Walks and Hiking in Sligo, Leitrim and the Northwest of IrelandBook Now
At Northwest Adventure Tours we offer a number of hiking tours around Sligo and the surrounding areas. Walks are a big part of Sligo tourism and we offer hiking to some of the most breathtaking places Ireland has to offer. Below are a few examples of available trips. Custom trips are also available.
Knockarea mountain, Queen Maeve’s Grave and the Hidden Glen
This guided tour brings us around the Hidden Glen, Knocknarea Mountain and the Famous Queen Maeve’s Grave. This is an enjoyable walk for anyone with an interested in history, nature or beautiful views and landscapes. The hidden Glen is a remarkable chasm cut into the limestone rock in the side of the mountain and it stretches almost three quarters of a mile into the mountain. In the middle of the chasm the cliff walls are over 60 feet tall on both sides and the chasm floor is about 70 feet wide. This is not a claustrophobic place rather a quiet area of natural peacefulness and beauty.
Inside the Glen is a Mecca for botanists from near and far. You will find a wide variety of flora and fauna here. You will see Sycamore, Beech, Scots Pine and Oak all flourishing in the Glen alongside Hazel, Holly, Honeysuckle, Bramble bushes, Ivy and extremely high ferns and nettles. Next we head up Knocknarea Mountain to the west of Sligo town. This limestone mountain is 1073 feet. This visually striking mountain is monolithic in appearance and is situated in a prominent position on the Cúil Irra peninsula between the bays of Sligo and Ballisodare. At the Summit of the Mountain is Queen Maeve’s Grave. This is a mound (or Cairn) of loose stones. These rocks conceal a Neolithic passage. The Cairn is about 55 metres (180feet) wide and 10 metres (33 feet) high, making it the largest such cairn in Ireland outside the Bru Na Boinn. The mound is known as Meascán Méabha and in English Maeve’s Grave or Maeve’s cairn. Maeve is a prominent figure in Irish mythology. You will learn more about the famous Queen Maeve from our guides while on our tour. We will also visit an ancient quarry that was used to create the monument. Knocknarea seems to have been a major place of ritual and meeting in the Neolithic era. Hut sites are located all along the eastern side of the mountain. There are number of passage tombs on top of Knocknarea Mountain but Maeve’s Cairn is by far the largest. In General the tombs are lined up North – South and seen to face Carramore tombs down in the land at the foot of the Mountain. Legend has it that Queen Maeve was buried standing up in her battle gear but there are reasons that this may not be true. You will hear the full story and more interesting facts from our guides during the tour. The area of Sligo bay is rich in pre-historic remains and shares similar monuments and natural shapes. From knocknarea we will also take in views of Croaghan Mountain, Carrowkeel megalithic cemetery, Cairns Hill, the Ox Mountains, and Benbulben. We will also enjoy amazing views of Sligo and its surrounding areas.
Benbulben Hike/Walk Tour
Benbulben is located to the north of Sligo town and is part of the Dartry Mountains in the Northwest of Ireland. Benbulben was formed as a result of the various responses to erosion of the limestone and shale of which the mountain is formed. Benbulben was formed in the early ice age when large areas of the earth were under giant glaciers. Originally Benbulben was only a large ridge but while these giant glaciers moved they carved the landscape beneath leaving the distinct table top mountain that is now known as Benbulben. Benbulben is one of the most recognisable Irish mountains. It is also steeped in legend. It takes its name from Conall Gulban, son of Niall of the nine hostages, who was fostered here. There are also ancient myths of Fionn Mac Cumhaill and Diarmad o’ Duibhne and the Fianna who were a band of warriors that lived in this area in the 3rd century. You will learn more about the history of Benbulben and the surrounding areas from our guides as you enjoy your challenging hike up the most westerly summit of the Dartry mountain range.
This approximately 320 million year old mountain is full of breath-taking views, stunning landscapes and also boasts a wide variety of wildlife. Benbulben hosts a unique variety of plants, possessing some organisms that cannot be found anywhere else in Ireland. Many are arctic alpine plants, due to the mountains height which gives the plants cooler temperatures than are normal to the area. These plants would have been deposited when the giant glaciers of the ice-age melted. Many types of insects, foxes, deer and wild hares also inhabit the area. Sligo is known as Yeats country after the late great poet, William Butler Yeats who was born here and is also buried at the foot of the magnificent Benbulben. This hike is one of a kind. Our guides will supply you with an information packed and challenging hike that you will never forget.
The Sligo Way
On the Sligo Way Hiking Tour we have a number of tours of varying lengths as there are over 70 km of trails set out along the route. This allows us to give guided tours to suit any ability of walker. This route traverses the County of Sligo in the North West of Ireland from Lough Talt in the Ox Mountains on the Mayo border to the historic town of Dromahair in County Leitrim. There are incredible views north across Donegal bay to Slieve League, east over Benbulben and west to the Nephin mountain range. These amazing views will be enjoyed from the pleasant woodland lakeside sections and the beautiful moorlands high in the Ox Mountains.
Our tour guides will provide you with an interesting tour through this magnificent area. With stops along the way at attractions such as an early lake dwelling known as a crannog on Lough Talt, megalithic tombs, WB Yeats lake isle of Innisfree and also the enchanted hidden lakes. This route meanders through the mountains and woodlands on forest trails, moorland paths and rocky lakeside tracks. We should also be lucky enough be lucky to show you some of the animals that live in the area such as a number of species of deer, rabbits, hares, pheasant, feral goats, foxes and more. Like many of our routes we have a number of options for guided tours to suit any ability of rambler. Whether it’s a guided tour for a few hours wandering through the beautiful countryside or a challenging full day hike then we will arrange a tour to suit you, your ability and time frame.Book Now