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July 26, 2011

The Distant Call Of Sligo

by Julianne Mooney

There’s something special about the August Bank Holiday weekend. Perhaps it’s the knowledge there are but a few weeks left before Back To School signs mark the end of summer.

This week I have been peering up at the sky every five minutes awaiting evidence of the prophesied heat wave. Alas, the sky remains stubbornly cloudy and I appear to have a crick in my neck.

No matter the weather, cars will be packed on Thursday evening in preparation for road trips around the country. I find myself wishing I’d booked a three-day cruise down the Shannon. Before embarking on our journey we’d dine at the  Oarsman Bar a fantastic gastro-pub  in Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim. Then we’d stock our barge with wine, beer, cheese, meats and treats, and chug up north to Lough Allen or perhaps south towards Athlone. Either way, it would be a weekend of lazy meals, pit-stops at riverside villages and dangling of feet in cool waters.

Or a trip to Sligo, the land of Yeats with it’s crescent beaches, rolling waves and glistening lakes. I’d walk the beach at Enniscrone, where families congregate for picnics and novice surfers brave the Atlantic waves. Then I’d allow myself be mesmerised by the ease and grace of the surfers at Easkey, before heading to  Strand Hill to shame myself on a board and prove to Tom Hickey from Perfect Day Surf School that I really am not made to surf.

The lure of the warm seaweed baths at Voya are almost enough to make me rearrange the weekend and set off west. I wonder what’s on at The Model in Sligo town? I’d also quite fancy another jaunt around the  Yeats Trail, which is not some cliche, tourist trail, but rather one of the best ways to see Sligo’s prettiest sights.

My head is now filled with images of Lough Arrow, a silent, mysterious lake tucked into the centre of the county. Overlooking the lake, you can scale Bricklieve Mountain and explore the 14 passage tombs of Carrowkeel Cemetery. It’s eerie, but exciting dropping into the dark, damp tombs said to date back to 3,200 BC. I can’t think of Lough Arrow without thinking of our luxurious stay at the divine Cromleach Lodge. Stunning views, amazing service and sumptuous food made me vow to return as soon as I could. Need I say more?

Oh look, the sun has arrived! I must go and climb onto my deck chair where I can continue my daydreams. Maybe, I’ll pull out my Time Out Guide and call a few places in Sligo to see if they have a spare room…

PS: If you’re looking for a fun packed weekend check out this website – it’s got everything you will need: http://www.adventuresligo.com/

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