Aughris Head is situated in Sligo Bay, approximately 22km West of Ballisadare. (Grid Ref.496367, Sheet 25, Collooney).
From Ballisadare, turn off the N4 onto the N59 towards Ballina. Follow this for 20 km, until you come to a sign for the Beach Bar and turn right. The route to the Beach Bar is well signposted, except for the very last turn at a small crossroads just before Aughris pier, where you go right. To get to the crag, from the Beach Bar, go straight through the junction mentioned above, heading west. After 500 metres turn right up a small lane which ends in an abandoned village, a legacy of the ravages of emigration on the district. It is possible to park a few cars here. Cross a gate on the right and head up the hill to a small lookout post and radio beacon. From here descend diagonally right to the coast at the Eastern end of the crag, where winter storms have cut back the soil at the top of the crag and exposed the landward dipping rock beds.
A better approach nowadays is to leave the N59 at either of two signposts for Aughris Pier and follow signposts to park at the top of the pier's slipway. A very pleasant permissive path starts just left of the top of the slipway and follows the coast, crossing three stiles enroute, to the enclosure containing St. Patrick's Well and shrine. The descent to the foot of the cliffs as mentioned below is almost directly below the well.
The climbs are located on a North-westerly facing sea cliff, which is overhanging but heavily bedded limestone and dipping at about 15 degrees inland which explains the remarkable profusion of enormous incut holds. There are some fabulous green and white moss cascades that make the crag appear somewhat unattractive initially, but do not greatly interfere with the climbing. Camping is allowed outside the Beach Bar at Aughris Strand, a cosy little place with a welcoming proprietor, the crag is within twenty minutes walk of the pub, and the beach is just over the wall.
The crag is divided into three sections
The Eastern section contains the bulk of the climbing, and is approached by scrambling down over easy ground at the right hand end, as you look out to sea, where the cliff drops down to a few metres high. There is an extremely slippery but thankfully inward sloping ledge, approximately 4 metres wide, running along the base of the cliff throughout this section which gives access to the routes. This ledge is submerged for an hour or two at high tide. Rough seas will also prevent access to the base of the cliff. The end of this section is distinguished by the merging of the access ledge into the looming mass of the higher Central section and a big increase in the amount of dripping slime cascades.
The Western section is beyond the bird colony, located at an obvious sea cave.
Seagull Surprise D.
J. Byrne, J. Reville, G. Moss July 2013.
Start 2m L of Second Movement and climb to the top on large holds.
SECOND MOVEMENT VD
C. O'Riordan & P. Horan July 1991
This is the first large corner right of the descent.Gain height for 10m until you arrive at the top.
Limpet Line VD.
J. Reville, J. Byrne, G. Moss July 2013.
Start 2m R of Second Movement and climb on flat holds to the top.
Well, Well VD
G.Moss, J. Byrne, J. Reville July 2013.
Start 4m L of the large recess containing Numero Uno and Doyle's Corner, at the foot of a narrow R-facing wall. Climb the centre of the wall to the top.
Chiton Class VD
J. Reville, J. Byrne, G. Moss July 2013
Start just R of Well, Well and climb the face at right-angles to that route.
Bridge Out VD
J. Byrne, J. Reville, G. Moss July 2013
Start 2m R of Chiton Class and climb up to and through a corner.
NUMERO UNO S
P. Horan, C. O'Riordan & R. Toal Ju1y 1991
Just R of Bridge Out is a large recessed wall with an overhang at 4m and two opposing corners.This route goes up a slippery slab to the base of the left hand corner of the recess and straight up.
DOYLE'S CORNER D
S. MacGearailt & D. Doyle July 1991
This route takes the right hand corner of the recess used by Numero Uno.
G. Moss, J. Reville July 2013
Start 2m R of Mussel On and climb direct to top.
AVOIDING THE OBVIOUS HS 4b
P. Horan & C. O'Riordan July 1991
13m right of Doyle's Corner there is a deep groove which overhangs at 1/4 and 2/3 height, with white moss at its base. Start up the groove but trend left after 2m to a corner and go straight up.
ON THE BEACH HS 4b
S. MacGearailt, R. Toal & P. Ryder July 1991
Once again start up the white mossed groove but rather than Avoiding The Obvious go left at the first overhang, back right again and then left at the second overhang.
Via Media HS 4a
G. Moss, J. Reville July 2013
Start as for Guido Doylo, but move L after 2m and climb diagonally L to finish up the corner L of Guido Doylo.
GUIDO DOYLO VS 4b
D. Doyle, L. Creed & R. Toal July 1991
This is 4m right of the Avoiding The Obvious groove, and directly under a right facing V groove at the top. Start at a small overhang with a crack and climb direct to the groove and thence the top.
WHITE STAIN ON A BLACK HEAD VS 4b
E. Walsh & M Laffan July 1991
Start 3m R of Guido Doylo at a small ledge which has a puddle 1m up and a white calcite stain at 3m which is 4m below a block with a crack on the right. Climb the overhangs to a shallow groove and finish up this.
MALLORY TOWERS HS 4b
J. McCann, E. Walshe, R. Toal, N. Laffan, L. Creed, J. Bartlett & A. Cast of Thousands July 1991
Start at the blocky arête right of WHITE STAIN on the right-hand side of the arête. Traverse left at 2m to the left hand side and then follow the arête to the top.
WANDERLY WAGON HVS 5a
P. Harrington & 0. Cugat July 1991
The most unusual wagon you ever saw is to the left of a large rockfall scar where there is some lightly coloured rock. The route starts here and trends left to a triangular overhang. Swing around this on the left and on up to the top. The crux is at the bottom and after this the route gives easy climbing.
