SLIGO

SLIGO

Since the beginning of the 20th century, Sligo has seen a literary pilgrimage of William Butler Yeats devotees; the poet spent summers in town as a child and set many of his poems around Sligo Bay. Sligo Town, the commercial center, is an excellent base from which to explore Yeats’s haunts. The well-preserved 13th-century Sligo Abbey is on Abbey St. (Open Apr.-Oct. daily 10am-6pm; Nov.-Mar. reduced hours. ‚1.90, students ‚0.70.) The Model Arts Centre and Niland Gallery, on the Mall, houses one of the finest collections of modem Irish art. (Open June-Oct. Su noon-5:30pm and Tu-Sa 10am-5:30pm; Sept.-Apr. Tu-Sa 10am-5:30pm. Free.) Yeats is buried in Drumcliffe Churchyard, on the N15, 6.5km northwest of Sligo. Buses from Sligo to Derry stop at Drumcliffe (lOmin. 3-7 per day, round-trip ‚4). Over 70 pubs crowd the main streets of Sligo. The trendy UShoot the Crows, on Grattan St. has fairies and skulls dangling from the ceiling.

Trains (69 888) go from Lord Edward St. to Dublin (3 hr. 4 per day, ‚22) via Carrick-on-Shannon and Mullingar. From the same station, buses (60 066) head to: Belfast (4hr. 2-3 per day, ‚22); Derry (3hr. 4-7 per day, ‚15); Dublin (3-4hr. 4-5 per day, ‚14); Galway (2!2hr. 4-6 per day, ‚12); and Westport (2V hr. 1-4 per day, ‚13). Turn left on Lord Edward St. then follow the signs right onto Adelaid St. and around the comer to Temple St. to find the tourist office. (61 201. Open June-Aug. M-Sa 9am-7pm, Su 10am-6pm; Oct.-May M-F 9am-5pm.) B&Bs cluster on Pearse Road, on the south side. Eden Hill Holiday Hostel (IHH) O, off Pearse Rd. has Victorian decor and a friendly staff. From the town center, follow Pearse Rd. turn right at the Marymount sign, and take another right after one block. ( 43 204. Laundry facilities. Dorms ‚13.) A Tesco supermarket is on O’Connell St. ( 62 788. Open M-Tu and Sa 8:30am-7pm, W-F 8:30am-9pm, Su 10am-6pm.)

COUNTY DONEGAL AND SLIEVE LEAGUE

Tourists are a rarity in County Donegal. Its geographic isolation in the northwest has spared it from the widespread deforestation of the rest of Ireland; vast wooded areas engulf many of Donegal’s mountain chains, while the coastline alternates between beaches and cliffs. Travelers use Donegal Town as the gateway to the county. Buses (21 101) stop outside the Abbey Hotel on The Diamond and run to Dublin (4hr. 5-7 per day, ‚14) and Galway (4hr. 3-4 per day, ‚14). With your back to the Abbey Hotel, turn right; the tourist office, on Quay St. is just outside The Diamond. ( 21 148. Open July-Aug. M-Sa 9am-6pm, Su noon4pm; Sept.- Oct. and Easter-June M-F 9am-5pm, Sa 10am-2pm.) HiDonegal Independent Town Hostel (IHH) O, on Killybegs Rd. is family-run and has a homey atmosphere. ( (97) 22 805. Call ahead. Dorms ‚10.50; doubles ‚24. Camping ‚6.)

The Slieve League Peninsula’s rocky cliffs, Europe’s highest, jut to the west of Donegal Town. The cliffs and mountains of this sparsely populated area harbor coastal hamlets, untouched beaches, and dramatic scenery. Glencolmcille (glen- kaul-um-KEEL), on the western tip of the peninsula, is a parish of several tiny villages wedged between two monstrous cliffs. The villages are renowned for their handmade products, particularly sweaters. On sunny days, visitors to the Silver Strand are rewarded with stunning views of the gorgeous beach and rocky cliffs; the trek along the Slieve League coastline begins here. Bus Eireann buses run from Donegal Town to Glencolmcille and Dungloe, stopping in tiny Kilcar (1-3 per day), the gateway to Donegal’s gaeltacht and a commercial base for many Done-gal tweed weavers. Many Slieve League hikers stay in Kilcar, where they can comfortably drive, bike, or hike to the mountains. The fabulous Derrylahan Hostel (IHH) O is 3km from Kilcar on the coast road to Carrick; call for pickup. ( 38 079. Laundry ‚7. Dorms ‚10; singles ‚14; doubles ‚28. Camping ‚6.) In Glencolmcille, sleep at the hillside GDooey Hostel (IHO) O, which has an ocean view and a beautiful garden. (30 130. Dorms ‚9.50; doubles ‚21. Camping ‚5.50.)

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