Donegal Town to Sligo Town: 62 miles / 2 hours at 30mph
Donegal Town to Mullaghmore Head
The beginning of this route brings us to Donegal town, and your farewell to this vast county as you head southbound on the Wild Atlantic Way. Settle in for the evening after a stroll along the harbor and a feed of Donegal Bay oysters fresh from the trawlers.
And so we move towards Mullaghmore, but not before a brief but beautiful stop in the ever-verdant county of Leitrim.
Stocky stone crosses are almost ubiquitous in Ireland, but the sample at Tullaghan has a story that sets it apart. Mysteriously washed up on Leitrim’s shores in 1778 it was rescued and erected by a local landlord. Today, it stands proudly in Tullaghan village, safe from the Atlantic’s erosive intent.
Any anglers in this part of the world should take note: the Drowes and Duff rivers are some of the most plentiful salmon spots on the island.
Mullaghmore Head is where surfing records are broken. The last to be smashed here was in 2012. It’s also where you’ll find one of nature’s purest therapies…think about stopping off for a hot bath of Atlantic seawater seaweed at the Pier Head Hotel.
As an island, we’ve had our fair share of seafaring visitors. Some have come to a tragic end on these shores. You can visit the site of the 16th century Spanish Armada Shipwrecks at Streedagh Beach, County Sligo. A monument now commemorates those who lost their lives.
Mullaghmore Head to Sligo Town
Leave the Neoprene-clad daredevils behind at Mullaghmore, and head south to Sligo town next, a place well known for its toe-tapping traditional Irish music sessions. In fact, the town’s stellar reputation put it top of the list to host the most prestigious Irish music festival on the island of Ireland – the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil. So pack your dancing shoes if you’re making your way to Sligo around August 2014.
You’re in Yeats Country here, too. The Nobel Laureate WB Yeats (son of a Sligo-born mother, who brought her children back to grow up in her home county) is celebrated both in the town and countryside. The dramatic backdrop of Ben Bulben in the Dartry Mountains can be seen from Sligo town. Standing out as a spectacular rock formation, there’s no doubt WB Yeats gazed upon this very same sight when penning his poem Under Ben Bulben. His younger brother Jack also ensured that his illustrious works of art portrayed a little of that special Sligo beauty, no matter what the subject.
Glencar waterfall, County Leitrim provided by Shutterstock/Walshphoto
A 25-minute detour from Ben Bulben is Glencar Waterfall, a secreted gem of gushing brilliance immortalized by Yeats in the poem ‘The Stolen Child’. Picnic facilities are plentiful here, so should the weather suit, make an afternoon of it.
Post Glencar visit, reconnect with the Wild Atlantic Way at Sligo Town, home to countless Yeats brothers secrets and sliced elegantly by the Garavogue River.