My journey south along the Wild Atlantic Way continued into west County Sligo a place I had not visited before, even though I have lived most of my life in Ireland.
My first stop was at Aughris Head
Aughris Head is on a rugged peninsula with panoramic views of Knocknarea and Ben Bulbin mountains. Great walks, surfing and fishing are on offer in this very pleasant area with spectacular views towards of the Ox Mountains and across towards County Donegal.
On then towards Easkey, where Roslee Castle sits on the coast near Easkey Pier. This O’Dowd castle dates from 1207, but only the exterior walls are standing.
Near the pier is an informational board remembering Matteo Fossaluzza an Italian whose body was washed up here after a shipping disaster in 1940. The British Liner the Arandora Star had sailed from Liverpool a day or so earlier on her way to Canada. On board were 1,500 internees, 479 German and 734 Italian citizens who had lived and worked in Britain for many years before the outbreak of WW2. There were also 86 German prisoners of war aboard, as well as 200 guards. The internees were being deported to Canada. On July 2 1940 the Arandora Star was torpedoed by a German U-Boat, 75 miles west of Bloody Foreland, County Donegal. 805 men lost their lives, 446 of whom were Italians. Over a period of a month many bodies were washed ashore and by December, 213 bodies had come ashore on a 600 mile stretch between Mayo and the Scottish Hebrides. Matteo Fossaluzza was buried at nearby Roslea graveyard but was later reinterred in St Pancras in London where he had lived before the war. Remains of others have been buried in various places along the coast,including Cruit Island in Donegal, Carndonagh in Donegal, Belmullet Co. Mayo and in the German War cemetery at Glencree Co. Wicklow.
The pretty village of Easkey is just up the road on the banks of the River Easkey.
Near the river is a pretty little church
In the centre of the village is the Medieval Easkey Abbey. The graveyard here was in use up to 1880s and it is said that families had to bring along the soil to cover coffins, such was the extent of the overcrowding.
This little village has a very nice streetscape.
Having the chat at Easkey Main Street!
This is a lovely part of Ireland with lots to do and see, an absolute gem of a place for those who love history and walking!