Sligo will enchant you. It is a county that celebrates its independent spirit. A place steeped in Irish history and mythology, with a creative tradition that lives in the music, art, poetry and expression of its people. From lakes and rivers to beaches and dramatic limestone mountains, Sligo is a place where ancient sites, spectacular landscapes and rolling waves inspire stories, trails and adventures that will open your mind and invigorate your body.
Sligo’s coastline hosts many discovery points along The Wild Atlantic Way. Bustling seaside villages and hidden bays alike are waiting to be found. Mullaghmore Beach, overlooked by the majestic Classiebawn Castle, is situated in North Sligo next to the picturesque village of Mullaghmore. Whilst nearby Streedagh Strand is a three kilometre sandy beach with dunes, a lagoon and fantastic views of the famous Benbulben mountain. Further along the coast at Rosses Point, the area that inspired many of Jack B. Yeats’ artwork, are three sandy beaches, where there will always be space to walk, run, or simply sit. The coastal towns of Strandhill and Enniscrone offer both breathtaking scenery and activities ranging from surfing, golfing, fishing, standup paddling, kite boarding, horse riding, swimming or even a relaxing seaweed bath. Walking trails are plentiful around the county. Easy-going terrains set in beautiful forests, hills and lakesides are accessible for families and make for a great day out. Longer trails like the Sligo Way (a 74km walking route that traverses the county) or the Miners’ Way and Historical Trail offer more challenging routes for the dedicated walker. The most popular walking routes include Queen Maeve’s Trail on Knocknarea, Benbulben-Gortarowey Trail, The Devil’s Chimney and Glencar Lake & Waterfall.
Sligo’s archaeological and mythological heritage is incredibly rich, with one of the highest concentrations of prehistoric and later monuments in Western Europe. This ancient county is f illed with over 5,000 archaeological sites. It is believed the first settlers to Ireland came into the Northwest and the ancient burial sites lay testament to this. Serene megalithic complexes invite visitors to take a journey back through time to walk in the footsteps of Iron Age communities and to learn legends of Stone Age Chieftains.
In the Bricklieve Mountains, overlooking Lough Arrow, is the impressive passage tomb cemetery of Carrowkeel. There are 14 neolithic cairns, dating from around 3,500 BC, with a further six cairns extending west to Keshcorran Mountain. Creevykeel Court Tomb, in the foothills of Tievebaun Mountain, is one of the best examples of a court tomb in Ireland. The site is dated to 4,000 BC. Knocknashee (The Hill of the Fairies), near Tubbercurry, is a limestone table-top plateau with two large neolithic cairns. The scale of the site suggests it was an important centre at the end of the Bronze Age. It is said to be the home of the Fairies of the region, and is well respected and revered as such.
C a r r ow m o r e Megalithic Cemetery is the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland, ranging from 5,000 to 5,800 years old. Archaeologists have recorded over 60 tombs of which 30 are visible today. Overlooking Carrowmore, on the summit of Knocknarea Mountain, is the huge flattopped cairn called ‘Miosgan Meadhbha’ (Maeve’s Cairn), 55m in diameter and 10m high. The name of the monument along with folklore suggests it was built for the mythical Maeve, the Iron Age Queen of Connacht.
Writers and artists have long been inspired by Sligo. The world-renowned poet W.B. Yeats was inspired by much of the unique scenery around County Sligo and you will find this captured in Yeatsâ€™ poetry such as the Lake Isle of Innisfree, The Stolen Child and The Fiddler of Dooney. The final resting place of W.B. Yeats, the site of a 6th Century Columbian monastery, nestles under the spectacular Benbulben mountain.
The Model, home of the Niland Collection, in Sligo town centre, is one of Irelandâ€™s leading contemporary arts centres, featuring works by John and Jack B. Yeats, Estella Solomons, Paul Henry and Louis Le Brocquy among others. Sligo is proud of its traditional music heritage, which is celebrated at regular events throughout the year. The popular Michael Coleman Heritage Centre, draws together the many strands of traditional music. The centre is dedicated to the memory of the legendary fiddle player, Michael Coleman (1891-1945), who was universally acclaimed as one of the finest traditional fiddle players of his era.
Museums here offer time for reflection on bygone times, and impressive stately homes, each have a story to tell. The magnificent Lissadell House so beloved of W.B. Yeats, built in 1830 by the famous Gore Booth family, should not be missed. Set amid the stunning scenery of mountain, woods and sea, Lissadell House & Gardens are famous as the childhood home of Constance Markievicz and her siblings Eva and Josslyn Gore Booth. Constance was one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising, and was the first woman to be elected to the House of Commons at Westminister, London. Eva was a poet of distinction and an active suffragette.
An array of activities to suit every interest can be found in Sligo. From walking trails in striking landscapes, adventurous water sports, a round of golf overlooking the ocean to a relaxed afternoon of fishing or even an uplifting horse-ride along the beach. Sligo is a fantastic foodie destination where restaurants and innovative cafés take pride in serving fresh, local, healthy food. The county offers a diverse choice of high quality accommodation. Visitors can choose to stay in contemporary four star luxury hotels, castles and stately homes, cosy bed and breakfasts or even enjoy a break in an Irish home and sample a true taste of Ireland. If you prefer the great outdoors, sleep under the stars at Sligo’s caravan and camping sites or there are comfortable holiday hostels for backpackers.
The choice is endless but the quality assured and always with a hundred thousand welcomes! Céad Míle Fáilte!
Come and join us in Sligo and set your spirit free!
Historical Fact Sligo is the county town and the largest town in the north-west area. The first recorded mention of Sligo was in the year 807, when marauding Vikings sacked the town. The arrival of the Anglo-Norman Maurice Fitzgerald in 1245 was marked by the building of a castle, nothing of which, unfortunately, remains. In 1252 Fitzgerald established a Dominican Friary in the town, which flourished until it was destroyed by fire in 1641; it was restored and is now open to the public.
What’s on in Sligo 2019
The highest calibre of international, national and local artists grace Sligo venues in a sparkling series of arts and cultural events throughout the year. 6–12 May
Cos Cos 13th Annual Sean Nos Festival
Yeats Day Festival
Rosses Point Wild Atlantic Shanty Festival
Paddy Killoran Traditional Festival
Cairde Sligo Summer Festival
Sligo Jazz Project & International Summer School Festival
14 –20 Jul
South Sligo Summer School Traditional Music, Song & Dance
Tread Softly Festival
25 Jul–2 Aug
60th Yeats International Summer School
James Morrison Traditional Weekend
Sligo Summer Festival
Tubbercurry Old Fair Day Festival
Coleman Traditional Festival
24th Sligo Festival of Baroque Music
Celtic Fringe Festival
27 Sep–1 Oct
Frank Finn Traditional Singing Weekend
Sligo Live Festival
International Choral Festival
Free Guided Walking Tour of Sligo City
21 May, 18 Jun, 14 Jul, 7–8 & 20 Aug, 25 Sep
Sligo Race Meetings