For our final day in Sligo we explored the town in the morning, experiencing some rain for the first time on this trip. Perhaps it was the rain but it felt a little depressed and down-at-heel with many empty shops. Some parts of rural Ireland have not recovered well from the economic crisis of a few years ago and Sligo town is possibly one of those that are struggling.
They have a very fine statue of W B Yeats in the town and some of the shops obviously take a pride in their heritage. Sligo Abbey is right in the centre of town but unfortunately it was all locked up so we were able only to get a shot or two from over the fence. Like many towns in Ireland, a river runs through it. This one was originally called the Sligeach, from which the town got its name, which means “abounding in shells”. However, for whatever reason, the river is now named the Garavogue. The original name has a pronunciation which I simply cannot manage but, like most words in Irish it has a lovely poetic lilt to it. Listen to a couple of ways of saying it here.
Then in the afternoon we went up Knocknarea (“knock-na-ray“). We got the car to the car park and set off but as I have mentioned in an earlier blog, only one of us persevered to the top.
At the car park level there were some old farm cottages which were very photogenic, especially with the background view.
After we had walked up the track for some distance, a fairly easy walk, it suddenly became a lot more steep and mountain-goat-like, at which point the target of getting to the top didn’t look anywhere near as compelling so we stopped and took advantage of the height we had reached so far to take the following photos:
Undaunted, Pip continued and took another 30 minutes or so to get to the summit where she was able to confirm that it was, after all, worth the effort. Unfortunately, her iPhone camera didn’t cope well with the distance shots but here are a couple to show the view and Queen Maeve’s tomb.
We have included one more photo because this was the only one from the following day, taken as we drove back into Sligo to catch our train. It catches Ben Bulben from another angle with houses on the peninsula to Rosses Point and the harbour at low tide.