Culleenamore, (co-ordinates 54.259790, -8.600861) lying in the shadow of Knocknarea is situated about a mile south of Strandhill, is basically just a large sandy bay. There is no village or shops, but the attraction of Culleenamore lies in its scenic beauty, a place for going on long beach walks, horse riding and kite buggy-ing.

Culleenamore is known locally as a place where, around 3,000 BC, people went down to the shore to collected shellfish to eat.

Excavations carried out in 1980 and 1981 by Dr. Goran Burenhult, suggest the shellfish which would have been found in this area consisted mainly of oyster, with smaller amounts of cockle and mussel as well.

The people who went down to the shore to collect the shellfish, brought them home to eat in seemingly huge quantities, discarding the shells at their dwelling places, ringforts, castles and house sites.

Large quantities of shellfish must also have been eaten on or near the waters edge, judging by the large numbers of discarded shells found dumped in what archaeologists call middens.

Culleenamore is just one of many midden site’s along the Sligo coastline.

The Culleenamore Midden had an area of at least twice the size of a football pitch and is 10 ft (3 metres) deep in places. It was not until the 1980s that the antiquity of the shell middens was fully recognised; before that time, some people considered these heaps of shells to be oyster beds, the natural deposition of dead oyster shells.

Sligo Town got it’s name from the Gaelic word Sligeach, which translates to Shelly River, this obviously makes direct reference to the amount of fossils found in the waters surrounding the town

One of the less pleasant happenings Culleenamore has witnessed in recent years is that of a sperm whale which got stranded and died here in 2006.

The sperm whale was observed by members of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group who said the stricken sperm whale was very thin, suggesting that he may not have eaten for some time, and was obviously in very poor health and it is believed he came into Culleenamore Bay for the sole purpose of dying.

The 45ft 20 ton, male adult sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), which may have been up to 40 or 50 years of age, was grounded on the sandbank for about 10 hours before Civil Defense personnel carried out a “blink reflex” test on the whale and the absence of any reaction suggested that the whale had expired of natural causes.

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