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My Favourite Drive: Conor Faughnan on the long road from Dublin to Sligo

Lough Key and a very special sculpture make this quite the trip.

Lough Key at sunset
Lough Key at sunset

Journeys, even everyday ones, can mean a lot. Conor Faughnan is director of consumer affairs at AA Ireland, and a frequent media presence representing motorists. As someone with a passion for motoring, he told about the drive that means most to him.

First off – describe the drive. 

Probably my favourite journey is a family tradition. We go to a Sligo a lot, my parents are from there, so I know the road from Dublin to Sligo very well.

There’s an element of mentally detoxing, as soon as you realise you’re back in the west of Ireland. I mean, obviously it’s the modern age so my mobile can chase me anywhere. But there is something about the air in the west of Ireland, the attitude of the people, just something unique about it as a place. The Wild Atlantic Way may have been a marketing idea, but there’s something to it.

The Gaelic Chieftain statue near Boyle Source: Liamfm .

Is there a view or a moment that sums it up for you?

Just west of the Boyle bypass there’s a beautiful spot. You have Lough Key and the lakes on the right. And there’s a hill, and on top of the hill there’s a stunning iron sculpture of a Celtic warrior, an amazing thing. If anyone is on that road, it’s actually worth taking the time to stop. It’s extremely evocative.

As a family it’s symbolic, it means that we’re back in the west. And it’s become almost a tradition. We usually time it so we have appropriate music on – Horslips’ album The Book Of Invasions at an unsustainable volume, or something completely over the top like that.

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What is it that makes it special?

You see that sculpture high on the road above you, you’re travelling in the evening, the setting sun is behind it so you see it in silhouette. It’s wonderful. Very often driving is a utilitarian thing to do, but occasionally you get to figuratively smell the roses.

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About the author:

Michael Freeman

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