6 things to see and do along Sligo's Wild Atlantic Way this autumn 1 month ago

6 things to see and do along Sligo's Wild Atlantic Way this autumn

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Fall in love with the Wild Atlantic Way this Autumn.

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Autumn is a terrific time to embrace the great outdoors in Ireland as the landscape and wildlife are stunningly vibrant. The shimmering autumnal colours make everything seem even more picturesque, and this time of year is peak whale-watching season on the west coast.

To make the most of this all-too-short season, here are some sensational autumn activities to discover in Sligo...

Climb Knocknarea along the Queen Maeve Trail

"The wind has bundled up the clouds high over Knocknarea and thrown the thunder on the stones for all that Maeve can say."

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The beauty and mythology of Knocknarea moved W.B. Yeats so much that he wrote about it in no less than seven poems. And once you see this mountain, it will captivate you too.

Need a quick refresher on Queen Maeve? She was the warrior queen of Connacht, and legend has it that she is buried in the cairn at the top of Knocknarea - upright, spear in hand, facing her enemies in Ulster.

To reach the summit and the cairn, take the 6km Queen Maeve Trail, which starts opposite the Sligo Rugby Club. The looped walk features a wooden boardwalk with viewing platforms and information plaques along the way and takes about two hours to complete. The coastal views are breathtaking, and you'll see the Ox Mountains, Lough Gill and Slieve League in Donegal. On a clear day, you can even see Croagh Patrick.

Please do not climb the cairn. Locals consider it a sacred burial place, so please treat it and the surrounding area with dignity and respect.

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Kayak the tranquil waters of Lough Gill 

Need to get away from it all and clear the cobwebs? Then take to the tranquil waters of Lough Gill on a kayak. Lough Gill is home to around 20 small islands as well as the Lake Isle of Innisfree, immortalised by W.B.Yeats in his poem of the same name, and a relaxing way to explore this scenic region is from the water. You can opt to go it alone or go with a guide who will enlighten you with tales of the history and legends of the lake. Kayaking Lough Gill is also an excellent wildlife experience as you'll see kingfishers, otters, herons and salmon as the lough is home to an abundance of flora and fauna.

 

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Give stand-up paddle boarding a go in Enniscrone

Enniscrone is a lively seaside resort with many fun things to do on land and water. If you have never tried stand-up paddleboarding (SUPing) before, Enniscrone harbour is a great place to find your sea legs as the waters are calm and sheltered.

Stand-up paddleboarding is a relatively easy water sport to get the hang of, and once you do, it is terrific fun. As you glide along the water, with the sun on your face and fresh air filling your lungs, there is a real sense of freedom and peacefulness. If you fancy something a bit more challenging, you can do SUPing at the bay and the beach, which are more exposed, and you can ride the waves. Wherever you go, you'll have crystal clear waters and a variety of sea life to look out for, including seals and dolphins.

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See some good doggo demonstrations at Atlantic Sheepdogs

Watch in amazement as some of the world's smartest dogs follow the commands and individual whistles of expert trainer Martin Feeney to herd sheep around the farm and mountain. It's mesmerising seeing the sheep and dogs working together.

These sheepdog demonstrations are an extraordinary glimpse into country life; you'd be barking mad to miss them. Apart from the dazzling demonstrations, you'll also learn how Martin trains his sheepdogs and how they are an essential part of Irish farm life. Demonstrations take place Monday to Saturday, and pre-booking is necessary.

Meet feathered predators at the Eagles Flying experience in Ballymote

Want to get up close and personal with feathered predators? During the bird shows at Eagles Flying, eagles, hawks, falcons, vultures and owls swoop right over your head and land right next to you. These bird shows provide a rare opportunity to see many of these stunning species in dramatic free flight. You might even get the opportunity to touch one of these magnificent birds and have one land on your bare hand if you are brave enough.

To learn more, take a guided tour with an expert. As you walk through the fields, you'll see even more birds in the aviaries and on perches and learn about their biology and essential role in nature.

Set sail along the Wild Atlantic Way

Sailing is a fun, challenging outdoor activity that is a great way to bond with your mates. Get your crew together, get out onto the water with Wild West Sailing, and experience the Northwest's breathtaking mountain and coastal views. Aboard one of their impressive 40ft yachts, you can explore the majestic Donegal Atlantic, before hiking along the scenic Sliabh Liag coastline. This two-day wilderness experience totally immerses you in the breath-taking nature of Sligo's Wild Atlantic Way and offers excellent wildlife watching, including whales and dolphins.

 

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Now is the perfect time to plan take an Autumn getaway to Sligo to embrace the great outdoors.

The Leave No Trace principles help us make as little an impact as possible on the incredible Irish landscape as we explore the outdoors this summer and beyond. Keep outdoor areas safe, clean and free from waste/hazards, and help protect the natural environment. Love this place; leave no trace.

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