The Knocknarea Tour
Coney Island → Carrowmore Tombs → Knocknarea → The Glen → Strandhill → Ballysadare → Beltra the Ox Mountains → Left at Dromard up Ladies Brea → Lough Acree → Aughris Head.
Experience Knocknarea Mountain
from €300 for 1-3 persons & from €400 for 4-8 persons
7 Days a Week
Details & Itinerary
Our first port of call (in a manner of speaking) is Coney Island. At its peak 200 people lived on Coney Island, but after the Famine the population was decimated and now the island is home to just one remaining family. A trip to Coney Island can prove to be eventful. Boats from the mainland regularly call in, or you can brave the causeway, guided by 14 pillars built in 1845. It’s only accessible at low tide but once on dry land you can take the edge off the day in the local pub, which was first licensed as far back as 1856. The island has several beautiful deserted beaches, the main one being Carty’s Strand. En route you can take the weight off your feet by sitting on St Patrick’s Wishing Chair, reputed to have been placed there by the saint himself. From Coney we head to Carrowmore Tombs.
Carrowmore is the largest Megalithic cemetery in Ireland and is one of the oldest and most important in Europe. It covers an area of about a half of a square kilometre in the shadow of Knocknarea to the west. The area is now protected and 30 monuments in varying degrees of preservation can be visited. The monuments are dated from circa 4840 to 4370 BC. There is a Visitor Centre near the car park open daily from May to Sept. Garavogue Villas in Abbeyquarter, near Saint Anne’s Church in Sligo has a similar monument to those at Carrowmore. We leave here and take the short journey to the car park for Knocknarea Mountain. From the car-park it’s about a 40 minute walk to the summit. Maeve’s Cairn which is situated on the peak of Knocknarea overlooks Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery and is visible for miles around. Your walk is rewarded with spectacular views when you reach the summit. It is un-excavated but like Heapstown Cairn it may cover a passage tomb, possibly dating back to 3000 BC. The name of the monument along with folklore suggests that it may be the burial place of Maeve, the iron age Queen of Connaught. As we drive down the road from Knocknarea we look for a small Well on our right, “The Glen” is straight across the road.
The Glen, in the summer, this is where you go down the rabbit hole and follow the muddy trail that brings you into The Glen. There are no signposts and no explanations for this natural wonder. It’s in a place where Knocknarea falls out of the sky and heads towards the Sea. A natural event, perhaps an earthquake, has gouged a deep grassy channel out of the rock, and over the past centuries huge trees have grown tall in the centre. When you walk into the gorge the sound drops away and everything becomes still and hushed. Water trickles down its walls and the green cathedral like space gives a feeling of being cut off from any sense of time. This is a little piece of magic in the Sligo hinterland, and all the better for being that little bit somewhat difficult to find.
Next we travel the scenic route to Strandhill which is a very picturesque village situated 8 kilometres west of Sligo town between the Atlantic Ocean and the towering slopes of Knocknarea Mountain. There are miles of golden sandy beaches and some gigantic sand dunes to explore. You may be lucky enough to experience the unforgettable views of Atlantic sunsets. High Atlantic surges provide the best surfing in Europe and it is an International Surfing Championship Venue. In the centre of Strandhill you will find the Seaweed Baths and on the outskirts there is an 18-hole golf course which is playable all year round. Molly’s Cottage is a 200 year old Traditional Irish Thatched cottage open to the public.
Next we head to Ballysadare or (Baile Easa Dara ) meaning settlement of the oak by the Waterfall is 7 kilometres from Sligo on the N59 Ballina road. There was massive economic growth during what was referred to as “The Celtic Tiger” boom years. Many new housing developments were built, several of which now lay empty, creating phantom estates. The town boasts a beautiful River and a small Waterfall and the river is a haven for Salmon and Trout anglers.
From Ballysadare we travel out the N59 to Aughris, Easkey and Inishcrone. Passing the villages of Beltra and Dromard we take the next left up to Lake Achree (from the Gaelic for “The Heart Lake”). When you are ready we head up to Lady’s Bray and see the Panoramic views of Sligo and the surrounding areas. Back on the N59 again we take the next right for Aughris. Aughris Head provides breathtaking views of Benbulben and Knocknarea. The natural beauty and coastline here offer pure tranquility and it is another walker’s paradise with beach walks and hill walks Aughris Beach Bar suitable for all the family. In the evening you can retire to the Beach Bar which is a Traditional Irish Thatched Pub and Restaurant.
Personalized and a Treasure!
We booked Eugene online, not knowing what to expect. There were not a lot of private tours to choose from, so we went with Sligo Tours! We booked through email, and were very nervous – knowing that the roads are narrow and difficult, we prayed that we got someone who knew how to drive. We also did not have any idea as to what we wanted to see. We left it with Eugene to select our stops. He brought us to many beautiful areas of Sligo and the base of the Benbulben mountain range. We could not have asked for anything better. Eugene was flexible on each stop in leaving us to decide how long we wanted to stay at each location. He is a wealth of knowledge and shared many historical and interesting details. We could not have asked for a better day!
Worth every cent!
If you are heading to Sligo and would like to see all of its highlights we cannot recommend Eugene and Sligo Tours more. We contacted him in advance with an itinerary which he covered but then Eugene went the extra mile (literally) and added four more stunning locations to our day trip. Eugene is a Sligo native and so naturally knows the county, its roads and beyond inside out. The tour was at our own pace and never felt rushed. Private tours are not cheap but Eugene made this day trip worth every cent. It was a lovely way to see all the highlights of Sligo in one day with an excellent guide and chauffeur in a very clean and comfortable vehicle. Thank you again, Eugene! We will be back in 2020. Ross
Book This Tour!
