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“Amiable Amble”
Review of Aughris Cliff Walk

Aughris Cliff Walk
Ranked #37 of 121 things to do in Sligo
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Attraction details
Owner description: This three-mile walk along an imposing cliff wall offers an array of striking views. on your way you will see st patrick well ...o toole forth ...Seabirds nesting on cliff face.
Altrincham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
51 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Amiable Amble”
Reviewed August 1, 2012

The walk along the cliff overlooking the Atlantic is lovely. It's a very easy walk and the path is well marked. Having read the other reviews, I had imagined it to be a little wilder and it is, in fact, fairly tame. However, it's a great walk with great views! There wasn't another soul to be seen when we were there which does create a lovely sense of isolation and the views across to Donegal are wonderful.

Visited July 2012
3 Thank Ainep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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22 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Sligo, Ireland
Level Contributor
75 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“wild and free”
Reviewed April 4, 2012

can you imagine the force of a thousand waves as they dash themselves thunderously against cliffs that have excised for ever? the walk is nature at it's finest and most terrible. come and see, it I have.

Visited March 2012
2 Thank trucker209
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Well worth doing.”
Reviewed March 19, 2012

Beautiful walk, quite with fabulous views. There is a clear path to be followed, not a hugely long walk, but a great blast of fresh air!

Visited March 2012
4 Thank FinbarrG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Odenton, MD
Level Contributor
112 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Amazing Views! Put this at the top of your Must See List!”
Reviewed September 21, 2011

My sister planned our visit to Ireland and of course, Trip Advisor was the first place she turned. Bernadette014's review inspired her and guided our visit. We could not have found the spot, had we not been looking for signs for The Beach Bar. Once you reach Aughris Head, just follow the signs. The roads are tiny and winding, but there are signs. We parked and walked and there was the path, just as she described: between the slipway and a bungalow. And, because we knew what we were looking for, we knew what it was.

The walk isn't terribly long, but the view are utterly amazing. The smell of the sea salt on the air, the wind whipping your hair, the vibrant green of the grass with the crashing waves below- all of it combined for an utterly amazing nature walk.

The best part of this was that it is, indeed, a "Secret Path". Unless you were told about it, you wouldn't know. It is *not* a tourist attraction. There was not a soul to be found when we were out that September afternoon.

I cannot recommend this walk enough, to truly get a feel for the irish coast and harshness and beauty of the land and the sea.

Thank you, Bernadette. The cliff walk was the best part of our trip.

Visited September 2011
9 Thank Anna_K_Amendolare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dromahair, Ireland
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Facing the Atlantic at Aughris Head - feeling the Celt within”
Reviewed May 26, 2011

I had heard of this wonderful cliff walk at Aughris Head on that bit of coast between Sligo city and Ballina heading out towards Mayo .However I had never managed to find it despite driving down to Aughris Head several times. Eventually I gave up looking for it.
A few months ago I was chatting to someone who started to tell me about this wonderful cliff walk out at Aughris Head. I laughed exasperatedly and told the tale of how it had almost become like a search for the Holy Grail on my part and I had never been able to find it. It was made even more tantalising by hearing that it was a great palace to spot different seabirds. She told me to look for a path between the slipway down at Aughris Head and a house. And so I made my way down to Aughris Head yet again. It was a brisk , mercurial March day with flashes of sun followed by frowning cloud. I parked at the Beach Bar a cottage like whitewashed pub perched on the sea front . The beach stretched out to the right towards Dunmoran Strand and the fabled cliff walk ostensibly stretching out towards the left although I could not see it. I walked down to the little slipway at the head which marks the end of where a car can go apart from into the sea. And there it was – a small, unsigned, unobtrusive, grassy path sandwiched between the slipway and a bungalow. Unless you were looking for it, you would never know it was there.
Since moving to Northwest Ireland ten years ago I have met this situation so many times – stumbling upon magically beautiful places hidden away, unmarked and unheralded. In many other countries these places would be uncovered, signposted, marketed and themed according to our expectations of different countries when we go to them. It would have been twittered, googled, photos taken and globally mapped. Recently I was looking at a one page spread of an advert by an international air line showing a photo of the famous Twelve Apostles rocks along the Great Ocean Road in Southern Australia. It showed a vista of white ocean and serene never ending sky with a back drop of rugged coast and the famous rocks arising out of the sea. For a split second I had a pang of yearning for the wild, desolate and vast emptiness the photo represented. Then I suddenly remembered that I had actually been to that very spot. Behind where that photo had been taken there is a wooden walkway. Although it had been a weekday , low season and raining when I visited the Twelve Apostles ,there had still been hordes of people filing along the walkway, taking photos, milling around – a world away from the vast, peaceful emptiness pictured in the one page photo spread.

Starting on the cliff walk
However on this particular March day – St Patrick’s Day as it turns out – as I stepped onto the grassy path I experienced what was disingenuously being sold in that photo spread – a sense of peace and oneness with Nature.
The air was still and the first creamy yellow primroses had appeared, tempted out by the sun. Although the walk is not signposted there had been a lot of effort put into fashioning the grassy path – the grass had been kept short and it was fenced off from the cliff. The sea stretched out ahead alternately blue and grey depending on where the sun was at a particular time. I continued along this secret path all hushed and still and was almost relieved to see someone fishing down on the rocks below – a sense that I was still in the real world and had not stepped through an invisible wardrobe and into Narnia.