BIM VS 4b
I. McNicholl, O. Cugat & J. Bartlett July 1991
Follow bulges (which bulges and where they are hasn't been alluded to) to a V slot at the top.
PEABRAIN HVS 5a
P. Breen & P. Harrington July 1991
This route is right of the rockfall mentioned in Wanderly Wagon and takes a right trending line of short corners and finishes up left. There is a variation 4b finish which goes right in an airy position on good holds.
SHEEG-SHAAG VS 4b
T. 0'Brien & The Gemini Man July 1991
A zigzag line running between Peabrain and Frog.
FROG ON A COLD SLIMY ROOF HVS 5a
T. O'Brien, J. McCann & 0. Cugat July 1991
Climb up from the left (of what I don't rightly know) to a large overhang at 4m and take it on the right. Go straight up over a smaller overhang.
BLANCHE HVS 5a
T. O'Brien & 0. Cugat July 1991
Possibly due to murky conditions, or some such atmospheric anomaly, the first ascensionists seem unable to indicate where this starts, your guess is as good as mine. Here it is, word for word. Follow the overhanging arête and grooves. Good route.
THE MAD WART E1 5b
T Taylor, S Goodey, June 1995.
Start at the bottomless groove of BAM but instead of pulling up into the groove, pull through the first roof just left of it. Long reaches gain positive holds. Finish up the easy corner.
BAM E2 5b
I McNicholl, P. Breen & P. Harrington July 1991
Follow the bottomless groove on the right of Blanche (ha haa haaa!). Go right at the roof above to gain a right facing groove shared with Radio Darren. An excellent route giving technical climbing on small holds lower down (crux) and climbing of a more strenuous nature higher up but on the characteristic Aughris 'bucket' holds. Low in the grade.
RADIO DARREN HVS 5a
S. MacGearailt & P. Harrington July 1991
Start just left of the first large area of green moss. Go through overhangs to finish up a right facing groove shared with Bam.
PORPOISE HVS 5a
S. MacGearailt & P. Breen July 1991
Good wall climbing that's easier than it looks. Start 3m left of Grievous Bodily Charm and go left of a large roof, to trend rightwards up the wall to a small groove with an overhang at the top.
GRIEVOUS BODILY CHARM E1 5b
P. Breen & I. McNicholl July 1991
This starts below one of the few obvious features on the crag. Start below a large triangular roof at about 10m which has a crack running through it (takes Friend 3-3.5). Climb the arête to the roof and step out right into the bottom of a hanging corner on the right hand side of the roof. Here good friend protection can be arranged. Climb into the corner on small holds (crux) and go left up the wall above to the top. An excellent route with the crux being 'only' vertical and on small holds.
UNFINISHED SYMPHONY HVS 4c
P. Horan & C O'Riordan July 1991
To the right of Grevious Bodily Charm there is a large area of slime running the full height of the cliff, a first ascent is yet to be made. Unfinished Symphony is right of this and climbs between two green slimes - yummy ! The top half is unprotected. Go right up the wall to a right facing corner.
SO LONG AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH E1 5b
P. Breen, I. McNicholl & S. MacGearailt July 1991
This route takes the dry overhanging wall to the left of Bem and to the right of a another slimy area. Fairly high in its grade. Go up left to a large overhang and take it directly. Continue straight up the wall surmounting smaller overhangs. Traverse right at the top to finish as for Bem. Superb climbing.
BEM E1 5b
I. McNicholl & D. Doyle July 1991
A close relation to Bim and Bam, this route takes a series of shallow grooves through an obvious and impressive overhanging mini buttress just left of an area of more continuous slime. With it overhanging possibly 1 in 4 it looks intimidating but the climbing is more amenable than at first sight. Start at the right hand side of the buttress and trend left through a series of grooves to a resting ledge. Go straight up the overhanging groove and finish by trending left near the top, though trending right is also quite feasible. Finishes just right of a fence at the top which is a useful landmark. The crux is possibly near the bottom due to the start being a little slimy. An excellent exposed route on massive holds and low in the grade.
These two routes are located at the first big inlet and start from just above a platform on the Eastern side. Abseil down to a small ledge 5m above the platform.
SWING TIME E3 5c
T Taylor, June 1995.
Takes the wall right of BEM where the slime almost runs the full height of the crag. Climb right of the streak on surprisingly dry rock. Steep and strenuous from the start. High on the right is a short green streak. Climb left of this. Good thread runner on the left. Step up and right once past the short green streak and finish on good holds with a massive pump.
BOM VS 4c
I. McNicholl & P. Breen July 1991
The last of the the B-specials climbs the right hand groove onto the wall and trends right following the contour of the cave to the top.
DISAPPOINTING BASTILE VS 4c
0. Cugat & E. Walshe July 1991
Start as for Bom but trend left towards the top.
The next four routes lie 10 metres beyond the inlet at a short corner. Abseil down to an obvious ledge 5 metres above sea level.
SAUSAGES 22m S 4a
C. O'Riordan & E. Walshe July 1991
Climb the corner, passing the short overhang on good holds on the left. Continue to the top on good holds.
RASHERS 22m S 4a
E. Walshe & C. O'Riordan July 1991
From the right end of the platform, move up to a large ledge, then up right to reach a groove which is climbed to the top.
C O'Riordan & E. Walshe July 1991
8 metres further west is another short corner. Climb the back wall on good holds, moving left near the top.
AND EVEN MORE SAUSAGES HS
P. Breen, I. McNicholl July 1991
The next corner right which is climbed on good holds.