What better way to spend a weekend, than exploring South Sligo and taking in all the spectacular views on offer. Don’t forget your camera as you will want to capture everything about this stunning landscape, from its clear lakes and rivers to its dramatic mountains and cairns. So, why not grab a few friends for a weekend of free walks and fresh air, or take the kids on an adventure this weekend.
Spend half a day exploring Carrowkeel before travelling a short distance away to Heapstown to take in these impressive megalithic sights near Castlebaldwin, just off the N4 Dublin Sligo route.
Carrowkeel is a beautifully situated neolithic hilltop passage tomb complex consisting of 14 passage cairns identified with letters. The passage cairns are spread across a number of hills that form part of the Bricklieve Mountain range. Carrowkeel is one of a series of limestone plateaus aligned towards Knocknarea.
Heapstown is the site of the largest cairn in Ireland. It is unique in that it is located on low ground and the cairn itself is deemed to be a passage grave. It is 60 metres in diameter and almost 6 metres high, with a kerb of large limestone slabs around the base. This impressive megalithic site is steeped in history and is well worth the trek though the fields to reach it.
On the way to Knocknashee, pass through Ballymote, and stop to take in the impressive sight that is Ballymote Castle. If you get peckish along the way, check out McDermotts Bar & Restaurant in Castlebaldwin and choose from a range of dishes including homemade fishcakes or a warm goats cheese salad. The Coach House Hotel in Ballymote are reopening their newly refurbished Bar and Restaurant, and will be in full swing from the 1st December.
Knocknashee is one of Irelands’ ancient sacred hills, and traditionally known as “the Hill of The Fairies”. It was identified as a hilltop fort in 1988. It is an enclosed hill fort with limestone ramparts containing cairns, burial chambers and hut sites. The fort is 700 metres long and 320 metres wide and is enclosed by two earth and stone ramparts covering an area of 53 acres. When you get to the top of a plateau you can enjoy the stunning panoramic views of the surrounding Connacht landscape. You can finish the evening with a steak night at Murphy’s Hotel in Tubbercurry or Seafood Chowder at Cawley’s both located in Tubbercurry.
If you’d like a guided tour, contact Auriel from Seatrails www.seatrails.ie or John from Wild Wet Adventures www.wildwetadventures.ie for a memorable guided experience.