Banner: Knocknarea sunset
A group of students from the USA descending through the bog after a Sunday morning hike around Carrowkeel.
A group of students from the USA descending through the bog after a Sunday morning hike around Carrowkeel.

Guided tours of Irish megalithic and historic sites.

The Ben Bulbin country in County Sligo is one of those rare places in Ireland where fairies are thought to be visible, and our first witness from there claims to be able to see the fairies or 'gentry' and to talk with them. This mortal so favoured lives in the same townland where his fathers have lived during four hundred years, directly beneath the shadows of Ben Bulbin, on whose sides Dermot is said to have been killed while hunting the wild-boar. And this famous old mountain, honeycombed with curious grottoes ages ago when the sea beat against its perpendicular flanks, is the very place where the 'gentry' have their chief abode.

W. Y Evans Wentz, The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries, 1911.

Visitors to the Sacred Island on guided tours over the years.

Welcome to the Sacred Island ours page. I work as a step-on guide, bring out groups and individuals on tours of the beautiful County Sligo region. I am a Fáilte Ireland approved guide with 20 years experience of leading tours.

Students from the USA at the Poulnagollum cave, Carrowkeel.
Students from the USA at the Poulnagollum cave, Carrowkeel.
Having started out as a guide at Carrowkeel in South Sligo, I now reside in the north of the county where there are many remains from the neolithic such as Creevykeel court cairn scattered throughout the beautiful landscape.

Living in Cliffoney village has been an education in local history. Many of the buildings were erected by twice British prime minister and Landlord, Lord Palmerston, between 1830 and 1860; Classiebawn Castle was completed some 10 years after his death. Other famous individuals associated with the area are Countess Markievicz, Lord Mountbatten, the poet W. B. Yeats, and the rebel Sinn Féin priest, Fr. Michael O'Flanagan.

Touring Thompsons at Carrowkeel.
Touring Thompsons at Carrowkeel.

There is such an abundance of ancient remains of all kinds close to Sligo, that there is generally no need for a set itinerary. Tours usually last from 9.30 to 5.30 and cost €150 euro per day.

Dear Martin,

This note is long overdue. We toured Sligo last year with you, and it was amazing and wonderful. The depth of your knowledge, and your personal engagement with it made it am exceptional tour which helped us to feel the sacred quality n the land. Thank you. Do you have any suggestions for the next pilgrimage we make in Ireland?

Marni

It is easy to pick a range of sites from different time periods or concentrate on one particular type of site. Hikes such as a climb to Queen Maeve's cairn on Knocknarea require dry weather and proper footwear.

Up on Knocknarea in County Sligo.
Up on Knocknarea in County Sligo.

A Fáilte Ireland qualified tour guide, I have also studied art and and archaeology, and traditional Irish music, playing uilleann pipes, fiddle and banjo, so you can be sure of a few tunes on your tour!

Thank you Martin, for sharing your art, knowledge and stories with us here in San Francisco! I found the workshops with you and Padraig to be fun and creative, your Sunday afternoon presentation was chalked full of information and I enjoyed hearing you play the banjo and recall personal experiences as well as mythological connections with the ancient places.

Perhaps our group will go again to Ireland and if we're lucky you'll lead us to some of the magical spots you have told us about.

I hope the rest of your trip goes well,

Sincerely, Lisa

Saint Kevin's church, Inis Oirr, County Galway