The Lough Gill Tour
Hazelwood → Lough Colgagh → Deer-Park → Lough Gill → Parkes Castle → Creevelea Abbey → Lake-Isle-of-Innisfree → The Holy Well at Tobernault
Hazelwood Demesne is just 5 Kilometres from Sligo on the road to Dromahair and is located at a place known as Half Moon Bay on the shore of Lough Gill. On arriving you notice a line of row boats moored under the trees at Annagh, Bay. This area is a walkers paradise with an abundance of lovely flowers trees and trails. There is a beautiful picnic area at Half Moon Bay where the Ducks and Swans come to greet you. Along the trails you can see Church Island Cottage Island and Goat Island. You cannot drive past without pausing to see and admire the beauty of your surroundings. We go back on the main road and head for Deer-Park.
Deer Park has three internal burial chambers. The site is on a forested hill overlooking the north shore of Lough Gill and dates back 3000 years BC. When we arrive in the car-park there is a 15-20 minute walk through a wooded area to get to the site of these ancient Tombs.
Parkes Castle – Situated on the north eastern shore of Lough Gill Parkes Castle is a 17th century Manor House with a Bawn (Enclosed Yard) and round towers on the angles. There are guided tours of the castle every hour. When we leave Parks Castle we enjoy a 7 kilometre picturesque drive to Dromahair.
This is Franciscan Friary founded in 1508 by Owen O Rourke. it was in use until the 17th century when the Franciscans were driven out by the Cromwellian Army. It is a ruin today but is a National Monument. In 1798 General Humbert led the Irish and French forces to defeat the British in battles in Castlebar and Collooney. Humbert’s army rested in Dromahair before they captured British Artillery which was thrown into the River Bonnet. On leaving Dromahair, we can’t leave Lough Gill without seeing the lake Isle Of Innisfree.
The Lake Isle of Innisfree a beautiful Island just off the south coast of Lough Gill and there is a small pier where you can board a boat to visit the island. When William Butler Yeats was in London he would walk down Fleet Street and long for the Seclusion setting of the Isle of Innisfree. The sound of the water coming from a fountain in a shop window reminded Yeats of his childhood on the Lake and on the Island and it was this inspiration that Yeats credits for the creation of the poem; Lake Isle of Innisfree.