This article is sponsored by Ford Ireland
If you’re looking for an active way to spend 1-day in Sligo, this itinerary is worth having a nosey at.
It squeezes in scenic drives, forest walks, beaches, castles, a fine bit of food and plenty more.
Some quick need-to-knows about this Sligo itinerary
Although this Sligo road trip is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
1. We only had a day, so change it if needed
We squeezed a lot of stuff into this Sligo itinerary as we only had a day. If you’re visiting for a weekend or longer, you’ll have the luxury of spreading things out more, if you want to.
2. Follow your nose
One of the beauties of Sligo is that it tends to throw scenery at you that you never previously knew existed. Don’t be afraid to stray off the beaten path and follow your gut if you see something that tickles your fancy!
Stop 1: Carrick-on-Shannon for a charge
I was driving over to Sligo from Dublin in the All-Electric Ford Mustang Mach-E and planned in a fast charge (150kw) in Carrick-on-Shannon.
We landed here with 38% battery (see screenshot above) and then went and got a coffee.
The FordPass app lets you hop in, check how much battery/kms you’ve gained and how long you need to leave it in charge before you’re ready to rock.
47 minutes later we left with 96% battery and an additional 258kms worth of driving.*
Stop 2: The Caves of Keash
Our second stop of the day is a 30-minute spin from Carrick – the Caves of Keash. There’s a decent bit of parking right next to them (here on Google Maps) and the trail head is just to the right of the parking area.
It’s about a 20-minute walk to the top and it’s very steep in places. Shoes with a good grip are needed here as it can be slippy even on dry days.
There are 17 chambers at Keash and you’ll get the view in the photo on the left above from the first one that you arrive at. Make sure to take care when you’re walking back to the car as it’s very steep in places.
Stop 3: Strandhill
Our third stop on our 1-day Sligo road trip takes us 25 minutes up the road to Strandhill for a post-walk ice-cream.
Nip into Mammy Johnston’s (they’ve been making ice cream since the early 1930s!) and grab a tub or cone to go.
You can then either kick-back on the wall across the road and watch the wild Atlantic waves or take a stroll along the beach and watch the surfers zipping through the sea.
Stop 4: Unplanned stops
One of the beauties of places like Sligo is that you don’t need to take too much of a detour to find scenery that’ll knock you sidewise.
I’d stuck our next stop (Benbulben Forest Walk) into the Mustang Mach-E’s Connected Navigation, which displays the route on a 15.5 inch touchscreen, but I copped a turn-off that piqued my interest.
Now, sometimes these turn-offs lead you up narrow boreens and you end up meeting a tractor and have to reverse for 10 minutes…
On other occasions, you’re hit with a scene like the one in photo above. I’d say 6 times out of 10 these detours pay off and, when they do, they make a trip that bit more memorable.
Stop 5: The Benbulben Forest Walk
Our next stop takes us out to the Benbulben Forest Walk (about a 25-minute spin from Strandhill without the random stops!).
There’s a lovely little stroll here that’ll take you the guts of an hour and a half. There’s a car park (that fills up on fine days) right at the trail head.
Now, you can do this trail clockwise or counterclockwise. Personally, I always do it clockwise as there’s much less of an incline to tackle.
The argument for doing it counterclockwise is that, despite the 20-minute or so of walking up-hill you’ll be walking with Benbulben right in front of you (see photos above).
This is a lovely ramble but keep in mind that there’s a lot of flies when it’s warm.
Stop 6: The Gleniff Horseshoe
When you leave the Benbulben Forest Walk you’ve several options – if, like us, you’re here for a day, you can add in our next two pre-dinner stops (Gleniff Horseshoe and Mullaghmore).
If you’re in Sligo for the weekend and have time to play with, you could always nip back home. For this trip, we’re taking the 25-minute spin out to the Gleniff Horseshoe.
This is a lovely scenic drive that’ll treat you to more of the wild, unspoiled beauty that Sligo’s famous for.
The drive only takes 20 – 25 minutes, but there’s plenty of places to pull in, so allow 45 to give yourself some breathing space.
Stop 7: Mullaghmore
Our final pre-dinner stop took us 20 minutes along the coast to Mullaghmore. Now, if you’ve time to spare here you can head off on the looped coastal walk.
Stop 8: Dinner in Sligo Town
After Mullaghmore it was time for a feed. I’d heard people talking about Rugantino in Sligo Town on several occasions, so we stuck it into the Connected Navigation and set off on our merry way.
25 minutes later we’d arrived, parked up and began the painstaking task of picking from their jam-packed menu. The food was the business, and it was a well-earned rest before our final leg of the trip.
Stop 9: A fast charge in Carrick-on-Shannon
After finishing up dinner we chatted about the trip back and getting a charge closer to home.
However, upon checking the FordPass app, where it displays all the available chargers on your route home, it was clear that a fast charge in Carrick made sense.
The app uses an intelligent range that predicts how much range you have left based on how you drive, the weather and crowdsourced data, which comes in handy if you, like me, tend to opt for the, ‘Ah, it’ll be grand!’ approach.
We plugged in with 41% and plugged out 29 minutes later with 82% and an additional 182km in the battery.*
Wrapping up our Sligo road trip
We squeezed an awful lot into this 1-day Sligo itinerary, but it was very doable and didn’t feel overly rushed at any point.
There’s a good chunk of driving involved to get to and from Sligo from Dublin (just over 5 hours in total), but then many of the places we visited above were nice and close together.
If you’re struggling to plan out a Sligo itinerary, 1-day or otherwise, just shout in the comments below and we’ll do our best to help!
Find out more about the All-Electric Ford Mustang Mach-E on Ford.ie.
*Charge power can decrease with increasing state of charge. Actual charge times and charge speeds can vary based on different factors (e.g. Weather, temperature, driving behaviour, route profile, vehicle condition, age and condition of the lithium-ion-battery, used charging infrastructure
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.