Finding the forest on Benbulbin

We had re-mapped our trip back in Belfast.

Our original plans to drive from Belfast to Galway were far too ambitious for our first day driving.

On a whim, we chose Sligo and picked an Airbnb just outside the town in a place called Strandhill.

What a wanderlust choice.

Strandhill was home to surfers could you believe. The beaches were pretty and sandy, but honestly, surfing in 30 knot winds in temperatures cold enough to send your balls to your mouth. No thanks!

AirBnb always feels like you are playing Cluedo – you are constantly piecing the puzzle together – thankfully not on who murdered who with what object, but, who are they, how are they connected, what to they do and why are they letting you in their house.

For just $75 australia dollars I picked the Pharlap of houses from the small selection in Sligo.

It was massive – maybe 4 bedroom house, off a little tiny side street without a name with views over the bay and of Benbulbin.
To top it off, our hosts weren’t home but their lovely daughter, Laura was there to greet us and make us feel at home. It was the best AirBNB I’ve ever chosen.

I had read about Knocknaera the night before and thought it might be nice to walk off those milkshakes, scones and soda bread I’d been eating.

Nice was an understatement. Our completely underrated beach 5 star villa was only about 5 minutes from the base, so we left with the sun on our back, but jumpers under our arms.

It was steep and steppy with lots of baa -ing sheep to encourage us up the path. The first part was cleared land with stone fences and white sheep with multi-coloured tagging on their bums, then we hit the forest flat. A nice peaceful incline, with a taste of the view to come.

Then we hit spectacular – the forest. The path had only recently been laid, so there were no hand rails which certainty kept you on your toes and away from the edge.

It felt like any minute Russell Crowe would pop his head from one of the branches and yell “cut” while the film crew would break for a cuppa.

Magical is the best way to describe it.

That was until the forest roof cleared and we made it to the false peak when we realised the sun had been overshadowed by big sister rain clouds, who was so unhappy she cried down on us.

No, she bawled.

Drenched, but determined to complete the ritual and drop a rock on some ancient gravesite at the top of the hill, I endured for another five until I called it quits.

Some other do gooder afraid of a scary story would do it on my behalf with appropriate rain clothes and all.

Maddie and I ran to the security of Robin Hood’s forest and stalked down the path as if the moulds holding our legs together would soon give way to the jelly substance filling out legs.

Four seasons in one day. I keep forgetting that sunny weather doesn’t mean sunny weather.

It wasn’t the last time to be caught out!





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