This year, St Patrick’s Day (or Paddy’s Day as the locals affectionately call it) was on a Thursday and since it is a national holiday many people, us included, took the Friday off as well to make a long weekend of it. The weather is improving now, with a high pressure system sitting over Ireland for about a week. This does not necessarily mean sunshine all the time but at least there is an absence of rain.
So we hopped on a train to Sligo, just over 3 hours from Dublin, and picked up a nearly new Skoda Octavia diesel rental car. (Brilliant car, used only 29 litres of fuel for over 500 km.) We were staying at Strandhill, a beach suburb a few km from the town of Sligo and spent the late afternoon walking around the beach area.
Although this is the North Atlantic, Sligo is within a series of bays which meant that the water was quite calm. However, this placid scene hides extremely dangerous rips and swimming here is completely banned.
As the sun went lower, the light had an intensity on the water which was a struggle for the camera but I still managed to capture something of the scene with many people enjoying the walk and the sea air.
Looking back from the beach towards our hotel (which is the group of white buildings on the left) you see a large hill called Knocknarea. At its 327-metre summit is a large cairn thought to be a burial tomb which dates to about 3000 BC which the locals call Medb’s (Maeve’s) Tomb after a legendary queen of Connacht. It is a steep climb to the top but I am pleased to report that Pip made it all the way on a subsequent day. I went just far enough up, about 20 minutes’ climb, to take photos of the view, never having been one to tackle anything difficult just “because it is there” (I guess you could say Sir Ed and I don’t have much in common although I quite like bees) and then retreated back to the car.