Sligo’s western shoreline, stretching from near Sligo town almost as far as Mayo’s Ballina, is probably the least visited in the county. Yet set against the looming southern backdrop of the Ox Mountains, it offers plenty of diversions including bracing seascapes at Aughris, exhilarating surfing at Easkey and a dazzling beach at Enniscrone. A little way inland, the memorable funerary sepulchres at Skreen are well worth a detour en route.
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The somewhat decaying small village of EASKEY, 15km west of Aughris, began life as a monastic community, much later becoming the base for the MacDonnells, originally gallowglasses who served the ruling O’Dowd clan and built seaside Roslee Castle (now ruined) in the fifteenth century. Thanks to the constancy of its waves, Easkey is a popular surfing centre and houses the headquarters of the Irish Surfing Association (wwww.isasurf.ie).
Some 14km southwest along the coast from Easkey, ENNISCRONE is blessed with a gorgeous, five-kilometre arc of golden strand. Its other main draw is Kilcullen’s Bath House, where you can wallow in a bath full of seaweed – the iodine-rich water is not only sheer relaxation but is also reckoned to offer relief for rheumatism and arthritis – before enjoying a hot steam in a cedarwood cabinet.