If you like a challenge, enjoy the fresh air, and taking in spectacular scenery, Sligo’s newest walking trail may be just the thing for you.
A new walking trail is to be launched in Sligo this Saturday, 18th April, all are welcome. The new trail, which begins in Strandhill and will take in some of the finest views in Sligo, will enable walkers to take in breathtaking views across Sligo Bay from the vantage point of the top of Knocknarea.
“For many years, locals and visitors alike have enjoyed the walk up Knocknarea, but we have recently added features and pathways which will enable people of all ages and abilities to enjoy a really wonderful walk and the spectacular views,” said Michael Carty of Sligo County Council, ahead of Saturday’s launch.
Walkers are asked to arrive at Sligo Rugby Club on Saturday at 12 noon, where they will have access to free parking facilities, and where they will be met by an experienced guide, who will accompany the group as they make their way up towards the mountain summit. The walk is expected to take approximately 1.5 hours, and walkers are reminded that this walk is suitable for anyone with a moderate level of fitness, though parents are reminded that, as with all walks, it is important to provide a level of supervision of children.
The new trail starts at Dolly’s cottage on the R292 near Strandhill, taking walkers up the Northern slopes of Knocknarea, past Megalithic and Bronze Age remains, on through Coillte forests along a raised boardwalk or ‘bog bridge’ to the summit. Along the route are abandoned and derelict stone cottage, with stories to tell. The trail which includes over 500 wooden steps and opens out onto Knocknarea’s summit providing spectacular views over Sligo and Ballysadare Bay, with wider views stretching as far as Nephin in Mayo to Sliabh League sea cliffs in Donegal. Follow the trail to Queen Maeve’s Cairn which sits proudly at the mountain summit.
While the walk is considered relatively easy, it is important to come prepared. Bring water, as the climb starts near sea level and climbs approximately 900ft before the sights of Sligo and surrounding Strandhill reveal themselves. Sturdy boots are also recommended, and with the weather set to pick up again over the weekend, sun protection is also advised.
Having ascended Knocknarea and taken in the wonderful views, walkers will descend will the existing trail to the Glen car park, where a complimentary bus service will return walkers to the car park at Sligo Rugby Club. Refreshments will be provided.
“This will be the first of many excursions planned for the Summer, adds Carty. “Anyone, anytime, can take in the scenery of Sligo through a number of recently added walks. But there is something special about Knocknarea, and with so many visitors expected in Sligo this Summer ahead of Yeats 150 and the Fleadh Cheoil, we want to get the word out to everyone, locals and visitors, that these walks are there for people to come and enjoy.”
The Queen Maeve Trail is developed by Sligo County Council, financed through EU Interreg Iva Border Uplands Project led by ICBAN, with support from landowners, Coillte and supporting agencies making the project possible. Thank you to all who have made this new exciting walk a reality for the public. Please respect the trail and adjoining property. Dogs should be kept under close control , pick up your mess, and respect for others including livestock with active farming operating in the surrounding area.