Knocknarea Mountain in the background
A hare rushed in front of me on the path bug eyed with fear and sped off into the fields on my left. A rich burbling call coming from somewhere in the sky had me craning my neck and I spotted a curlew – that elusive and now endangered bird – that wistful, solitary sound that always inspires a pang of sympathetic solitude in the walker down below. The path continued southwards hugging the cliff edge the vast, lurching Atlantic to my right, Knocknarea and Belbubin Mountains

Belbulbin Mountain range in background
behind me.I came upon small secluded coves where rock pipits pipit darted amongst the rocks and in the fields on my left – meadow pipits wheeled upwards into the sky disturbed into carrying out their crazy kamikaze flight pattern – diving downwards – trying to divert attention away from their nests.

Godwit amongst the oystercatchers
A flock of birds wheeled past – I almost thought they were a flock of curlew or whimbrel but they were too small and their beaks turned upwards as opposed to the long sloping downward curve of the curlew beak. I had brought my binoculars which I produced somewhat sheepishly. Living so near the border with Northern Ireland makes me a bit wary of brandishing a pair of binoculars in isolated areas. I always feel that a helicopter or some other sort of military/police presence is going to swoop down from the sky and berate me for looking so suspicious. In fact the birds seemed to be bar tailed godwit that had joined a flock of oyster catchers.
And so on this auspicious day I rounded the head and came across a holy well appropriately called St Patrick’s Holy Well. A simple wooden cross stood upon a cairn made of smooth round stones.

Cross at St Patrick's Well
Scraps and tatters of material had been attached to the cross and fluttered somewhat bleakly from it. I had heard that St Patrick had walked across the north west leaving signs of his presence along the way. I had always wondered if he had a tendency to be accident prone as he seemed leave bits of himself rather clumsily strewn across the country – the makings of future relics. For example there is a church in Strandhill over by the airport called Killyaspugbrone that St Patrick had visited/set up. On arrival he tripped on the threshold and broke off a bit of his tooth as he fell.This bit of tooth had since been preserved and now resides in Dublin somewhere. There is another place on Coney Island also near Strandhill where there is a rock formation fashioned into the shape of a chair where St Patrick is meant to have sat . It is known as the Wishing Chair and if you sit on it you may have a wish but only one per year. In the Tobernault Holy Well in Sligo there is also evidence of St Patrick where he was meant to have left his hand imprints in a rock. To this day it is said that if you stand with your back against the mass rock it cures back problems. I imagined St Patrick walking along the same path I was on stopping at the spot near the cross where a spring had sprung into a shady pool. I imagined him stooping for a drink before striding onwards towards Strandhill to trip and lose a bit of tooth and then to sit awhile in Coney Island in his wishing chair.
I continued on and after about an hour the cliff walk started to become narrower and a bit too near the edge for my liking. But I was tempted forward by the sheer s cliff face with the seabird colonies in the distance ahead of me.

Seabirds nesting on cliff face
The path veered suddenly to the left at a right angle angle and there was the cliff face. A flood of adrenaline made my heart pump a warning into my ears and I decided to stop there. Seabirds wheeled to and fro from the cliff face buffeted by the wind. I could see them all snuggled together in pairs busy with that perennial life cycle of raising young. My bare eye spotted the usual gulls - herring and common gulls. I sank into a tussock of grass onto my stomach and whipped out my binoculors once more. I nearly fell off the cliff edge with delight as I spotted what I thought were hundreds of penguins on the cliff face. They were of course guillemots. I stayed mesmerised for about half and hour until I am sure I had permament goggle imprints from the binoculors embedded into my eyes. And then reluctantly I retraced my steps and headed back to the car shaking my head questioningly at yet another gem hidden away – instead of being part of a photo spread in a newspaper like the not so peaceful Twelve Apostles in Australia.
And I pondered that question of why so many heartrendingly, beautiful spots in North West Ireland are unmarked, unheralded, unmarketed. You know, maybe in all of us who have ancestors in this North Western corner of Ireland - there is a smidgeon of reluctance in our blood to renounce all this wildness, a tad of wistful Celtic longing , even a sort of ancestral photograph of ourselves imprinted in our genes, standing at the cliff edge at Aughris, looking out to sea . A tenacious, wiry, independent people who never gave into the Romans who kept pushing the Celts further westwards until all they had facing them was the vast, empty peace of this ocean. We stood here in the North West at Aughris, the crashing power of the Atlantic relentlessly facing us and the threat of the would be conquerors behind us. And standing there, wanting to keep our feet firm in this most remote of far flung Celtic bastions, maybe centuries later we still have a mind to keep this last corner of the European continent to ourselves……. untwittered, unthemed, unmapped and unvanquished

Visited March 2011
22 Thank Bernadette014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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