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I had the most spectacular walk in Sligo last weekend and wanted to share a few pics. November is a very special time in the west, the quality of the light is quite exceptional and when the day is bright and cold the views are out of this world.

Lough Gill in Sligo is one of my favourite places to bring visitors. It has an unusual scale for an irish lake- it’s vast yet comprehensible and meets the forests and mountains in incredibly pleasing ways. At times of the year it strongly reminds me of a North American landscape, particularly in the autumn with the colours of the leaves and the winter sky in the evening.  Yeats wrote regularly about the lake, and it’s the home of his infamous Lake isle of Inishfree. It makes for a wonderful drive too, circling you from the Ballinode side of Sligo town right round to Carraroe, and is a perfect thing to do with a car on a less than beautiful day – with regular stop off opportunities at Parkes Castle, Dromahair, Slish Wood and Dooney Rock.

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I regularly stop at Dooney Rock with its glorious views over the span of the lake – its one of the few places where you can see how Knocknarea and Benbulben talk to each other across the Sligo landscape – but this weekend I had a friend with a baby in tow so even a light climb was out of the question with the buggy. We decided to try Slish Wood which has a super walking path all along the lake, perfect for a buggy.

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The light was insane – it was nearing sunset (about 4pm) and the lake has never looked so still. It was a perfect mirror for the sky as you can see in these photos. None of these have any post-production or photoshop trickery involved – they are just iPhone pics of how it was in reality.  If you want information on the Slish Wood walking trail visit the excellent new site SligoWalks.ie.

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Earlier this month The Irish Times published a great little guide to Sligo, in collaboration with Failte Ireland. Lots of times you read this type of thing and, as a local, don’t recognise the place you live, for good or bad reasons. This one was different though, Not only did I recognise the place they were describing, but it covered nearly all the best bits of Sligo that I include when I’m in my own tour guide mode with visiting pals. Lots of my Top 10 things to do in Sligo made an appearance, in one guise or another, but I see the Magic Road alluded them once again, it must be the magic….

The supplement, which you can download via the link below, or by clicking on the image up top, is a great reference guide, and would make an excellent pocket guide for any type of traveller. I was particularly thrilled to see so much culture and lifestyle entries; great foodie recommendations, culture summaries and a special focus on Sligo Music, which is in abundance in all forms in Sligo town and county, as a quick glance at sligomusic.ie will usually show you.

I think the publication was the first time, or one of the first times, that the new Sligo brand was used;“Sligo, Set your Spirit Free”.  It’s a brand I really like, and I’m usually very critical of visual identities, especially the tag line. This one however, also seems to concur with the Sligo I know, a place that can set your spirit free in lots of ways; surfing, golfing, eating, listening to music, walking, visiting arts and culture events, or ancient historic sites, or just contemplating the landscape. The actual coloured text took me a few minutes to settle into, but it’s really grown on me. For some reason it immediately reminded me of Dakar’s photos of Sliglow (a project for Culture Night Sligo 2010), something in the free-flowing, yet painterly aspect of the font. It could reference anything from cave painting to street art and all that came in between, while still looking very natural and “of nature”. When I looked up the official line it said; “The brushstrokes are inspired by the paintings of Jack B Yeats, the vertical limestone features of the landscape and the crashing Atlantic waves.” which is even better; Sligo’s three big selling points; landscape. culture and water all rolled into one. Well done Zero G

Download the pdfSligo – Irish Times 6th July 2011

This great video popped up today with footage from the recent big wave/tow-in competition in Mullaghmore in Sligo. Filmed by a collective called Mulli Media their vimeo channel says there is a documentary in the pipe-line, which should be very promising if this taster is anything to go by.  Sligo looks great and the waves look incredible.

If you want to read more about the competition, Ireland’s first tow-in invitational, there was an excellent piece in the Irish Times recently with some stunning photos by Roo McCrudden

sligo events

If you want to get a great online guide to what's on in Sligo then head over to Sligo Events or if Music is your bag head to Sligo Music

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