At the end of August I went on a short trip to Sligo on Ireland’s west coast – it was a super relaxing.
Relaxing because whenever I stopped to watch the primordial waves either crashing on, or murmuring towards the shoreline, and to drink in the beauty of the surrounding scenery, I felt an inner calmness. It’s a paradox that quietude came in places where the unruly elements of nature are to the fore, but come it did.
I stayed for two nights but as I drove down early on the first day and back late-ish on the last I effectively had three full days in the area. I front-loaded much of what I wanted to do and see into the first day to give me a chilled day in the middle so I had plenty of energy to take a detour via Galway city on the drive home. Here’s some of what I did on that first day:
My first stop was a short one at Rosses Point where I admired the view before heading a little further along the coast to see Sligo’s most famous historical building: Lissadell House. The house is a large grey symmetrical Georgian building that’s as austere a wild Atlantic rocky outcrop. But it’s hunkered down in a spellbindingly beautiful spot between the sea and the majestic Ben Bulben rock formation which table-tops the nearby Dartry mountains. So, as I rounded a path and the house and its otherworldly setting hovered into view I uttered an involuntary: wow!
The €12 euro entrance fee to the Lisadelll estate felt like fair value, even though restoration of the house and gardens is a work in progress. The house tour was led by a knowledgable local guide who threaded together, in an easy to listen to fashion, information about the literary, artist, and historic connections which make Lissadell the stuff of legend
After the tour I meandered around the estate’s paths and stopped awhile to admire the planting in the alpine garden. But not for long as time was marching on so I headed to the cafe in Lissadell’s stable block for a bowl of soup before getting back on the road.
My next stop was Drumcliffe Church’s graveyard to look at the poet W.B. Yeats’s grave. His famous epitaph is etched on a simple slab of stone. I am not sure exactly what the epitaph means but it has a haunting ring to it.
I then drove to Strandhill to checked into my hotel. It was mid-afternoon so I headed down to the shore to while away some time watching the sea and admiring the skill and balance of the surfer dudes who were threading the waves atop their surfboards.
I had booked a late afternoon seaweed bath in the Voya facility in Strandhill so that’s what I did next. It is by far and away the best thing I have done for myself in a six-month of Saturdays. Once, that is, I got over the icky fear of getting into a bath filled with slippery slimy seaweed. I felt great afterwards.
I topped off the day with a salad and a glass of Prosecco at the quintessence of a seaside eatery: Strandhill’s Shells Cafe. And then it was back to my hotel for an early night.