My husband and I enjoyed an absolutely lovely day touring around Sligo with Eugene. He picked us up in his Mercedes and took us around the county for a day full of beautiful scenery and very interesting history. He’s a super knowledgeable and kind person- the perfect tour guide! This tour is well worth its value, you don’t be disappointed. Eugene also provided us with some great recommendations for food and drink. We hope to return to Sligo one day soon to experience one of his other itineraries! Meaghan
Sligo at its best!
My husband and I just got back from the BEST private tour of Sligo and surrounding points of interest. Eugene picked us up at our hotel and spent the entire day sharing all of his personal, local knowledge and favorite spots with us. Places you do not see on the group tours in big coach buses. Eugene, a native Irishman, born in Sligo, feels like a long lost cousin. A warm and friendly man with a great sense of humor. If you want to see the Irish countryside, tiny winding roads, fields and mountainside peppered with sheep, up close views of the Wild Atlantic Way, beautiful country homes, waterfalls, quaint villages and other special, unique places, give Eugene a chance to show you a side of Ireland the travel books don’t mention much. Eugene has a very clean S class Mercedes and will customize your experience to fit your interests. Have no idea what to see? Ask Eugene to take you to his favorite spots. You won’t be disappointed! Devine Travelers
The best choice I made this trip!
I cannot recommend touring with Eugene highly enough!
My husband and I visited Sligo with my septuagenarian grandparents and were wary to drive ourselves around the region. How glad I was to find Eugene’s website! When I contacted him, Eugene responded promptly and was open to customizing a tour to meet our travel goals. (In the end we did a slightly modified version of his Yeats tour and it was totally perfect.)
We four spent about 7 hours with Eugene, who drove us around nearly the entire county — we saw cliffs, mountains, inlets, fishing villages, etc. etc. etc. And, a Sligo native, Eugene is a wealth of knowledge about the area. He shared so much interesting and amusing info with ya throughout the day, I can’t imagine having gone about the area without his expertise! Genuinely, this was the BEST choice we made on our whole 10-day vacation. I only wish we’d spend more time in Sligo, and more time with Eugene! Erin R
Fabtastic One day tour in Sligo and Slieve League Cliffs
My entire family of 8 went on a fabulous trip with Eugene to the Slieve League cliffs from Sligo with many great stops along the way.
Eugene was able to take us to so may unique places where we saw zero people and beautiful beaches,castles and farms.
Eugene is a pleasure to be around and a genuine great guy who is very down to earth. Kevin M
Mom's 80th Birthday Celebration
My family and I were thrilled to travel to Sligo a week ago for early celebration of Mom’s 80th birthday. We were also so fortunate to meet Eugene McP – owner of SligoTours.com. Eugene made our trip a lot of fun/extra special, as we started our day’s journey visiting my Great Great Grandparents hometown & graveside .. not far from where he grew up. We then had an unexpected trip down the Wild Atlantic Way through Connemara, Clifden, and Sky Road (most beautiful vista I’ve seen in 6 trips) to Galway … Eugene’s expertise/knowledge/graciousness was excellent, and I would highly recommend him to anyone planning to travel in the Sligo area. ShaMac
Best Day In Ireland Of Two Week Stay
We took four private tours during our stay in Ireland. Sligo Tours was simply the best. Eugene McPartland (the owner) gave me the gift of Ireland–through his words, his spirit, his understanding of my need for the natural beauty of Ireland and a necessity for solitude and thin places. He never rushed our group of four, letting us explore at our own pace. His knowledge of the area and his storytelling ability were exactly what I had hoped to find in Ireland. This area is free of tourists, making me hesitant to even write about it or share it. There were no crowds, no massive tour buses, no in-your-face souvenir shops. Mostly there was only peace, solitude and the magnificent natural beauty of Ireland. It’s not a place to visit if you want the usual attractions to take selfies. This is a quiet place–to pause and reflect. Here’s a list of some of the places Eugene shared with us: Tobernalt Holy Well, Rosses Point, Drumcliffe, Benbulben Mountains, Cassiebrawn Castle, Mullaghmore Peace Garden, Creevykeel, Colgagh Lough, Glencar Waterfalls, Parkes Castle, Creevelea Friary. Thank you again Eugene for my best day in Ireland. ScarboroughFair
Summer Fun In Sligo with Sligo Tours
I was a solo traveler in July 2019 visiting Sligo. Eugene of Sligo Tours is an excellent tour guide and driver. He drove me around Sligo Town and areas around Sligo County. He provided great commentary on the areas we visited such as Lough Gill, Strandhill, Hazelwood Forest, Parks Castle, The Holy Well, Poet Yates historic places, and much more. Eugene drove me around for two days. He took pictures for me of the places we visited. Now I have a wonderful collection of photographs of my trip. Eugene of Sligo Tours let me choose places I wanted to see. We stopped at sites and stayed as long as I wanted. Eugene lets the travelers like me set the travel agenda which is so great. He suggested places to go to and see that I would not have thought of. Everything was just perfect. I want to go back to Sligo again, And I am going to choose Sligo Tours as my travel guide. I highly recommend Sligo Tours to any traveler. For a safe, friendly, happy adventure it is Sligo Tours for me. Nomad12411909846
Eugene is a Sligo treasure all of his own!
I was recently in Sligo for the first time on a work trip and we were lucky enough to have Eugene show us around for the day. He was so knowledgeable, patient and friendly that the day felt more like a holiday than it did a work trip. As we went from location to location, Eugene educated my colleagues and I on the local area which was equal parts fascinating and fun.
Sligo is an absolutely beautiful place with an amazing history that is not to be missed and it’s my genuine feeling that the very best way to see it is in the company of Eugene. Highly, highly recommend.
Thanks for everything Eugene! Greg10