I took this photograph of Streedagh Strand from a grassy outcrop at Streedagh Point. I think it is one of the most impressive beaches in the North West, its 3km length stretches from Streedagh Point to Connor's Island.

Streedagh is famous (or should that be infamous?) as being the site where 3 ships of the ill-fated Spanish Armada were smashed upon the rocks and sank in 1588 with the reported loss of over a thousand lives. The ships were called the La Lavia, La Juliana and the Santa Maria de Vison.

To make a bad situation worse, at least 140 of the shipwrecked sailors who made it to shore at Streedagh Strand were butchered by Sir Richard Bingham, who was Governor of Connacht and was acting on the instructions of the English Crown that “any Spaniard who landed on the soil of Ireland must be killed forthwith without mercy”. Queen Elizabeth was said to be terrified of any potential alliance between the Irish and the Spaniards.

Captain Francesco DeCuellar managed to survive both the shipwreck and the attack by the Bingham’s soldiers. His diary entries detailing the story of his escape back to Spain via Antrim and Scotland with the assistance of O’Rourkes of Breffini are a fascinating read.

As always the case in much of Sligo, the iconic shape of Benbulben and the Dartry mountain range also dominates this panorama.

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© Ciaran McHugh Photography 2009-2017, by Sea Design