EXPLORE YEATS’ COUNTRY, SLIGO
Experience the great outdoors like never before in Sligo! Set in the wild and beautiful countryside of Sligo Bay, the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa is just a 5-minute drive from Sligo city centre with its vibrant galleries, traditional pubs and a myriad of shopping opportunities. Close by, catch the waves at Strandhill, visit Yeats’ resting place or gaze in wonder at Ben Bulben, Ireland’s most distinctive mountain.
Sligo is a pretty town on the west coast of Ireland in County Sligo. It lies on the banks of the River Garavogue on the estuary into Sligo Bay. Sligo has always been an important port but today it attracts visitors from around the world seeking the peaceful Irish countryside, picturesque villages and adventures in the wilderness. Kite surfers harness the powerful winds and surfers ride the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Anglers hoping to hook trout head to Lough Gill and hikers head up to the surrounding mountains. Sligo has the Dartry mountain range and the Ox Mountains - Knocknarea is a popular place to hike with a famous burial mound at the top but the most noticeable peak is Ben Bulben – Ireland’s answer to Table Mountain.
If you prefer a bit of culture then Sligo won’t disappoint and the hotel is just three kilometres from the centre, where you’ll find a castle and a medieval abbey. Shoppers head to O’Connell Street, Wine Street or Grattan Street for a mix of high street fashion names and independent shops selling crafts and handmade jewellery. The Sligo County Museum has a range of great pieces on W.B Yeats including letters, poems and photographs from the famous local poet. Sligo was also the home of Bram Stoker’s mother and it’s wonderful to imagine how he came up with Dracula as you watch the sun slip behind the shadowy mountains. Once the sun is set the town comes alive, especially on the river. Rockwood Parade has plenty of pubs and bars – the perfect place to experience some traditional Irish music and dancing. There’s also an orchestra if you prefer classical music.
The Radisson Blu Hotel &Spa is close to all the action but far enough away to relax in the grounds. For day trips there’s Knocknarea Peninsula or Rosses Point, a pretty little village with a sandy beach where W.B Yeats spent his summers. Surfers can head to Strandhill for the rolling Atlantic waves. After a long day exploring you’ll be happy to head back to the hotel for a spa treatment or relax in the Rasul before dinner.
Sligo is a popular place to visit for anyone who loves the Great Outdoors. Here are a few of its top attractions.
- Sligo lies on the River Garavogue and at the bottom of Lough Gill and one great way to spend a day is to drive around the lake’s green shores – you can add to the drama of the countryside with a stop at Parke Castle (open April-September).
- Take a walk through the forest around Ben Bulben, one of Sligo’s top attractions. Ben Bulben is the same shape as Cape Town’s Table Mountain – but on a smaller scale. Ask the concierge for some walking routes and enjoy the views across the woods and mountains.
- Get your culture fix with Sligo’s medieval Abbey where you can take a tour of the ruins and see how people lived. Sligo also has a castle and the Sligo County Museum which gives you a good understanding of the town’s rich history as well as an insight into W.B Yeats’ life, Sligo’s most famous poet.
- Bring your golf clubs! County Sligo Golf Course was founded in 1894 and is a challenging place to play with incredible views across the fairways – it’s surrounded by mountains and under the shadow of the great Ben Bulben.
- Take a stroll along the river and enjoy a drink and the happy atmosphere at the bars down the Rockwood Parade. You may even feel inspired to tap along to a traditional Irish jig.
- For a bit of an adventure wait for low tide and drive across the beach at Sligo Bay to Coney Island. You’ll have lovely views of Sligo and the surrounding villages from this pretty island – just be careful you know the tide times so you don’t get stranded!
- Ben Bulben is Sligo’s own Table Mountain and it is a great idea to do one of the many walks around this beautiful area. Part of Sligo’s Dartry range, Ben Bulben was formed during the ice age by glaciers and the dramatic landscape is unique and astonishing. You’ll take home some amazing photos and great memories. Gortarowey is a good trail to start with as it is suitable for all abilities. The walk begins in a forest and after a while, as you ascend, you’ll get panoramic views of Donegal Bay as well as the mountains including Slieve League, Mullaghmore and the stunning Classiebawn Castle.
- Hazelwood at Half Moon Bay on the shores of Lough Gill is a short walk (3km) but you’ll see much of the beauty of Sligo’s surrounding countryside. The starting point is just 5km outside the town and the path follows the lake. You’ll come across wooden sculptures and picnic points as well as amazing lake views.
- Rosses Point walk is another short walk (just under 3km). Rosses Point is a small seaside village and a must-see from Sligo. It was the place W.B Yeats spent his summers as a child. There are great views of Oyster Island and Coney Island on this route as well as the famous Metal Man sea sculpture made in 1821 – pointing sailors in the right direction.
- A 4km walk which includes Sligo town, the Garavogue River and park walk will show you a nature trail (Doorly Park) and the peaceful banks of the Garavogue River. It’s a loop walk so it can be done in either direction.