. This was the home of W.B. & Jacks Yeats Uncle Henry Middleton. Both brothers spent many summers in Rosses Point inspiring both their poetry and painting.
On the left hand side is Sligo Bay Lifeboat Station, their shop is open at weekends.
Continuing along the scenic walk you will see the Metal Man standing in the water and pointing to where there are rocks. Up on the right hand side there is the Old Watch House built on 1810 which was used by the River Pilots to see the ships coming in. Coming around the bend you will see Blackrock Lighthouse in the bay and Sligo Yacht Club.
At the end of the scenic walk you can either continue on to the left and walk across the beach or turn right and follow the beach road back up to the Yeats Country Hotel.
Turn left at this point and you will follow the village road back to your starting point.
Turn right and you will pass Co. Sligo Golf Club on your left. This road continues along the top of the village passing Realt Na Mara National School and continuing on pass the Catholic Church.
After this the road verves to the right and follows down a steep hill back onto the village road. Turn left and continue on back to your starting point.
The old woodland once formed part of the Cooper estate and fallow deer roam among the bluebells and rhododendrons. Facilities include a car park that overlooks the lake, fishing and picnic areas.
Starting point: 8km south of Sligo on Ballygawley road. Length: 5km of forest roads.
The Sligo Way
The Sligo Way is a 74 km route that traverses the County of Sligo in the northwest of Ireland from Lough Talt, in the Ox Mountains near the Mayo border, to the town of Dromahair in County Leitrim. There are magnificent views east over to Ben Bulben, north across Donegal Bay to Slieve League and west to the Nephin mountain range from the high moorland in the Ox Mountains during the early part of the route, and some pleasant woodland lakeside sections towards the end. As the route begins in the mountains, the total aggregate ascent over the entire route is only 900 metres, and there are no significant climbs involved at any stage. Attractions along the way include a crannoge or early lake dwelling on Lough Talt, megalithic tombs, which are abundant in west Sligo, and WB Yeats’s Lake Isle of Inishfree on Lough Gill. But for short boggy and wet sections near Easky Lough, Ballygawley Woods, Lough Lumman and the Lough Gill area, the route provides, in the main, an enjoyable and comfortable walking experience. Terrain consists mainly of forest tracks and ride lines, quiet side roads, and open moorland paths (often wet and boggy in places). There are no accommodation options available for about the first 40 km of the route, but plenty thereafter.
Benbulben, Glencar and Castlegal Walks
Little wonder that the massive bulk of Benbulben was the focal point for primitive worship. Its seamed and fluted sides present a formidable sight and the incredible scenery from the summit is awe-inspiring. The grave of W. B. Yates, the poet, lies beneath the shadow of the mountain at Drumcliff.
Starting points: at King’s Gully, near Glencar. Length: 11km approx.