Day 56 - Gibraltar Rocks
Just outside Sligo town is a stretch of coastline which has the fabulous name ‘Gibraltar’. It is not as photogenic as some of our previous walks, and it was a very overcast and moody morning when I went exploring – but it is really interesting place. It is inside the Sligo estuary, which means it is protected from the wild Atlantic, and the water warms up nicely compared to the more exposed beaches. About 60 years ago, the development of an outdoor pool, and terraced seating made it one of Sligo’s most popular places to bathe; but as people moved from the bicycle to the car, and then to the sun holiday, the area fell into disuse and disrepair. However, thankfully, environmentalists realised the importance of the area as a habitat for birds, wildlife, oceanlife and flora, and it has now been cleaned up and declared a conservation area. It is overshadowed on one side by the majestic Knocknarea mountain, and you can see Queen Maeve’s cairn at the top – and across the bay, a very misty cloud-covered Ben Bulben. I’m always interested in the lives places had in the past, and thinking about young Irish teenagers messing around here in the summertime way back then, when there wasn’t anywhere else to go, was interesting. What secret stories do these stones know?
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