6 unforgettable family experiences along Sligo's Wild Atlantic Way
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Fall in love with the Wild Atlantic Way on an autumn family break...
Sligo is a sensational destination for those who want to embrace the great outdoors on a coastal break. Whether you are into walking, waves, animals, or adventure, you can enjoy all these experiences and more. And with the autumnal colours adding a shimmering warmth to the landscape, now is the perfect time to take a family break in Yeats' County.
Need some destination inspiration? If you're looking to explore everything Ireland's coastlines have to offer this autumn, here are some exciting experiences to discover along Sligo's Wild Atlantic Way.
Climb Knocknarea along the Queen Maeve Trail
Queen Maeve was the warrior queen of Connacht (if you can't remember from your school days, ask your kids for a brief history lesson). Legend has it that she is buried in the cairn at the summit of Knocknarea - upright, spear in hand, facing her enemies in Ulster.
To reach the summit and the cairn, follow the 6km Queen Maeve Trail loop, which has a wooden boardwalk and viewing platforms with information points along the way. The coastal views are lovely, and you can also see the Ox Mountains, Lough Gill and Slieve League in Donegal. The whole loop takes about 2 hours to complete.
Top tip: Unfortunately, due to some steep steps at the start, this walk is unsuitable for buggies and wheelchairs.
Kayak the tranquil waters of Lough Gill
Lough Gill has around 20 small islands as well as the Lake Isle of Innisfree, immortalised by W.B.Yeats in his poem of the same name. A fantastic way to see more of this picturesque lake is in a kayak. Kayaking is safe, fun and easy for all the family, and as Lough Gill is quite tranquil, it is relaxing too.
On a guided tour, you'll hear about the region's history and legends.
Top tip: Kids will love looking out for kingfishers, otters, herons and salmon as the lough is home to an abundance of wildlife.
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Try stand-up paddle boarding in Enniscrone
Enniscrone is a lovely little seaside town, and an enjoyable way to explore its harbour is to take to the calm waters on a stand-up paddleboard.
Stand-up paddleboarding is a relatively easy water sport to get the hang of, and once you do, it is terrific fun. As you glide along the water, sun on your face, fresh air filling your lungs, there is a real sense of freedom and tranquillity. The harbour area, the bay, and the beach offer crystal clear water and a variety of sea life to look out for, including seals and dolphins.
Top tip: The harbour area offers a contained and safe environment to learn SUPing.
Witness some very good doggos at Atlantic Sheepdogs
Watch in wonder as some of the world's most intelligent dogs move sheep around the farm and follow the commands and individual whistles of expert trainer Martin Feeney. Not only are these doggos good, but they are very clever too.
On a visit, you'll learn how to train sheepdogs and how they are a vital part of Irish farm life. You'll also discover the different breeds of sheep reared in this small picturesque townland in North Sligo. These sheepdog demonstrations are a wonderful glimpse into country life; you'd be barking mad to miss it.
Top tip: Demonstrations take place Monday to Saturday, but pre-booking is essential.
Meet feathered predators at Eagles Flying in Ballymote
At Eagles Flying in the green hills of south Sligo, you can meet some feathered predators, including eagles, and falcons, and hawks. Oh my!
During the exciting and engaging bird shows, these feathered predators swoop right over your head and land next to you. You might even be lucky enough to touch one of these magnificent birds and have one land on your bare hand if you are brave enough.
You can also have a guided tour with experts through the fields to see even more birds in the aviaries and on perches and learn about their biology and essential role in nature. A visit to Eagles Flying is a rare opportunity to see many of these stunning species in dramatic free flight.
Top tip: With both indoor and outdoor display areas, this is a great activity whatever the weather.
Set sail along the Wild Atlantic Way
Sailing is a fun outdoor activity every family should try at least once.
Getting out onto the water with Wild West Sailing is an exciting way to experience the breathtaking mountain and coastal views and immerse yourself in the beauty of the country's Northwest region. Aboard one of their impressive 40ft yachts, you can explore the majestic Donegal Atlantic or scenic Sliabh Liag coastline, on this unforgettable sailing and hiking adventure. This two-day wilderness experience totally immerses you in the breath-taking nature of Sligo's Wild Atlantic Way, in what's sure to be an incredible weekend away.
Top tip: Out on the water, look out for whales, dolphins, and even sharks.
So, what are you waiting for? Now is the perfect time to plan an Autumn getaway to Sligo that the whole family will enjoy.
The Leave No Trace principles help us make as little an impact as possible on the incredible Irish landscape as we explore the outdoors this summer and beyond. Keep outdoor areas safe, clean and free from waste/hazards, and help protect the natural environment. Love this place; leave no trace.
Brought to you by DiscoverIreland