County Sligo

Although the most accurate accounts of its history put the formation of Sligo (from the Irish, Shligigh) as early as the 16th century, recent discoveries have placed it as one of the oldest inhabited areas of Ireland (the megalithic tombs in Carrowmore, which together form the largest collection in Europe, outdate the pyramids in Egypt by over 1,000 years).

A Castle in County Sligo

A Castle in County Sligo

On this historical basis fares a culture born from a deep and inherent love of the traditional. The celebrated poet William Butler Yeats was born here, and he wrote most of his poetry in a traditional form inspired by his native scene. Bram Stoker, whose family heralded from Sligo, wrote Dracula inspired by stories his mother told about the haunted Dominican abbey (built in 1253) in the town. A trend of emerging musicians, including James Morrison and the Conway Sisters, will have benefitted from Sligo’s exemplary history of traditional music and in turn will have helped carry the weight of that tradition.

Sligo’s industrial port town, which is currently flourishing, has nevertheless suffered over the years, due in part to its remote location within Ireland. Adjacent to America however, it has also been of key importance since the 15th century, and during the Famine the bay served as a gate for departure for more than 30,000 impoverished and starving Irish. The huddled Black ‘47 monument at Sligo Harbour and the tearful Waiting on Shore monument at Rosses Point both point to the victims of the Famine.

Carrowmore Dolmen

Carrowmore Dolmen

In addition to the Waiting on Shore monument, you’ll find the Metal Man lighthouse, identical twin to Tramore’s (in County Waterford) own Metal Man. Pushing up the coast at Streedagh Beach in the village of Grange, you’ll find the De Cuellar Trail, where Spanish captain Francisco de Cuellar’s ship was wrecked during the 1588 Spanish Armada. To the east of Sligo, at the summit of Knocknarea, stands the 10 metre high Medb’s Cairn (also known as Misgaun Maeve in English, and Meascán Méabha in Irish), which was supposedly built for the Iron Age queen of Connacht 5,000 years ago. Lough Gill, headed by the monolithic Dooney Rock and containing within its waters the somewhat inaccessible Innisfree Island, crosses partially into County Leitrim. Parke’s Castle sits on its banks.

Unmissable Attractions County Sligo

1. Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery (Opening Times: Monday to Sunday from 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. in summer) Prices: Adults €3.00 / Senior Citizens and groups €2.00 / Children and students €1.00 / Family €8.00

2. The Yeats Memorial Building, developed by the Belfast Banking Company in 1895, is available for visitation by the general public. It is used primarily for various exhibitions and lectures on Irish culture, and is also a summer school

3. At Rosses Point in addition to the Waiting on Shore monument, you’ll find the Metal Man lighthouse, identical twin to Tramore’s (in County Waterford) own Metal Man

4. Pushing up the coast at Streedagh Beach in the village of Grange, you’ll find the De Cuellar Trail, where Spanish captain Francisco de Cuellar’s ship was wrecked during the 1588 Spanish Armada

Castle in County Sligo

Castle in County Sligo

5. To the east of Sligo, at the summit of Knocknarea, stands the 10 metre high Medb’s Cairn (also known as Misgaun Maeve in English, and Meascán Méabha in Irish), which was supposedly built for the Iron Age queen of Connacht 5000 years ago

6. Lough Gill, headed by the monolithic Dooney Rock and containing within its waters the somewhat inaccessible Innisfree Island, crosses partially into County Leitrim. Parke’s Castle sits on its banks

7. Sligo Library and County Museum (Opening Times: Tuesday to Saturday from 9.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. and 2.00 p.m. – 4.50 p.m. in summer / Tuesday to Saturday from 9.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. in winter)

8. The Model (Opening Times: Tuesday to Saturday from 10.00 a.m. – 5.30 p.m / Sunday from 12.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.) Prices vary from exhibit to exhibit

9. Sligo Abbey (Monday to Sunday from 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. in winter) Prices: Adults €3.00 / Senior citizens and groups €2.00 / Children and student €1.00 / Family €8.00

10. Parke’s Castle (Opening Times: Monday to Sunday from 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. in summer) Prices: Adults €3.00 / Senior Citizens and groups €2.00 / Children and students €1.00 / Family €8.00.

11. The grave of W.B.Yeats is located at the graveyard of St. Columba’s Church of Ireland.