A record of my cycling trips in Britain and abroad


Ireland: Sligo and North Mayo (1)

Last week, I had a fantastic trip out to the West Coast of Ireland. This is a place about which much has been written; I can only say that it lived up to expectations. On the first day, we had a late start from Belfast, and drove to Sligo. Sligo is not all that far across the border; it was a couple of hours’ drive down the motorway to Enniskillen, and then perhaps an hour more from there to Sligo. Our campsite wasn’t actually in the town; better than that, it was in a little village perched on a promontory a little way north and west of Sligo itself.

The campsite was in a wonderful location: we pitched our tent less than 100 yards from the beach, behind a line of dunes. It was serene, with a freshness to the air thanks to the preceding storm - which we had fortunately missed with our late arrival. We heard about the storm twice: first from the proprietor of the campsite, as he took a rather substantial chunk of money off us I felt (10 euros each, plus an extra euro for a 4 minute shower token); and second, from a group of guys at the next pitch, who had just graduated from Queen’s and were on a road trip down to Galway.

By the time we’d pitched the tent, it was time for dinner, and we headed into the village to see what was on offer. This didn’t take long, as there’s only one street. We chose a pub serving pizza, and were certainly not disappointed. After a filling meal and a pint apiece of red ale, we wandered back to the campsite, the long, softly drawnout twilight under the low cloud lending an almost surreal air to the place.