Sligo shaped us more than any other place in Ireland, and this is where our hearts beat faster. We love wandering through forests and spending time on the secluded beaches where the blowing’s of the wind creates the sand into collective structures.
In recent years we had a chance to visit Mullaghmore, a beautiful fishing village with a cosy vibe that’s located on the edge of the water between Cliffony and Grange, countless times and every time we’ve been able to capture beautiful sunsets.
Despite being exposed to the wild Atlantic winds and often accompanied by harsh weather conditions, this is where we feel most at ease, we could stay here for hours just to watch the best colour palettes.
During the winter huge swells ponder the coastline drawing in big wave surfers from all around the world and in springtime, the framework of beast-like looking cliffs with sharp edges is covered with splashes of pink.
And, when the sunshine rips troughs intermittent dark clouds, the shore becomes alive with light rushing down the soft sand.
Sligo Travel Guide: 8 best things to do in Mullaghmore Village
Are you travelling around Ireland and looking for an epic stop on your Wild Atlantic Way adventure? Then add Mullaghmore to your list because it has got everything Ireland’s West Coast is famous for – incredible coastal views, friendly locals, craggy cliffs, beautiful beaches, fantastic food and world-class surf.
Yes, it’s harsh and wild and certainly different but even a rainy day in Mullaghmore is better than a day spent inside.
In this blog post, we are sharing the best things to do to fill your trip with lots of adventure.
In Mullaghmore, two main points of exploration include Mullaghmore Head and Mullaghmore Beach. You’ll also find plenty of places to eat and have a pint, there’s a lovely little harbour, a small grocery shop with essential snack foods and a well-kept peace garden.
But, before you feast your eyes on Donegal Bay with Rossnowlagh in the east, familiarise yourself with its history and learn about a brutal assassination connected to the Troubles in Northern Ireland, learn about onslaughts on the people and starving of the populace.
#1. Stroll along Mullaghmore Beach
You’ll love exploring the Sligo coastline and enjoying its beautiful beaches as they are some of the best anyone can ask for.
Mullaghmore Beach is a beautiful white sandy beach sheltered by an extensive dune system, and when low tide occurs, you’ll find a variety of lines and cracks and colours on the exposed seafloor.
The beach is long, and the water is clean, safe and without big waves; it provides safe bathing, so it’s perfect for families and young children to enjoy.
Go for a stroll, it’s an ideal way to unwind and let your thoughts settle. The crashing Atlantic waves, the cascading dunes and the mountains in the distance only add to the peaceful atmosphere.
#2. Watch a sunrise
If you desire to experience the real character and charm of Mullaghmore and its incredible coast, you have to get up early and watch the sunrise.
Setting up your alarm for a crazy hour and dragging yourself out of bed in the dark may not be the easiest thing to do if you are on holiday exploring Ireland, but there are many reasons why you should do it.
Trade-in sleep for fantastic memories and enjoy the serenity only a sunrise can provide because it sees far fewer people than a sunset. Give every ounce of your attention to what’s going on around you and feel the sounds and smells in your frame.
You’ll love the way the light brings out so many different colours, and you’ll forever remember how untamed yet invitingly powerful the coastline around Mullaghmore is.
If you are a photographer, it’s also a great way of chasing that perfect golden light with a lens. Getting up at dawn and capturing the early morning atmosphere when nature looks more alive and lush with light adds more life to subtle details.
#3. Go on a photography adventure
Mullaghmore is a photographer’s dream – she’s a beautiful place with a dramatic touch. In addition to tidal pools, jagged rocks and moody skies there’s that perfect focal point for you to shoot too – beautiful Classiebawn Castle backed by Benbulben Mountain and Darty Mountains.
Photography is all about an amazing experience that’s burned into your memory, and great photos are just a bonus that comes with it. That’s why the best advice we can give to anyone visiting Mullaghmore is to explore, experiment and don’t strive for perfection.
On our last photography trip to Mullaghmore, we took a flask of herbal tea, tossed together a few tasty treats, sat on the rocks and were utterly blown away by the unfolding scenery.
Tufty clouds formed pretty patterns, shrieking seagulls flew overhead harassing each other, and the rippling ocean was unusually tranquil.
The setting sun brought out the hypnotic colours, and we realised how fortunate we are to have places like Mullaghmore nearby that we can visit and experience with no one else around.
#4. Go for a drive
Going for the drive along the coastal road in Mullaghmore, which is part of the Wild Atlantic Way, is nothing short of spectacular as it takes you right along the edge of the water.
The short, yet spectacular loop is around 3 kilometres in length and rewards visitors with stunning mountain views, glimpses of the Donegal coast and a castle by the sea.
The road looping around the headland is well-paved with fenced green pastures on one side and rugged cliffs on one the other side. You’ll find a couple of places where to stop, take photos and enjoy the views over the bay.
