WEST-ing [A mini guide to Sligo)
I have been toying with the idea of a mini travel guide to the parts of Ireland that I adore, the only problem is I adore most of Ireland :) I wanted to make a start on the West Coast. This is where I find my happiness, contentment and inspiration for my scents!
I have spent a lot of time on the West, it sometimes feels more like home to me than anywhere else I have ever lived. I am a Belfast boy, born and bred, but there is a pull to the West that keeps calling me back. and every time I answer, it feels like going home.
Our most recent trip was one of the best yet, for a few reasons; we booked our wedding in one of my favourite pubs ever and we stumbled upon new parts of the west that I have never been to before.
The trip started off on the wrong foot tho, we had planned on camping out as we couldn’t find any dog friendly accommodation for the first few days. Due to mad winds, we decided against it, but we were already in Sligo. So, we headed to the pub to decide what to do, as you do. After a 2 minute search on Airbnb we found the most incredible cottage not too far away. It was booked and sorted there and then.
When we arrived, we just stood around gazing at the most beautiful court yard, with two super friendly horses and our cottage off to the side.
Our lovely host Eve, met us and took us to the cottage. As soon as she opened the door, I fell in love. It was a beautifully and tastefully restored cottage. Each corner and shelf was filled with delights, from an incredible collection of books to beautiful lamps, and nods to it’s farming past. The sofa was one of the comfiest I have ever sat in. The place just screamed home to me. There was even a small cospe of trees outside with a fire pit, chairs and hammock.
The kitchen was awesome, it had a big fire (already blazing for us when we landed), food left for our breakfast, a beautiful Belfast sink and a dresser with everything we needed. The living room was glorious, loads of rugs on the bare floor, with comfy (COMFY) seats. I could quite easily live on that sofa, in fact I barely left it. The bedroom too, was just awesome. A super bed, with soft linens and perfect lighting. Even the curtains, were drifting gently in with the breeze, like some sort of tasteful eighties music video.
We toyed with the idea of cancelling the other Airbnb and just stay there, but it was only free for the one night.
This was a real find and we cannot wait to get back. You can find the listing on Airbnb here.
No trip to sligo would be complete without a trip to our FAVS, Shell’s Seaside Cafe! Found in the gorgeous surf village, Strandhill. This place is just bursting with energy. Stoked restaurant is also a gem of a place to check out for great food. Strandhill is also home to the West’s first and only female owned surf school called Rebelle Surf. I’ve been hearing great things about their lessons, so if you fancy giving it a blast, I would give them a shout. The hill behind the village is called Knocknarea. The views from the top are simply incredible. There is a car park, about half way up and an hour or so walk from there to the summit. Part of the way up is a dried river course, that in a previous life was under a shallow sea, you can still easily spy fossilised coral reefs!
There is an un-excavated tomb on the top, named after Queen Meabh. It’s said to be good luck to lift a small stone you find along the path, carry it to the top and place it on the mound. It’s all about the views tho, follow the path around the tomb (clockwise for luck) to the far side and check out the view. There is a small woodland on the far slope, with a small cave that revealed the bones of a 5000 year old child! You can find out more here. It’s a great read.
Another gem in Sligo is a village called Easkey. As a family we have been going here since I was a kid and makes up a big part of my child hood and why I fell in love with Surfing! A big reason to go is Pudding Row, a cafe that serves some on the most incredible grub in Ireland! Every single time we go we are blown away. The coffee is awesome, as are the sweet treats. Setup and run by the LOVELY Dervla, you can be guaranteed the freshest of ingredients and sometime organic fare from local gardens. For me, it’s the combination of flavours, especially for their specials, which are always a treat. You have views of the castle down by the Ocean to enjoy as you feast over food too. It genuinely makes me sad living so far away from it.
Just down the street is McGowan's Pub, this is one of the best pubs in Ireland. Perfect Guinness, amazing banter and some of the best nights out I have ever had. Check them out for their unseasonal fancy dress nights! Just next door is Rosies Pottery. Pretty much all my plates, cups and bowls come from here. Each one is made by the super talented Rosie. You can see the impact on living in such an incredible part of the world has on her pieces. Each is just stunning.
If you fancy a dip in the sea, there is an incredible natural pool along the coast, a local doctor funded the building of a small wall to help enclose more water into it. It took a few attempts, but they got there in the end, and now there is a natural pool that is replenished twice each day by the tides. Shallow along the wall, then it deepens at the far side. We got there on a warm day and it was like swimming in a heated pool. Funny enough, I bumped into a friend there, who I haven’t seen in years! Of all places!!
There are so many other places to explore in Sligo and we will explore more in the next post. For now, thanks so much for stopping by. Here are all the places with their links, in case you missed them.
Any question, sure let us know!
Michael, Joe + Teddy