Follow Dunmoran Strand along the limestone cliffs to Aughris Head, breathing in the fresh sea air and taking in the stunning scenery.

Recommended by Niamh Fahy

What’s involved?

 This is an easy 8 km round trip walk with opportunities to stop and enjoy the scenery, get a pint or a bite to eat.

Why do I love this route?

I grew up in Rosses Point by the sea, and maybe because of that, I’ll always be biased toward seascapes over landscapes.

One of the most special things is that this is an unheralded route, not signposted, so you may well have it all to yourself, bar the kamikaze diving birds and, if they’re lucky, the pals you’ve brought along to share the secret with.

The light is somehow brighter here, and the hues of the ocean and land surrounding the shore on either side seem more vibrant. The seclusion of the spot, blasting sea air, rushing tide and quiet serenity really make for something wonderful.

Route:

The route begins at the car park at Dunmoran Strand. To get there, from the N4 at Collooney, take the N59 towards Ballina. Turn right after 15 km and then right again after 1.5 km. After 300 m turn left, where you will have arrived in the car park.

From there the walk begins. Cross the beach, a couple of grassy fields and the recently constructed footbridge before coming upon McDermott’s Beach Bar, which is a picturesque little thatched pub that stands alone among a few dwellings, looking back across the strand toward Sligo.

beach bar dunmoran strand by cian burns
Image: Cian Burns

Continue on and take a right at the crossroads, which will bring you close to the pier. The cliff section of the walk begins from an unmarked path to the left. Don’t forget to glance to the right to take in the views of the strand you just crossed and behind it, Benbulben and Knocknarea.

Looking down from the grassy cliff top, you’ll take in a rushing tide of turquoise water washing up into the coves and sea caves below.

knocknarea dunmoran strand
The view of Knocknarea

Rounding the headland you’ll come to St Patrick’s Well, with a cairn of stones and a simple wooden cross. You might want to turn back here, or if you’re feeling energetic you can continue on for another half hour or so as the path narrows and comes closer to the cliff edge. Along this stretch are the sea bird colonies, so you’ll find yourself in the company of a variety of different gulls, oystercatchers, divers and gannets.

Don’t miss:

Nature provides plenty of highlights on this walk: Knocknarea, Benbulben, blow holes, sea caves, nesting birds and the highest cliffs in the county at Aughris Head.

Beyond all of that, you can enjoy a pint or a bite to eat en route at McDermott’s Beach Bar, though it’s an easy walk that you can certainly do without needing a break. You’ll likely be too excited by the scenery to pause on the way out, but the Beach Bar is the perfect place to stop off on the return leg, when you can kick back, quench your thirst and celebrate the sights you’ve just seen.

Essential info:

Don’t forget your camera and bring your wallet for a refreshment stop at the Beach Bar.  The owners also run a B&B just behind the bar, should you be tempted to stop off for the night. If you’re up for living closer to the elements, there’s a small campsite facing the beach in front of the bar.

If you want to get out and try some other activities, the Aughris/Dunmoran area offers kayaking, surfing, swimming and rock climbing.

Further afield, you’ll find sailing, SUP, seaweed baths and boat trips to Inishmurray Island, home to a stunning and historic 6th century monastic settlement.

For more information and details on the route, visit Sligo Walks.

Visit Sligo Tourism for general information about this region and inspiration for food or landmarks.

Check out our Hard as Nails podcast:

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