This entry is part [part not set] of 20 in the series Ireland Travel

Stage 13. Sligo – Athlone

In this stage we began our coming back to Dublin, leaving the Irish West Coast and crossing the country through the hinterland to stay at night in Athlone. We visited Sligo and Boyle Abbeys and tried to find Drumanone Dolmen (without any success), we reached Roscommon Castle and finally found La Tène stone.

Sligo Abbey

The first visit that day was Sligo Abbey, located in the centre of the village of the same name. It’s actually a Dominican convent founded in 1252. The difference between both kinds of temple is that in a convent the friars invite or let the people take part of their ceremonies and cults as crowd.

The convent, almost ruined, conserves the main nave of the church in a pretty well condition, and the cloister and some rooms for the monks as well. The visit is worthy to admire the size of the convent and the great amount of different architectural details you can see: arcs, columns, capitals, tombs, tombstones… Again during this visit we had a booklet with the explanations.

Some curiosities from this place are, for example: the cross screen, a wall made of arcs that divided the friars’ area from the secular crowd; the picture window from the lector in the cloister from where a monk read during the lunch time; some little stalactites which can be seen by the arcs; the cemetery that had to be lifted one meter high to allow the building of more tombs during the Irish famine of mid-19th century…

Sligo Abbey #01

Sligo Abbey #02

Sligo Abbey #03

Sligo Abbey #04


Admission: 3 € per adult (included with the Heritage Card)
Opening Hours: from 5th April to mid-October, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
GPS Coordinates: 54.270904, -8.470044
More informationSligo Abbey

Boyle Abbey

Our route took us to Boyle Abbey, which was being restored at that time. There was a nice watchman who told us part of the history of the place and the growth of the Cistercian order in Europe. After that he gave us 40 minutes to make the visit (because he had to go to take lunch) and the booklet for the guided visit.

Boyle Abbey is one of the first Cistercian foundations in Ireland and it’s certainly one of the most important. It was founded in late 12th century. The arches which delimitate the church’s main nave are very remarkable (ogival and sharp in the North face and Romanic and rounded in the South face), and the engraved stone works in most of the capitals, with sculpted trumpets, plants and flowers, strange animals, scenes from the Bible…

Boyle Abbey #01

Boyle Abbey #02


Admission: 3 € per adult (included with the Heritage Card)
Opening Hours: from 5th April to 26th September, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
GPS Coordinates: 53.9736, -8.297028
More informationBoyle Abbey

Drumanone Dolmen

We knew that Drumanone Dolmen, a 2,5 meter high megalithic monument, is very close to Boyle. However, although we tried hard to find it, we couldn’t, so we were very disappointed.

Back home we checked the map again and we found it without any problem. It seems that we were only about 20 meters from the dolmen, but we couldn´t see it because it’s located inside a private property and there are no signs at all. Bu t we promise that next time we’ll find it.

The dolmen is formed by a pair of 2 meter high lateral flagstones, with the upper flagstone slipped down to the ground. The space between each flagstone is 1,5 meters and it must be amazing to see it in person.

But you’ll be waiting for the main tip: how to arrive? It’s about 4 km from Boyle. You can find the coordinates in the “More Information” paragraph. Nevertheless, from Boyle you must take the R294 road to Gurteen and, once you pass the train tunnel (which makes a close curve to the right), you have to park the car in the first way you’ll see on the right, next to a little abandoned house. Take this path and walk about 150 or 200 meters. Then you’ll arrive to the railway cross, from where you’ll see the property where the dolmen is, if you look to the left.

Drumanone Dolmen


Free admission: remember you are in a private property inside a fenced area.
Opening Hours: any time.
GPS Coordinates: 53.970161, -8.354396
More information (and rights of the photograph): Drumanone Dolmen

Roscommon Castle

We followed our route to Roscommon, where we visited the castle, which is a great example of quadrilateral Anglo-Normand fortress, with D-shaped towers in every corner.

It was founded in mid-13th century and it was sieged, bombed and burned several times, until it was left in its present appearance. There’s nothing left inside, but the massive outer structure and its look from afar is really impressive.

There is in front of the castle a park with a little lake. This is a common place for taking a walk for Roscommon residents. We were lucky to coincide with a wedding in the castle, which made the occasion much more special.

Roscommon Castle #01

Roscommon Castle #02


Free admission
Opening Hours: any time.
GPS Coordinates: 53.6353, -8.193163
More information: Roscommon Castle

La Tène Stone (Castlestrange)

We were luckier with the last visit of the day than with Drumanone Dolmen. Although it was a bit hard, we finally found La Tène Stone, in “Castlestrange House” lands, near Athleague.

The stone is a granite ball of 60 cm high and 90 cm long, engraved with flowers and Celtic spirals in the style of La Tène (a place in Switzerland where many stones of the same kind have been found). There are only 5 five stones in Ireland in this style. Its manufacture dates from the Iron Age, about 400 b. C.

This Stone is located in a private property, but you can access from the road, in a secondary road which goes to the right of R362 road, if you go from Athleague to Lisnatea.

La Tène Stone #01

La Tène Stone #02


Free admission, remember it’s on a private property, but you can access from the road.
Opening Hours: any time
GPS Coordinates: 53.585806, -8.270731
More information: La Tène Stone

After founding this stone, we headed to Athlone, where we spent the night.

Here is a map with the route and some points of interest that we visited during this stage:

Map Stage 13. Sligo – Athlone

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