Hi yes unfortunatly you are correct about the Megalithic Cemetary; the visitor centre is closed until March/April. However the area is predominantly fields and while privately owned it is possible (if you're willing) to still explore the area at your own risk. However there is also creevykeel and carrowkeel cemetaries closeby which also have megalithic structures... on top of Knocknarea (this is a mountain which overlooks carrowmore) there is an unexcavated tomb.
I also highly recommend Strandhill as a base as this is closeby for all this - a car is advisable though!
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This was one of the occasions where I just saw one of these tell-tale brown signposts which mark points of interest, pointing down some laneway. So I made the split-second decision that this was something we should have a look at and turned off the main road, once again leaving my long-suffering and bewildered travel-companion wondering what on earth I was up to now.
So after driving down this tiny lane for maybe 2-3 miles we came to a T-junction, which true to form of course was missing a signpost. With no sign of an abbey and the road having turned into a track with grass growing in the middle we decided to abandon the search for the abbey rather than get seriously lost in the middle of nowhere.
When we nearly were back at the main road again we saw some tower in a valley, and decided to investigate what this was. The tower turned out to belong to some mill or factory, but to our surprise the abbey also materialised after just a couple of metres. A second signpost after the one on the main road would really have been very handy!Related to:
- Historical Travel
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Tobernalt Holy Well
This is a holy site which had been used a place of worship since ancient times and was later christianised. During the times of the Penal Laws when Catholicism was suppressed in Ireland it was forbidden to celebrate mass, and it had to be held secretly. Tobernalt was one such a place where such secret masses were celebrated those times.
It is very quiet and serene spot, shaded by trees and with a little stream bubbling down the hill. Gravel walks lead past the stations of the cross and the rosary stones which are dotted around the site.
It’s a great spot to stop by during your travels around Sligo, and to soak up the peaceful atmosphere for a while.Related to:
- Religious Travel
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While this waterfall is not spectacularly high or big it is very scenic, and instead of cascading down a mountain, like most other waterfalls in Ireland it is free-falling and resembles a veil.
What else really is there to say about a waterfall...???
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After years of neglect and disrepair during which Lissadell House had been slowly crumbling away it has changed owner in recent years, and a big effort has been made to restore it to its former glory.
When the Lord and Lady of Lissadell House were out and about enjoying the grounds around the castle they seem to have considered the sight of servants scurrying around a bit of an eyesore, and they therefore had a tunnel built for the servants to use in order to remain well out of sight.
The guided tour only goes through a few restored rooms, but it is very interesting and gives an insight into the troubled lives of the Gore-Booth family. Constance Gore-Booth was born at Lissadell in 1868, who after her wedding to a Polish aristocrat became famous as Countess Markiewicz during the 1916 Easter Rising, and as the first woman to be elected to the British House of Commons. A special exhibition at the Coach House is dedicated to her.
You can get a combined ticket for the tour of the house plus the exhibitions and the two gardens, a walled Victorian vegetable garden and an Alpine garden. Unfortunately when we were there it was lashing rain, so I only had a quick peek into the walled garden, which just looked liked an ordinary vegetable garden growing salads, herbs, etc with a wall around it, and being drenched at that stage I gave the Alpine Garden a miss altogether.
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Drumcliffe is probably most famous for the cemetery where the poet William Butler Yeats is buried. Yeats spent a lot of time in Sligo and the area north of Sligo town is also known as “Yeats’ Country”. His unassuming grave and the tombstone with the famous inscription is right next to the church.
The high cross in the other section of the graveyard is also quite interesting, and one of the carvings seems to resemble a camel (?!?). There is also supposed to be scene on it with Daniel in the lion’s den, but I always find it rather difficult to make out any particular scenes from the weather beaten carvings, unless someone actually points them out to me.
The remains of a round tower which was struck by lightning in the Middle Ages can be seen across the road from the graveyard.
Being a popular tourist spot, you will also find the usual tourist facilities there, i.e. a souvenir shop and a small tea room.
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Parke’s Castle was one of the stopping points on our drive around Lough Gill. It was built on the site of an old tower house, the foundations of which can still be seen in the yard.
One of the interesting features was the underground tunnel which was the ancient equivalent of an emergency exit and led from the yard to the outside wall by the lakeside, where a waiting boat could whisk the lord of the manor away.
Another unusual point of interest was what must be one of the first saunas in Ireland. This was a tiny stone cavern by the lake into which hot stones were placed and then the entrance was closed with a stone. The person inside would then pour water over the stones to produce steam, and afterwards jump into the cool lake.
You can either wander around the castle by yourself or you can wait for one of the guided tours to take place, which was very interesting, and lasted for around 45 minutes. There is also a 20-minute audiovisual, not only about the castle, but also about other sites in the Sligo area.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
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Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery
Being a fan of old stones this was very interesting site to wander around in, even though it is a bit of a pity that it is cut in half with a road running through it. What made made this place fascinating was the large area that it covers and the amount of stone circles, tombs and dolmens it contains, making Carrowmore the largest megalithic cemetery in Ireland.
Equipped with a self-guide map from the little visitor centre we wandered around the field and explored the monuments of various shapes and sizes, with the largest one being Listoghil, a stone cairn reminiscent of a mini-Newgrange from the outside, and with a large dolmen inside.
Across the road there are yet more dolmens and stonecircles, and dolmens within stonecircles, all against the backdrop of the Knocknarea mountain with yet another monument on top which is visible as a large lump on top. Reputedly the legendary Queen Maeve is buried there, standing upright in her grave and facing her enemies.
So it all makes for a very mythical and mysterious atmosphere.Related to:
Celtic Seaweed Baths, Strandhill, Sligo
Seaweed baths, as the name implies, are baths full of hot water and seaweed freshly brought up from the Atlantic coast of Ireland. I tried the ones at Strandhill, as recommended by a local. It was 20 euro, and well worth it. First, there is a steam sauna to open your pores, then the bath itself where you relax for an hour. Your skin and psyche feel wonderful afterwards, and the seaweed is reputed to give benefits to skin conditions such as exzema and psoriasis as well as arthritic conditions.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Luxury Travel
The mountains in County Sligo
There are some spectacular mountains in County Sligo - you have never seen anything quite like them!!
Benbulben is the most well known one. It is an amazing limestone plateau that dominates the surrounding countryside.
It was a little tricky to take a decent photo out the car window....perhaps we shpuld have pulled over and really taken in the view;Related to:
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
The Irish Seaside
When in County Sligo you can get a feel for the Irish Seaside by paying a visit to the beach at Strandhill, 8km's from Sligo Town.
We stayed across the road, and enjoyed a walk by the beach.
Although it was pretty windy, the sky was blue, so that made up for it!!Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Poetry Lovers and English students visit here to see Yeats Grave, But is he here?
Yeats died in France, and was buried in a local cemetry. An englishman died in the same village and was buried in the same Cemetry. During the war the cemetry was damaged, and some residents were moved and buried again, including Yeats and the Englishman.
After the war the families of both men requested they be returned to their home towns. The local doctor knew which coffin was which, as he had attended both men, and remembered "the Englishman" had a surgical support (for Back Pain).
But the doctor had listed Yeats as english also-
Both men had surgical supports!Related to:
- Arts and Culture
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