Tag Archives: Co Sligo

Lough Gill, castles and woodland

Recently we had the opportunity to visit Parkes Castle on the lake shore of Lough Gill in Co Leitrim.


Lough Gill from the Shores of Lough Gill

The castle is a restored plantation* castle from the early 17th century, though within the grounds there is evidence of an earlier 16th century Tower House.


Evidence of Tower House in foreground on right hand side of photo

The Castle is now in ownership of the Office of Public Works (OPW) and we received an excellent guided tour from one of their staff, who explained a little about the history of the castle and how it has been restored.


Parkes Castle

One of the more fascinating facts was that the castle would have been home to over one hundred people including the family, guards, and servants.


Lough Gill

Afterwards we took a drive to the other side of the lake (now in Co Sligo) where there is a lovely forest walk at Slish wood, by then the sun had come out too.


Inspired by this week’s lens artist photo challenge – seascapes and or lakeshore



*As Cathy noted I should have really explained the term “plantation castle”. Put in simple terms during the 16-century the English Crown was seeking to extend their control over Ireland. One of the ways they tried to do this was to confiscate land from Irish landowners (both Gaelic clans and Hiberberno-norman ones) and replace them with English or Scottish settlers. Between the 1550’s and the 1650’s Four Plantations took place in Ireland. Each plantation was the result of a rebellion by the Irish who were trying to resist the extension of English control over Ireland.





Learning more about our pollinators

We visited the lovely Longford Demesne, Co Sligo, last weekend. The area consists of old and new native woodland, native hedgerow, an open area by an ancient rath and a field that has been sown with a mix specially to feed wild birds.

We’re really looking forward to doing a pollinator course there on the 17th June.












Union Wood

A couple of weeks ago we visited Union Wood in County Sligo. The bluebells were amazing.

Union Wood is designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) due to the presence of old sessile oak woodland. Today,  the woodland is mixed and includes commercial forestry and is part owned by Coillte and the NPWS.

The wood was once part of the Cooper Estate, The Cooper family had acquired the land in the mid-17th century under the Cromwellian settlement. Prior to which it was owned by an old Irish family, the McDonaghs.

There are two looped walking trails to enjoy, one 4km and the other 5.5km long.