Driving into Strandhill on a wet day, we couldn't but smile when we came down the hill into the village with views opening up towards the Atlantic Ocean.
Where we had just missed the fabulous weather, the swell had made a welcome return. Strandhill is a small thriving village in the Northwest of Ireland located along the Wild Atlantic Way, located in beautiful County Sligo.
Strandhill is overlooked by Knocknarea, a striking limestone mountain with at the summit one of Ireland's largest cairns known as Queen Maeve's cairn.
Strandhill has established itself as a surf mecca in Ireland, one which can be compared to Gracetown in Western Australia, Encinitas in San Diego or Laheina in Maui.
But Strandhill is so much more than just another surf town, there is a real community spirit which has turned this village into a cool and trendy place to stay. From the thriving craft industry to explore between surfs to the great mix of surf cafes, bars and restaurants. But surfing is the main reason to be in Strandhill, its perfect beach breaks draws in the surfers from all around the world. But don't worry if you never experienced the thrill of surfing before. Give Eddie from www.strandhillsurfexperience.com or Seamus from www.sligosurfexperience.com a shout and they gladly give you a few pointers so you can enjoy the thrill of riding some of the magnificent waves.
And after all that surfing, we are sure you will have worked up an appetite. And for a small village like Strandhill, you will find an amazing selection of great establishments serving great food. From a burger at the Burger Shack ( The Burger Shack | Facebook ) to the Strand Bar ( www.thestrandbar.ie) to tapas in Stoked (www.stokedstrandhill.ie) , food is produced with the best local ingredients. And if you feel like a snack afterwards, head to Mammy Johnston ( Mammy Johnston's | Facebook ) and sample one (or a few) of their homemade award winning ice cream. During our time in Strandhill, we must have tried them all.
And after all that food, you would think we couldn't fit any further food in our bellies. But after a great night sleep at the Strandhill Beachfront Apartment ( Strandhill Beachfront Apartment - Flats for Rent in Strandhill, County Sligo, Ireland (airbnb.ie) ) , we were ready to indulge once again, this time in Shells Cafe ( Shells Sea Side Bakery Cafe | Facebook ). This thriving establishment has on one side a shop selling crafts, books, cake and coffee. On the other side is a busy cafe where we enjoyed a fabulous breakfast while overlooking the Atlantic.
And when the sun is out, why not enjoy the early morning sunshine on the fabulous terrace.
And it must be said that all locals are very proud of their little gem. From the many flower pots to the nicely painted houses, from the sign telling everybody to help out and perform a#2minutebeachclean to the free car park, it isn't hard to see why Strandhill is such a hit with people looking for a better place to work, live or just go on a holiday.
Every Sunday, there is a unique market as well which is located in Hangar 1 of the airport. Local crafts, local food and other gifts can be bought from the stalls, a local musician might be playing a few tunes which adds to the atmosphere. And this market turns around Christmas into one of Ireland's most popular Christmas markets.
So if you plan on visiting Strandhill, don't forget to visit the local website ( Go Strandhill - Welcome to our little secret ) , your source of all relevant Strandhill information.