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Knocknarea Queen Maeve Trail
Knocknarea is a 327m high limestone mountain near to the seaside resort of Strandhill in Co.Sligo.
At the summit is a large cairn which is believed to contain a neolithic passage tomb. The cairn is 55m wide by 10m high making it one of the largest cairns in Ireland.
The walk itself start across Sligo Rugby Club. After entering a wooden gate, a long but straight path leads up the mountain and multiple stairs need to be taken until the edge of the forest is reached. At the forest, the path makes a 90 degree turn and follows the edge of the forest providing amazing views as far as Donegal and Mayo. It is on this stretch of path that a ruin of a herds house is still visible.
After following the edge of the forest, the path makes another 90 degree turn and enters the forest.
It is from here that a path has been formed out of wooden beams. On your right is a viewing platform which has a great sign explaining all the main points. The path meanders through the forest and then reaches the edge of Knocknarea.
The path widens and runs through heather towards the cairn which becomes visible after a while .
The walk itself requires a lot of climbing and it is advised to be well prepared (drink, snack,...). Although the path has some sections with a bit of a drop-off, I have walked this path with a three year old without any issues (Although he probably sat for about 95% of the walk on my shoulders).
It took us approx. 1.5 to 2 hours to complete the trek up Knocknarea and the same route back down.
You can also carry on at the cairn and descend the mountain on the other side.
Waymarking: red waymarkers and natural path
Length (km): 2.4km to the cairn, 4.8 km to cairn and back
Ascend (m): 300m
Start point grid reference: IG 162000, 335900
Finish point grid reference: G 162000, 335900
Ordnance survey map: OSI discovery series 25