County Leitrim is so cool–it feels ancient! I love history! Utah, where we live, was not settled until 1847 (although our area does have some American Indian ruins) so ancient civilizations are particularly intriguing!
1. Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery
This is the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland and is also among the country’s oldest, with monuments ranging from five thousand to five thousand eight hundred years old. Archaeologists have recorded over 60 tombs. They are spread out over a large area on both sides of the road–you just walk around and see them. Most of the tombs look like the bottom two pictures; rock circles and rocks stacked like a passage tomb. The largest tomb is pictured immediately below–you walk into the rock mound to find the stacked rocks. An exhibition is housed in the small cottage where you purchase tickets, and you will be given a map of the tomb sites with historical information on it. It is an OPW site, so free if you initially purchased the card.
2. Sligo Abbey
Sligo (pronounced SLY-go) Abbey is a mid 13th century Dominican Friary. Also an OPW site, so free admission if you purchased the heritage card earlier in your trip. The abbey visitor center will provide you with a map and self-guided tour sheet so you will be sure to notice all of the special things like the carvings and the reader’s desk and such and will also explain oddities like why the ceiling arches are so low.
3. Glencar Waterfall
Driving to Sligo we spotted a waterfall sign and spontaneously decided to find it. We didn’t know what to expect and were very pleasantly surprised! The carpark is right next to this lovely sheep-filled meadow on the bank of this picturesque lake. There is a cute teahouse near the carpark, though we didn’t stop there. The waterfall is a short walk up a few steps, probably less than 1/4 mile. Once we saw Glencar, though, Kendel insisted he had seen a different, larger waterfall from the road. We decided to find it.
4. Devil’s Chimney
A couple of miles further down the road we spotted the waterfall Kendel had seen from the main road and wanted to find. We found the trailhead leading to the waterfall and began hiking. There is a sign at the road, with the trail leading up, around, and behind a farmer’s property. Later, at our B&B, we learned that Devil’s Chimney only runs briefly during rainstorms, so we felt very blessed to have found it.
5. Hargadon Bros pub in Sligo
Road construction in Sligo made part of the downtown area inaccessible, but we still had fun walking around. We ran across Hargadon Bros and the menu in the window looked good, so we gave it a try. Every table was it’s own booth, (called snugs by the locals) floor to ceiling, and the building was long and narrow, so everything felt very intimate and cozy. Our food was delicious, the wait staff was friendly, and the service great!
6. Parkes Castle
A beautiful plantation castle overlooking Lough Gill in County Leitrim, which is unusual because it has been restored and is whole, rather than in ruins, showcasing the ways an Irish family might live. When it is finished, the outbuildings will contain demonstrations of old occupations, which sounds interesting. It looked like there was a lake tour departing near the castle, which might be fun. We’ll have to look into that next time.
Creevykeel is one of the largest court cairns in Ireland, built in the third millenium B.C.. It consists of a wedge-shaped mound with a burial opening off of the open central court. Near the narrow end of the mound are two further graves thought to be passage graves. During the early Christian period iron was smelted in the central court.
We stayed at Mount Edward Lodge B&B. It was very comfortable and the owner was fun to talk to. We left too early the next morning to avail ourselves of the breakfast, however. We needed to get an early start because we had a whole ton of fun things to see.
Read about the rest of our Ireland adventures: