On a Baltic morning, we decided to visit south Co.Sligo . Probably the lesser visited part of Co.Sligo, we wanted to sample what it has to offer. And we can start by saying that it has a lot to offer, and should be on every bucketlist.
Starting off in Sligo town, our route took us as far as Beltra where we turned right after the village onto the Wild Atlantic Way coastal road. After approx. 3 km, we turned right towards Portavade. It is a cul the sac road, but at the end of it, you are greeted by fabulous views across Ballysadare beach and Strandhill.
Our next stop along the coastal route was Aughris Head. At Aughris pier, you will find the start of the fabulous Aughris Head walk which follows the rocky shoreline ending at a small but impressive beach which at the best of times is very quiet. The walk gives you views across Sligo Bay towards Knocknarea and the Dartry mountains and on a clear day as far as Donegal (Slieve League)
After having crossed the beach, we found some small sea caves which are great for taking some dramatic pictures towards the Dartry mountains. After having returned to the car, we headed back to the coastal route to stop at our next scenic location - Trawee Beach.
Next destination was Easkey, but the beauty of the landscape made us stop another few times along the route to take further pictures. The roads are quiet, the views are fabulous, what more could you wish for during a relaxing coastal drive. We decided on this particular day that we would go as far as Easkey and have lunch at Pudding Row, but unfortunately there was some event on and it was closed for business.
Easkey is an interesting town in South Sligo, it is home to one of the best surfing spots in Co.Sligo , but it is also home to Easkey tower and the famous split rock. The huge boulder, which is split in 2 is approx 6.5 meters by 2.5 meters, and it is believed that the rock was carried down from the Ox Mountains by the retreating glaciers at the end of the ice age. But local folklore tells the story of Fionn Mac Cumhaill who arrived on top of the Ox Mountains where he was challenged by another strong man called Cicsatoin to compete in a rock throwing competition. The challenge was to reach the sea, but Fionn's rock fell short which made him angry. In anger, he pulled his sword and split the rock in two.
From Easkey, we headed towards Dromore West where we took a quick stop to check out the Dunneill river which cascades down some beautiful waterfalls. A stairwell brings you towards the waterfalls, for the more adventurous you can follow a scenic riverside walk.
Heading back towards Sligo town, we passed a sign guiding us to the Beach Bar. Being hungry, we decided to chance our luck and have a quick lunch. Arriving at the beach bar (www.thebeachbarsligo.com/ ) , you can't but notice the beauty of this old charm thatched pub which sits literally on the beach. We were in luck, just when we arrived, the door was opened. Inside, a warm open fire welcomed us on this particular cold day.
We went for the seafood chowder which was served piping hot and was accompanied by 2 homemade slices of bread. The chowder was one of the best I had ever sampled, the amount of fish in the bowl was unbelievable and the chowder turned out to be a meal in itself.
After having warmed ourselves by the fire, we hit the road again and turned away from the sea towards the Ox Mountains, more specific a road which is known as Ladies Brae (Follow the signposts from Skreen). Ladies Brae is a fabulous route which takes you through the heart of the Ox Mountains. The only living souls you meet are the many sheep which just look up and slowly move toward the side of the road. The Ox Mountains and it's surroundings are fabulous for adventure sports, so if you are adventurous, give wildwetadventures.ie/ or www.oxmountainadventurecamp.ie/ a shout and they will get you to discover the wild unspoiled beauty of South Sligo. So, as you can see, it is amazing what you can do in South Sligo in a couple of hours. One moment, you can be on a beach , then walk along some waterfalls followed by a drive through the mountains. South Sligo is diverse, the landscapes are ever changing and the scenery is to die for.