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Destination Sligo & Wild Atlantic Way Blog
Bantry House is located at Bantry Bay. In 1765, Bantry house (then called Blackrock house) was bought by councillor White.
They also bought a lot of land around the house and by the 1780's, they had purchased approix. 80000 acres.
in 1946, the house was opened for tourists. Since 1990's you can also stay in the house for B&B
The gardens, which were developed by the second Earl of Bantry, are amazing. At the back of the house, there are different terraces. There are 100 steps leading to the different terraces, each of them giving amazing views towards the house and Bantry Bay.
The gardens are huge, and although i like gardening, I say it is a mammoth task to maintain these extensive gardens.
We decided to climb Knocknarea along the Queen Maeve trail which starts at Sligo Rugby Club. After parking at the Rugby Club, it annoys me that there are always cars parked along the cycle path leading into Strandhill, we started the trail just when the sun decided to come out.
Knocknarea is a 327 meter high limestone hill located nearby Strandhill in Co.Sligo. It is visually striking as it is monolithic surrounded by the Wild Atlantic ocean. On the summit is Queen Medb's tomb which is visually striking due to it's size and it's location.
Knocknarea is also the scene for the yearly Warrior's run which starts in Strandhill village and is 16 km of thoughness, tears and sweat.
The first 1km of the walk brings you quickly half way up the mountain along a nice path between fertile, lush fields.
There are a good few steps to be taken until you reach the edge of the forest.
It is amazing how much you have climbed and the views are far and wide. On a clear day, you can see as far as Slieve League in Co. Donegal.
The path follows from here the edge of the forest and turns around the mountain giving you now clear views towards the Ox Mountains and as far as Ben Nephin in Co. Mayo.
From here, the path turns into the forest. At this point, the path changes into a boardwalk with a lot of steps along the path. After a serious climb up the latter part of the mountain, you exit the darness of the forest into the brightness of the summit. Take a breather and enjoy the amazing views before you follow the summit trail towards Queen medb's tomb.
We had been to MIzen Head before, but the last time we were there renovation works were being carried out to the bridge and the walkways, so we never made it any further than the visitor center.
So we decided to head back.
Mizen Head is Ireland's most southwesterly point. The Mizen Head signal station is a key Discovery point along the Wild Atlantic Way.
In the visitor center, you get to see the interior of a lighthouse, the inside of a ship and a lot of history on how the bridge was built.
The walk to the Head Signal Station is amazing, opening views towards Fastnet rock and the wide open Atlantic.
The first stop is a steep path down the cliff where a new viewing platform has been created giving you views towards the Arch in the cliff edge.
Make your way back up the cliff and turn towards the signal house. The iconic bridge across the gorge which is the only access point to the Head Signal Station is reached by a new path or the famous 99 steps which is the original approach to the bridge.
Half way in our visit, fog came from nowhere making the area look mysterious and remote. The Main Signal house is now a museum showing you what life was like for the lighthouse keeper. The engine room with Marconi Radio Room and modest living quarters have been lovingly restored. There are also some rooms which show you the different types of whales which life along the Irish coast, life underneath the cliffs and the different types of birds which nest along the cliffs.
There is a list of all the ships which sank of Mizen Head, and looking at the extensive list, it is obvious that it can be very dangerous down at Mizen Head.
And then you have the actual light which sits on a small platform. The views towards the cliffs are spectacular or just look out towards the Atlantic ocean, it is one of the best places in the world to see Minke, Fin and Humpback Whales and Dolphins.
We were lucky on the day , the current conservation works being carried out on Cormacs Chapel result in it being periodically closed during 2016. But on the day we visited, it was open to the public.
The chapel contains the oldest and most important Romanesque wall paintings in Ireland. Unfortunately, a lot of these wall paintings have been affected by microorganisms which are the result of the damp conditions.
The wall paintings were painted on plaster, and it is this plaster which is affected by these damp conditions. Conservation works are currently ongoing to stop further deterioration .
When we left the Rock of Cashel, we ended up in the small tourist shop at the bottom of the rock. Not worth the visit.
The car park pay machine seemed to cause a lot of confusion with the many tourist, many looking to pay the €4 fee with a visa card - although the machine doesn't accept VISA cards.