Yeats Country and Lakelands — Itinerary
Day 1:Arrive Sligo
Arrive in the lively town of Sligo, known as the “Gateway to the North West”, and forever associated with poet W. B. Yeats. Sligo has easy transport connections from Dublin Airport and from Ireland West Airport (in Knock.) Explore the town with its many pubs and restaurants. Here you will also find a great choice of music venues.
Day 2: Sligo to Mullaghmore. Approx 35 km (21 miles)
Leave Sligo and cycle under Benbulben to the beautiful spot where Yeats is buried at Drumcliffe. The churchyard lies on the site of an old monastery and is well worth a visit for its high cross and round tower alone. Further along Drumcliffe Bay you will find impressive Lissadell House, where Yeats often stayed. Continue under the mountain to your overnight destination in Mullaghmore — overlooking a pretty harbour and beautiful golden beach.
Day 3: Mullaghmore to Ballyshannon. Approx 25 km (15 miles)
From Mullaghmore, you cycle along the coast, where lush pastures run down to the seashore. Admire the magnificent views over Donegal Bay. Turn inland and cycle along quiet back roads through forests and farmlands. Follow roads that are just about perfect for bike touring. Alternatively visit the seaside resort of Bundoran, where you can enjoy an invigorating swim in the Atlantic. Continue to your overnight stop in the pleasant town of Ballyshannon.
Day 4: Ballyshannon to Garrison. Approx 26 km (16 miles)
Take a lovely leisurely cycle along the south shore of Lough Melvin to the tiny border village of Garrison. However, if you prefer something slightly more challenging, you can take an alternative parallel route where you cycle high above the lake. The views will more than reward you for your efforts. If you fancy leaving the bike for a while, a walk through the woods along Fowley’s Falls is a real treat. You can visit the award winning Organic Centre, where a tour will teach you some of the skills and benefits of using locally grown organic food.
Day 5: Garrison to Blacklion/Belcoo. Approx 27 km (16 miles)
Follow the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic as you continue through more peaceful lakelands. Visit Prince Connel’s Grave dating from 2000 BC, but not quite fitting the pattern of the other monuments from the era. Cycle through Glenfarne Wood, where the lapping of the water along the shore and the whisper of the wind in the trees will be the only sounds. Spend the night in the twin villages of Blacklion/Belcoo, one on each side of the border. Here the upper and lower sections of the lake meet.
Day 6: Blacklion/Belcoo to Manorhamilton. Approx 25 km (15 miles)
Time to leave the border area as you follow the North West Cycle Trail, taking you through forests and farmland along a network of tiny roads. North Leitrim is one of the least populated areas in Ireland, making it the perfect area for touring by bike. A huge variety of wild flowers bloom along the roadsides. (The scent will vary depending on what time of year you are here.) Wonderful views of the Glencar Valley open up in the second half of today’s cycle. Your overnight stop is in Manorhamilton, overlooked by Hamilton’s Castle from which the town got it’s name.
Day 7: Manorhamilton to Sligo. Approx 26 km (16 miles)
Glencar Valley, Lake and Waterfall are rightly renowned for their beauty. Cycle from Manorhamilton through the valley. Stop at the waterfall, immortalised by Yeats in his poem, The Stolen Child; “Where the wandering water gushes/ From the hills above Glencar/ In pools among the rushes/ That scarce could bathe a star,”. Glencar waterfall is just about the perfect place for a picnic. Continue along the lake taking in the beautiful views, as you make your way back to Sligo Town.
Day 8: Departure after Breakfast.
Time to say goodbye to this beautiful region. We are sure that you will have enjoyed your time cycling along the beautiful quiet roads and friendly villages.