The courthouse in Sligo is a very impressive building indeed. The Dublin architect J. Rawson Carroll designed the building which opened in 1876. Another of his well known works was Classiebawn Castle at Mullaghmore, the holiday home of the late Lord Mountbatten who was tragically murdered in the nearby bay.
A large part of the Courthouse was built from stone brought from Mount Charles in County Donegal north of Sligo. In the latter years of the 20th century the building underwent a 7.3 million euro renovation which is thought to be the biggest reno to date in the court system of Ireland.
The Courthouse stands on the site of the old courthouse and gaol and the outline of some of the cells from that gaol were built into the new Courthouse and can still be seen today.
Sligo is a small town in County Sligo in Eire. It has quaint brightly painted shops and houses and it is great for a afternoon stroll around the shops.
The pace of life in Sligo and Eire in general is slower and more calm than the UK. Bookshops, little café’s and boutiques are the main types of shopping, although we did see a small Tesco.
There is a wonderful river walk in Sligo Town which runs right along the Garavogue River.
Plenty to see and plenty of shops and cafes as well.
The River Garavogue is a fascinating river which runs very quickly and roughly in some parts which adds to its attraction.
It's a great part of any walk around Sligo Town as are the historical buildings and shops.
Sligo's favourite son was of course, the poet William Butler Yeats who is thought to be buried in the Graveyard at Drumcliff just north of Sligo Town.
You can visit the Yeats Centre in Sligo Town and become very informed about the man, his life and his work.
More info here:
The centre also houses a wonderful little cafe where you can stop for tea/coffee and cake.
Blink and you'll miss it - that's Drumcliff, Co. Sligo. Only be sure you don't blink before you pull into the carpark at the Church of Ireland and have a look around. You won't be sorry that you did.
Here is the resting place of the iconic William Butler Yeats, though it is widely believed that he is in actual fact, interred somewhere in the North of France. Who knows? Have your photo taken with him anyway.
An interesting point that should be mentioned is that the two beautiful bronze swans which adorn the main door of the church were a gift from the Yeats Society of Western Australia. The Celtic Cross in the churchyard dates back to the eighth century.
Found in the small village of Gurteen (my ancestral neck of the woods) this traditional music centre is a homage to the Sligo musician Michael Coleman.
The centre is an important resource for the maintenance of traditional methods of music making, especially those originating in Sligo itself. The centre is in a very new and trendy building at the far end of town and while there you can see the visitor centre, shop and music school if youare a musician of traditional Irish instruments there are often sessions and lessons. The centre has a replica of Michael Colemans house too.
The Holy Well is one of the most peaceful places that I have ever had the privilege to visit. I go there every time I visit Ireland. Situated at the South West corner of Lough Gil in Co. Sligo, the site was used by Catholics during the penal times when they were not allowed by law to practise their faith. It is certainly not on the tourist path in Ireland, but if you are on a driving tour in the area, I can certainly recommend that you visit. Of special interest to Catholics of course, it has a beautiful stone altar and markers all around the site for the praying of the rosary.
Glencar Falls can be found on the Sligo/Leitrim border about 8 miles north of Sligo Town. This is a beautiful spot, suitable for a picnic and the viewing point has wooden stairs which enables the visitor to climb up right beside the falls. It is a wonderfully green, wooded area and is the very place that W B Yeats wrote about in "The Stolen Child":
"Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,.
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,"
The falls flow into Glencar Lough at this point. This place is not to be missed when visiting the Sligo area.
Lough Gill is so very beautiful that it was the subject of many a poem by William Butler Yeats, not the least of which was his famous "Isle of Innisfree." He wrote the poem when he felt homesick for Ireland and imagined the sound of the water at Innisfree. Also on the banks of Lough Gill you can climb Dooney Rock where you can see it all.
The Garavogue River has Loch Gill as its last stop before spilling out into the waters of Sligo Bay. It is surrounded on all sides by hills and mountains, and is a favourite fishing ground and makes a wonderful day's excursion in a row boat, which one can rent nearby.
