Hi everyone I hope I find you all well and that the sun is shining where you are. If not, then let’s pretend the weather is glorious as we continue our virtual walking tour of Ireland! This week we venture into the province of Connaught in the west. Here’s some of my favorite walks in this very special part of the country.
Walking Around Ireland. Connaught
1. Streedagh Beach, Sligo
Well if we’re in Connaught then we have to begin in my absolute favorite Irish County -Sligo. I could choose all my Connaught walks very easily in this county but I’ll limit myself to just two! The first is one of my favorite beach walks. This 3 km long strand is the perfect place to blow away the cobwebs and achieved international fame last year when it featured in the critically acclaimed TV show, Normal People. The views of Benbulben are spectacular which dominates the Sligo skyline and the crashing Atlantic waves provide the perfect soundtrack. Bliss!
2. Croagh Patrick
We cross over into County Mayo for a mountain hike as we follow in the footsteps of Ireland’s patron saint. Legend has it that it was from here that St Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland and fasted for 40 days as penance. The Pilgrim Path is a 7km hike to the top of the mountain which stands at 2500 feet and offers the most breathtaking views – the perfect reward after your climb. As penance, some pilgrims climb the mountain bare-footed to truly follow in the steps of Ireland’s patron saint- I admire their hardiness but this is definitely not recommended from a safety point of view!
3. Keem Bay, Achill Island
Staying in County Mayo we head over to Achill Island for a stroll around the beautiful Keem Bay. Keem beach provides the perfect centerpiece to the bay and is beautifully framed by cliffs on each side. An old coastguard station perches high on the western side. From here you can walk along the top of the cliffs towards Achill Head. More breathtaking Atlantic views guaranteed!
4. Killary Harbour, Connemara
Next stop Connemara, one of Ireland’s most awe-inspiring landscapes and a veritable wonderland of walking trails. I’ve chosen Killary Harbor, one of Ireland’s 3 glacial fjords which runs along the Mayo Galway border. This 6km shoreline walk offers an absolute feast for the eyes with dramatic mountains on all sides sweeping down to the water’s edge.
5. Gortarowey Looped Walk, Sligo
I’m heading back up to my beloved County Sligo for one of my all time favorite Irish walks. The Gortarowey looped walk is about 5 km and takes a very leisurely hour and a half to complete. From the car park, you wander through secluded lush wooodlands. The landscape then opens out and you find yourself at the foot of the truly magnificent Benbulben. On the way back expect stunning views of Donegal Bay, Mullaghmore and Slieve League mountain. Hoping to be back up there very soon!!
Thanks so much for dropping by. See you next time for some meanders around Munster!
Take care of yourselves and each other,
Slán go fóill!
I have a Connemara shamrock hanging in my kitchen window.