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The Gleniff Horseshoe in County Sligo, Ireland, offers stunning scenic beauty and options for both driving and walking. Visiting this place is definitely one of my favorite activities in Sligo because of its natural and scenic beauty.

This tourist attraction can be completed on foot, horseback, or bicycle. The place promises amazing views of the Irish countryside, mountains, and waterfalls. Gleniff Horseshoe provides a picturesque settings that will leave an impression on you.

Gleniff Horseshoe presents a captivating blend of natural splendour and cultural significance, making it an unforgettable destination for you seeking adventure and tranquillity amidst Ireland’s rugged terrain. Here is your complete guide to visiting this natural wonder.

Useful Info for Gleniff Horseshoe Trip


The Gleniff Horseshoe is located in Carbury, North Sligo, Ireland, on the north side of the Dartry mountain range. It is approximately a 30-minute drive from Sligo town. The Gleniff Horseshoe Drive is a 9 km looped drive through a valley of mountains, beginning and ending near the Benwiskin Centre.

History & Formation

The formation of Gleniff Horseshoe dates back to the Last Ice Age, which occurred roughly 10,000 BCE. During this period, extensive glaciers covered the landscape, reaching more than 1 kilometre thick. As the ice retreated, it carved out valleys and hollows, forming the unique geography of Gleniff Horseshoe.

Today, the area encompasses a 9 km looped drive through a valley of mountains, showcasing dramatic landscapes, megalithic monuments, and historical sites.


The Gleniff Horseshoe offers several notable attractions.

  • Mountains and Viewpoints: This area features towering mountains such as Tievebaun, Truskmore, Benbulben, and Benwiskin, providing stunning vistas of Donegal Bay.
  • Cliffs of Annacoona: The ruins of an old schoolhouse sit at the foot of the Cliffs of Annacoona and offer impressive views.
  • Waterfalls: A small waterfall runs alongside the Gleniff Horseshoe Drive.
  • Forests and Woodland Walks: Forest areas provide peaceful walks among native trees that provide you with a unique experience.

How to reach Gleniff Horseshoe

The accessibility of Gleniff Horseshoe varies depending on the activity and location. The Gleniff Horseshoe Drive is accessible via the N15 road between Sligo and Bundoran, and the looped drive is a tarmac road suitable for driving or biking. The drive takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

The Gleniff Horseshoe Walk is a 10 km path that typically takes about 2 hours to complete. The road requires only an average level of walking and has the advantage of being little used by vehicles. Here is the link of a walking tour if you want to try. Sligo Tours also offer you a variety of options.

Overview of the Gleniff Horseshoe Drive

Driving Route for Gleniff Horseshoe

Length: The Gleniff Horseshoe Drive is a 9 km looped drive through a valley of mountains, offering panoramic views of Tievebaun, Truskmore, Benbulben, and Benwiskin.

Starting Point: The drive begins off the main N15 road between Bundoran and Sligo. To access the loop, take a left turn at the crossroads just after Creevykeel court cairns when coming from Bundoran.

Notable Landmarks

Forestry Views: As you continue around the southern end of the horseshoe, you’ll drive through forestry and be greeted by breathtaking views.

Old Schoolhouse: Along the route, you’ll encounter an old schoolhouse providing a great photo opportunity. Nearby stands “Diarmuid and Grainne’s Cave,” a famous local landmark.

Magic Hill: A unique feature on the drive is the “Magic Hill,” where cars appear to reverse uphill due to an optical illusion.

Communications Hub: Further along, you’ll spot a large mast on Truskmore Mountain, serving as a major communications hub for the northwest area.

Safety Tips

The Gleniff Horseshoe Drive is a 9 km looped drive through a valley of mountains, offering panoramic views of Tievebaun, Truskmore, Benbulben, and Benwiskin. The area is popular with walkers and hikers, so be on the lookout for pedestrians and give them plenty of space.

The roads in rural areas of Ireland, including the Gleniff Horseshoe Drive, are notoriously narrow, so be prepared to navigate tight spaces. The drive offers stunning views, but it’s important to stay alert and focused on the road to avoid accidents.

Last but not least, the weather in Ireland can be unpredictable, so be prepared for rain, fog, or other challenging conditions that may affect visibility and road conditions.

The Gleniff Horseshoe Walk (aka the Benwisken Trail)

Walking Trail at Gleniff Horseshoe

Length: The Gleniff Horseshoe Walk is a 10 km path that typically takes about 2 hours to complete.

Starting Point: The walk can be accessed from Gleniff Horseshoe Drive, which is a tarmac road suitable for cars and buses.

Ending Point: The walk typically loops back to the starting point near the Benwiskin Centre.

Features of Interest

Scenic Views: The walk offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, including Tievebaun, Truskmore, Benbulben, and Benwiskin.

Diarmuid and Grainne’s Cave: Along the route, you can spot Diarmuid and Grainne’s Cave, a legendary site mentioned in Irish mythology.

Safety Tips

Sharing the Road with Vehicles

Stay Visible: Wear bright or reflective clothing to increase visibility to drivers, especially in areas where the road may be narrow.

Walk Against Traffic: When walking on a road without a sidewalk, walk facing oncoming traffic to see vehicles approaching.

Be Alert: Stay attentive to your surroundings and be prepared to move aside for vehicles if needed.

Avoiding Challenging Climbs

Know Your Limits: Choose walking routes that match your fitness level and avoid steep or challenging climbs if they exceed your capabilities.

Plan Ahead: Bring a map and compass to stay oriented and avoid getting lost, especially in areas with varying terrain.

Take Breaks: Allow yourself time to rest and hydrate during the walk, especially on longer routes, to prevent exhaustion.

Things to do near the Gleniff Horseshoe

Visit Devil’s Chimney

The Devil’s Chimney, also known as Sruth in Aghaidh An Aird, is a notable natural attraction located near Glencar Valley on the Sligo/Leitrim border in Ireland.

You can embark on a 50-minute walk to experience the Devil’s Chimney in all its glory. The walk offers expansive views of the surrounding area and provides an opportunity to admire the waterfall after heavy rainfall.

Visit Mill Falls Waterfall

Mill Falls Waterfall in Sligo, Ireland is also known as Ireland’s highest waterfall, Sruth in Aghaidh an Aird, or The Devil’s Chimney.

Mill Falls Waterfall offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, including the Atlantic coastline and the Ulster County beyond. The waterfall is surrounded by ancient woodland, including some of Ireland’s oldest trees, such as yews that are over 1,000 years old.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some interesting facts about Gleniff Horseshoe?

Gleniff Horseshoe is connected to local legends and stories, adding depth to your experience. It also features Diarmuid and Grainne’s cave, a legendary site mentioned in Irish mythology.

Is Gleniff Horseshoe worth a visit?

It is a place that you’ll never come across anywhere. So, if you’re nearby or you get a chance to visit horseshoe, please don’t miss that.

Being in the lap of nature and the greenery is rare nowadays, and this place has it all.

How to get Tt Gleniff Horseshoe?

It’s simple to get there. Take the N15 north from Sligo to Cliffoney (22km). Continue 2 kilometres north of Cliffoney to the first intersection. Turn right at the sign for a 6 kilometres straight shot. 

You can park your car by the side of the road and enjoy the view. 


The Gleniff Horseshoe is a breathtaking natural wonder that captivates you with its stunning beauty and serene atmosphere.

I hope this article was helpful and made it easier for you to explore Gleniff Horseshoe. Do let me know in the comment section about your experience with the place.

Here is another useful article for you to explore the top things to do in Sligo.


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