Knocknarea is a large hill in the west of Sligo and dominates the skyline over the Coolera peninsula. As one of the most striking landmarks in Sligo, it’s a huge flat topped cairn that is believed to be the final resting place of Queen Maeve of Connacht. The giant rocky cairn is clearly visible from various approaches to Strandhill.
Knocknarea or referred to as Cnoc na Ri in Gaelic means “Hill of Kings” in reference to the myth that on the mountain ancient Kings of the province were once crowned. On reaching the top of the mountain, a large mound (or a cairn) of stones is found which is known as ‘Queen Maeve’s Grave’. Maeve is said to be buried underneath the stones, although it is known to have some conflicting reports.
For walking or hiking enthusiasts, a trip to Knocknarea is a must. On a clear day from the summit you will experience some amazing panoramic views of Sligo that is hard to beat. Overlooking the village of Strandhill, you will see some beautiful Atlantic coastline that Ireland is famous for. There’s also a birds eye view of mountains, rivers, lakes and forests.
The climb to the summit is rewarding and will take you about 40 minutes. It begins at the car park at the base of the mountain and the entire hike is roughly 2 and a half kilometres. The hike is a moderate climb as the terrain gets quite steep and progressively more difficult the closer you get to the top. It’s recommended to go at sunrise or sunset to get some amazing views – you will also need to bring plenty of water and good footwear.
Knocknarea is 15 minute car journey from Clayton Hotel Sligo and there is a car park available at the base of the mountain. When the weather is good, it’s the perfect activity on your trip to Sligo.
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