To see the Lough at its very best, my recommendation is that you drive around it late in the day. It is the most beautiful sight to see at twilight.
The Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery is different from Stonehenge. It's actually a burial ground of tombs and among the Ireland's oldest dating back to the fifth and early fourth millennium BC (per the archeological digs in the area). There are over 60 tombs that have been located. Here also are some restored cottage houses and a small exhibit that tells you about the site. It takes about an hour to walk about the grounds which is uneven and much of it's uphill.
When we were there climbing against the wind and I was trying to keep my hair from flying in my mouth, I kept thinking how much fun it would be to dig one of these mounds up to see if there are bones in them, maybe someone has?.
See the Website below for more information.
This is one of three sculptures commissioned by the Sligo Famine Commemoration Committee to honor the victims of the Irish Potato Famine (1845–1849), Over 30,000 people emigrated through the port of Sligo. The plaque reads "Letter to America, January 2, 1850" - tells one family's sad story which can be read in its entirety in my traveloge.
Sligo was one of the main ports of emigration on the western coast and it became known as the embarkation point for the 'coffin ships', as the poorest of the poor walked here and sailed from this town. Many thousands of others walked from Sligo to Dublin, to depart from the River Liffey
There is no record of how many died on that 140 mile-walk. It was claimed that Sligo's own death rate was not as high as the other devastated counties of the West and the South at the time and it is reported that some of the landlords of this county were fair-minded and caring people.
Neither of us were aware of the Childrens' Famine Memorial in Sligo before we arrived. Our taxi driver asked if we wanted to see it. Since both Kathy's and my ancestors were from this area, we have an interest in the victims of the famine.
This memorial isn't tall or spectacular in any way and not professionally done - this seems to make it even more important and touching. It's hidden away in the bushes and trees with only the iron tree that marks its location.
I've not been able to find and reference to it on the Internet, if anyone has any information regarding this memorial I would be very interested.
The Arigna Mining Experience is you guessed it, a trip into a coal mine.
The Arigna was a working mine for 400 years and last working coal mine in Ireland until it closed in 1990. The mine sits above the most picturesque countryside and lake; the breathtaking scenery is worth a visit.
On the narrated tour you see the terrible working conditions of the miners The miner lays in a cramped workspace with water dripping on him all day and as there is no room for him to sit up he must roll from side-to-side as he’s chipping away at the coal. After he’s chipped enough coal, he then pushes it out into the main tunnel where it’s loaded onto coal cars. It seems nearly impossible when you’re actually see the size of the coal cars and are informed he must fill 21 of them on his eight to ten hour shift.
Not only grown men worked under these conditions but children were put to work here as soon as they were able as the family needed the income. Before you enter the mine, there are exhibits that take you through the history of the mine and of these enduring people.
Be prepared for a rather scary ending on the tour.
This particular coal mine may have been one my late ancestors worked in as they were coal diggers from this part of Ireland.
Since there were no organized tours of the Sligo area, we hired a driver at the local tourist office to drive us to the various places we wanted to see.
This bird of prey and owl sanctuary is near the town of Ballymote. It is a huge research centre that specialises in these particular types of bird and a small part of the site is open to the public - it is here that visitors get to watch eagles flying. There is a children's pet zoo also on the site for the little ones who may not be as interested in the larger birds, which can be a bit scary. It is a cheap day out (about £7) and the income from the site goes into more research about the birds.
This is really a place to isit if you are interested in the heritage of the rural communities that make up Sligo, the focus is on traditional skills and farming.
There are mant things to see if you visit including a super museum about the history of Rverstown and the agricultural history of the area, replica cottages and farming equipment a working forge, occassional exhibitions and a craft shop selling good local produce and craft goods (like knitwear).
The Folkpark is well signed when you head south on the N4 and is relatively inexpensive - 6 euros per adult.
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