Thursday 20 June 2019

WATCH: What are these mysterious mounds on Aughris Head?

Does this drone footage show an ancient fort, or a more modern construction on the Sligo coast?

Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

What are those mysterious mounds on Sligo's Aughris Head?

Could they be the remains of 5,000-year-old a ring fort?

"We have had lecturers down here studying it, the mounds are believed to be from that era," Michael Flatley of the Aughris development committee has said.

Or were they platforms for stacking and drying seaweed, as Elizabeth FitzPatrick suggested in the Journal of Irish Archaeology?

Either way, James Dennison's delicious drone video poses a tempting puzzle... and provides the perfect excuse to visit an under-rated stretch of the Sligo coast.

Aughris Head is a Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point about 6km off the N59 between Sligo and Ballina. It can be reached via a 4km walk that starts at Dunmoran Strand, continues past the local Beach Bar and skirts around part of the headland, including the mysterious ringfort in Dennison's video.

Aughris Head. Screengrab: James Dennison / Atlantic Light Productions
Aughris Head. Screengrab: James Dennison / Atlantic Light Productions

Stopping at the ridge-like remains provides an opportunity not only for some archaeological speculation, but to soak up killer views of Sligo Bay and Ben Bulben.

The video comes as South & West Sligo Tourism, a community network of 40 local businesses, releases its latest 'Sligo's Hidden Gems' brochure.

It focuses on user-generated content, with photos ranging from seaweed baths, walking trails and surf spots to a replica early 20th-century cottage created near the Caves of Keash (pictured below).

The network has been working to boost rural tourism through initiatives like booklets, maps, trails and a #MySligo marketing campaign, as well as training local businesses to present and promote themselves more effectively.

Nuala Mullaney meeting Pat Ward for tea at the 20th century replica cottage Pat has complete at Fox's Den in Co Sligo.(thebeachbarsligo.com)
Nuala Mullaney meeting Pat Ward for tea at the 20th century replica cottage Pat has complete at Fox's Den in Co Sligo.(thebeachbarsligo.com)

Its efforts were recognised this February, when South & West Sligo Tourism won 'Best Tourism Initiative' at the National Community & Council Awards.

"The whole purpose was for the businesses and community to work together to attract more visitors and benefit the whole region," says Paul Taylor, the network's chair.

"The vision has now become a reality."

NB: Safety comes first on a walk, no matter how easy. Check the weather, leave word of where you’re going and when you’ll be back, and pack smart. The Aughris Head walk is a coastal trail, so exercise due caution and care.

For more, see southsligotourism.ie and sligowalks.ie.

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