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A Car Trip To County Sligo


One of the best ways to explore Ireland is to hire a car, especially if you plan to visit a region with many cultural and historical attractions. Hiring a car lets you define your itinerary, choosing which sites are most interesting to you, and spending as long as you like in each place. A leisurely and relaxing car drive will also let you savor Ireland’s renowned landscape. A car trip through Sligo is particularly enjoyable for those who have an interest in history and literature. Sligo—which means ‘bay of the shells’ in Irish—is famous for its archaeological finds and its association with Irish poet W.B. Yeats. His mother was born here, and he spent much of his childhood exploring its landscape. In fact, as your car travels take you through the region, you’ll recognize many places mentioned in his writings: the Lake Isle of Innisfree in Lough Gill, the mounts of Knocknarea and Benbulben. Yeats is now buried in the graveyard of the church where his great grandfather had been rector; this site is easily accessible by car travel. Your car travels can also include a visit to the 328 meter peak of Knocknarea. According to local legend, this is the final resting place of Queen Maeve who ruled the province of Connacht. You can then take a car drive to the valley below, where you can see Eutope’s largest collection of Megalithic tombs—numbering over 60. It is also the oldest of its kind in Ireland, predating Newgrange by 700 years, and establishing Sligo as one of the country’s first settlements. The town of Sligo can serve as the base of your car travels in the region. Located at the bay, this fishing port and market town has a colorful cultural life, with plenty of pubs to unwind in after a long but enjoyable day of exploring Ireland by car. The Yeats International Summer School, the Yeats Building, and the Niland Gallery are also located here.