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Local Attractions

Sligo - A Tour of Yeats Country

Sligo is a county of extraordinary beauty and vivid contrast in its lakes and forests, mountains and rivers. It is a county that has so much more to offer than could ever be captured by pen or canvas. We begin our tour from Sligo town, situated at the mouth of the Garavogue river and surrounded by mountains - Benbulben and Truskmore to the north; the Ox Mountains to the east and Knocknarea to the south. Leave Sligo on the Dublin road forking to the left approx 1 km past the courthouse and garda barracks (signposted Tobernalt). Shortly we catch our first glimpse of beautiful Lough Gill and the Garavogue River. We also see part of Hazelwood estate. Hazelwood House is one of the largest Georgian houses in the county and the estate can be entered from the northern shore of Lough Gill. Approx 200m further on we find the entrance to the car park of Cairns Hill Forest Walk. Two hills here, Belvoir and Cairns are crowned by two stone cairns of the passage tomb types.

Continuing on our route we take a short detour at the next right hand turn to the 'Holy Well', signposted "Tobernalt". This was an important ancient Celtic assembly site of Lughnasa festivities in honour of the Celtic god Lug who gave his name to the Irish form of the month of August. Returning to the lake road and turning right we soon note Dooney Forest Walk and nature trail. Walking along the lake shore and up a steep climb we get some magnificent views of Lough Gill and the mountains surrounding it. Short detours can be made off the main Dromahair road to Cashelore stone fort and to the lake shore to get a close view of the lake isle of 'Innisfree', immortalised in the poem by W B Yeats. On arrival at Dromahair we note that we are now in Co. Leitrim. Dromahair is a pretty village resting in wooded surroundings on the banks of the Bonet River.

Also to visit at Dromahair is Creevelea Abbey founded in 1508 and situated on the left bank of the Bonet River. We continue along the eastern shore of the lake and head through the picturesque and wild countryside of north Leitrim to Manorhamilton, a modest rural town. From Manorhamilton, a we make our way towards Kinlough through the Valley of Glenade, famous for its rare scenic beauty, this wild and rugged district has captivated many a traveller. Here we are in sheep country'. Shortly after Kinlough, which is a major angling centre, we reach Tullyhan, Leitrim's only seaside resort lying on the coast overlooking the broad Atlantic where the three counties of Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo meet. We turn towards Sligo and approx 50m before Creevykeel crossroads, we note the signpost and entrance to Creevykel court tomb. This is the finest example of a classic court tomb, with full court, in Ireland. The tomb built between 3,000 and 3,500 BC. From Creevykeel cross-roads we take a detour to Mullaghmore where we find a fabulous sandy beach running for 3km. In the background towering above the beach and village is majestic "Classiebawn" Castle, former home of the last viceroy of India, the Earl of Mountbatten.

Lying off Mullahgmore is the island of Inishmurray, uninhabited since 1947. It is the most southern breeding ground of the Elder Duck. Returning to the N15 we travel to Cliffoney and then to Grange. Shortly after which we leave the main road yet again to visit Lissadell. Lissadell House was once the home of the Gore-Booth's. Ancestors include Sir Henry Gore-Booth (1843-1900), the artic explorer, and Constance Gore-Booth (1884-1927), a leader in the 1916 uprising and sentenced to death by the British. W.B.Yeats stayed here and referred to Lissadell many times in his writings.

Lissadell is open to the public in summer and its estate is now a forestry and Wildlife bird reserve. Rejoining the main N15 at Drumcliff, we pause at this picturesque village nestling beneath Benbulben and it is here in a lonely churchyard we find the tomb of the great W B Yeats (1865-1939). Poet, patriot and Nobel Prize Winner, we recognise his tomb by the now famous epitaph of his own composition - "Cast a cold eye on life, on death, horseman pass by". Whilst in Drumcliffe, (which was an important Christian monastic site founded by St Colmcille in AD 575), we visit the round tower and see the 10th century high cross, the only one known to occur in Co. Sligo. We return to Sligo via Rosses Point, a favourite seaside resort with two magnificent sandy beaches, situated 8km from Sligo. Total Distance: 76 miles. Public Transport: Daily services between Sligo/Manorhamilton. Tullaglan/Sligo. Bus Eireann organised tours of Lough gill and Yeats country available.

Lough Arrow Lough Gara Drive

Follow the signs for Carrowkeel, west of the village is Castlebaldwin, as the tar road gives way to a grassy track the stark, jutting cliff faces before you have a cathedral majesty which must have held a magic for the great Stone Age architects of these remarkable tombs. You leave the car at the apex of this track and climb by foot the short distance to the top of Bricklieve Mountain. All but one of the cairns you see scattered over the hillside are passage graves; the other covers a court tomb. On a nearby ridge is what appears to be the remains of an ancient village. The commanding views from this hill are spectacularly beautiful and you can appreciate to the full this glorious lake-studded corner of Sligo. The road from Castlebaldwin to Carrowkeel is well signposted. Care should be taken, particularly when you leave the tarred road. After rain the surface can be slippery, and the narrowness of the track leaves little room for error. The wildness and excitement of the place will be better appreciated if you abandon the car in Castlebaldwin and walk the 6km to the tombs.

Glencar Waterfall

A rather modest stream forms an imprissive cascade which can be viewed from a delightful wooded walk where toilets and picnic facilities are provided. There is access to the waterfall for disabled persons. This lovely setting inspired Yeats' poem, "The Stolen Child". Facilities: Car Park, walks, scenic views, Glencar Waterfall.

Kesh Caves

Just over 6km south of Ballymote, these caves have associations reaching back to mythology. Human remains, and those of animals such as the cave bear, the arctic lemming, the reindeer and the Irish elk were found here. Keshcorran, the mountain containing the caves, affords spectacular views of the countryside.

Woodville Farm

Your guided tour of Woodville farm takes you through mature woodland, green pastures and old farm buildings showing a wide range of farm animals and poultry in their natural surroundings. Come view, hold or feed our animals and collect eggs from the free-range hens. See farming as it used to be in our farm machinery museum. Wander through the nature trail in mature woodland and enjoy close contact with cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, pet lambs and donkeys in a picturesque parkland setting. Various breeds of poultry and pheasants share our walled garden while history and heritage are well preserved in our renovated (1870) horse stalls museum.