Mullaghmore Loop is also a very popular walk among visitors and locals. It takes around an hour at a reasonably good pace to complete and is a fantastic way to experience the coast and feel nature’s power. Along the way, there are appropriately appointed benches to take a short break and indulge in the surrounding scenery.
#5. Take in the views at Mullaghmore Head
If you are headed to Sligo, you can’t miss this coastal stunner. Even though no photo can truly capture the beauty of the endless coastal views we will shoot this over and over just because we love it.
The entire Mullaghmore coast holds a positive vibe, and although it’s hard to define what makes it so enchanting, I think that a combination of rolling sea mist, glowing hills and surf is what adds depth and ambience to it.
Have a few minutes for yourself to enjoy the view, be it for a whole day or just a brief stay. Watch the cascading water coming off the rocks after the waves hit and try to spot Slieve League cliffs in the distance.
#6. See the Classiebawn Castle
The dominant landmark of Mullaghmore and a much-sought photo location is the strikingly beautiful Classiebawn Castle with Benbulben at the back of it stealing the limelight.
The castle, built on the land, once owned by an old Gaelic clan called O Connors is on private grounds and not open to visitors yet standing atop the peninsula can be easily seen.
In the 18th century, Lord Palmerston – an important politician and English Prime Minister – inherited land around Mullaghmore from his father and decided to build a castle, owned in later years by the late Lord Mountbatten.
A visit to Mullaghmore to see the castle is undoubtedly a feast for the eyes and every time we visit this part of Sligo we can’t help but contemplate the role it plays in providing a perfect getaway away from the daily hustle.
#7. Be amazed by the huge swells
Come to Mullaghmore in the winter months and feel the power of the swells – it will keep you a few feet off the ground. The big wave spot is surfed at different conditions and sizes, and if you are lucky, you’ll be able to see humongous barrels and the thickest slabs of raw ocean power.
Wild winter weather, gloomy conditions and whipping winds can make for a very slow drive around Mullaghmore, but stormy winter seas only add to the scene, and the surf is spectacular.
Not knowing when the waves will come and regularly checking the forecast only adds to the excitement that arrives with the natural phenomenon 30 feet in size. Always check the Mullaghmore Head surf report and forecast for the upcoming conditions and coastal weather.
#8. Take part in a beach clean up
Living near the coast, we love a good beach clean-up. We are slowly losing our oceans and all the creatures that live in them due to the staggering amount of litter we dump in them. If you care about the oceans and want to learn more about the benefits of cleaning up your local beach and how to get started, then read the blog post we wrote about it.
Heading outdoors to explore to connect and to feel more restored is every human right but with that right comes certain responsibilities and looking after and protecting the environment is one of them.
Shifting towards a new paradigm is only possible once we are truly aware of the growing problem and becoming more aware is a process where we are learning to notice, process and react towards changes in our surroundings.
Yes, I know, picking up trash while on a beach holiday may not sound glamorous or what you had in mind, but it should be an important issue for every traveller and local person alike.
Of course, one small act might not change anything overnight but cultivating awareness and spending 10 minutes tidying sand around your beach towel can help you educate other people because not everyone is aware of the gigantic ecological footprint we are leaving on the planet.
Where to stay in Mullaghmore
• Pier Head Hotel | Set within the village, Pier Head Hotel Spa & Leisure is an affordable, 3 -star hotel with amazing ocean and mountain views. Buffet breakfast is included in the price, and you can walk to the beach in a few minutes.
• The Beach Hotel | Located in Mullaghmore, The Beach Hotel is set right across the street from the beach and walled harbour. In addition to the friendly staff, there’s a good breakfast included in the price and the hotel also offers a free shuttle bus to nearby Ireland West Airport.
• Seacrest Guesthouse | A beautiful B&B with fantastic ocean views, spacious rooms and a lovely host is set in the beautiful Mullaghmore village and is more like a home away from home. Free parking is available at Seacrest Guesthouse as well as excellent breakfast.
How to get to Mullaghmore
From Sligo Town | The drive from Sligo to Mullaghmore shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes, more if you choose to stop along the way. The distance is 28 kilometres, and the fastest route is via N15. From Sligo Town head North on the N15 and once you reach Cliffony turn left onto the R279 and follow the signs to Mullaghmore.
From Donegal Town | The distance between Mullaghmore Town and Donegal Town via N15 is around 44 kilometres, and you expect up to 40 minutes of travel time. You can break up the journey and stop at Rossnowlagh Beach or Tullan Strand in Bundoran.
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Now, over to you!
Have you been to Mullaghmore? Let us know in the comments below!
Let us know if you are plotting a visit to Mullaghmore and have travel-related questions!