Sligo's gorgeous outdoors
As a lover of the outdoors, Greg had plenty of options for learning to surf in Ireland with many world-famous places to catch the waves in Donegal, Mayo, Clare, Kerry, Cork and Waterford. He decided to head up the coast from his native Limerick to a place he’d never been before, and check out the legendary surf in Sligo.
"Ireland is one of the most beautiful places in the world”, says Greg, and Sligo is perfect for any outdoor enthusiast with an endless amount of world class beaches and waves for every level of surfer. There’s forest trails that lead to remote locations and countless opportunities to connect with nature and practice your outdoors skills.
Into the Sligo wilderness
Greg stayed in the Sligo Park Hotel during his visit, a great base to experience the beauty of Sligo and recharge in comfort after great days out.
On the first morning of his break, Greg mountain biked 30 minutes to the edge of Lough Gill with NW Adventures. They set up camp to learn some Bear Grylls-esque survival skills.
“It’s gorgeous, like something out of a movie,” he says of the freshwater lake that inspired William Butler Yeats, who spent summers there as a child, to write The Lake Isle of Innisfree. Woodlands surround the picturesque lake with native oak and a high number of rare animal and plant species.
Back in Sligo town, dinner was served up by bistro-style café, Hooked, the starting point of the Sligo Food Tour.
Greg’s perfect Strandhill day
Waking up refreshed and relaxed on day two of his trip, Greg began his day with a yoga and meditation class with Your Wellbeing Warrior amongst spectacular dunes by the Atlantic Ocean. “Morning yoga was gorgeous in the sun”, he says “not sure if I’m in Sligo or Bali.”
A quick stop into Shell Café in Strandhill for a perfectly made coffee and tasty veggie burrito set him up for a morning surfing with Sligo Surf Experience. Under the expert guidance of Seamus 'Shambles' McGoldrick, Greg stood up for the first time on a surfboard. A homemade ice cream from nearby Mammy Johnston’s was a fitting reward for his achievement.
That evening, Greg booked a table at tapas restaurant, Stoked. Choosing from seared pork fillet, dressed war crabs and Szechwan aubergine, he had his pick of mouth watering plates from around the world.
Finishing off his day in Strandhill, Greg went for a walk and watched the sunset sharing the experience with his one million Instagram followers.
“Look at that sunset. No need to travel abroad for this kind of view.”
Total rest and relaxation in Co. Sligo
Greg began his final day in Sligo with a visit to VOYA Seaweed Baths in Strandhill. Noted for its relaxation and recovery properties, Greg left Strandhill completely blissed out and is looking forward to his next seaweed bath. “The owner was a serious triathlete, and he really knows his stuff, there are so many benefits I can’t even start listing them.”
To finish off his trip, Greg visited Eagle’s Flying near Ballymote. Holding out his arm, Greg watched in awe as a magnificent bird of prey soared through the sky to land on his hand. “Where else are you going to see birds like this? You’re in their environment, and they’re just swooping past you.”
After a great sleep and proper Irish roast in the Sligo Park Hotel, Greg has a newfound love for Sligo.
"I’ve travelled to all corners of the world but the best time I’ve had was right on my doorstep!”
Check out our Sligo destination page and see what's happening in The Yeats County.
Images 1, 2 and 4 via Greg O'Shea