Although Sligo is a city, having a charter and two cathedrals, it is locally, and
affectionately, known as Sligo Town.The name Sligo is thought to mean 'shelly place', although
some say that it might derive from 'Sli' meaning route. This was always an area abounding in
shellfish of all kinds, and bucket loads of shells were removed when foundations for the town's
buildings were laid. Equally, from earliest times Sligo was a strategic point in the North West, and
remains so today, so either root would be valid. Famine Memorial, Quay Street Car Park Our tour
of Sligo starts at the bottom of Quay St by the Garavogue River, once known as the Sligo River,
and always full of swans, often with their young in tow, still wearing their juvenile fawn plumage.
Here in the car park, stands a memorial commemorating both those who died during the famine
years which so devastated Sligo, culminating in the Great Famine of 1845, and those who
emigrated to escape. Many left from these Quays, including one ill-fated ship which sank just
outside Sligo Bay with the loss of all on board.
The chief towns in County Sligo are Sligo, Tubbercurry and Ballymote and Ballina. The top
ten most common surnames in County Sligo are as follows: Gallagher, Brennan, MacGowan,
Kelly, Gilmartin, Healy, Walsh, Hart, Feeney and MacDonagh.
As well as being one of the most beautiful counties in Ireland also has a rich ancient
heritage going back over 6000 years. Some of the highlights include Sligo Abbey, Carrowmore
Megalithic tombs, Creevykeel Court Cairn, Carrowkeel Megalithic Cemetery, Moygara Castle,
Ballymote Castle and Lissadell House.
The Sligo landscape also provided the inspiration for much of W.B Yeats' poetry, 1923
Nobel peace prize for literature winner, while his brother Jack, a world renowned painter, captured
the beauty of Sligo on canvas. William is buried in the grounds of Drumcliffe churchyard. His
grave is visited by thousands of tourists every year.
Famous Sligo People Michael Coleman, one of the most influential Irish traditional
musicians and Sir George Gabriel Stokes, the great mathematician were both born in Sligo. The
Movie actor Daniel Day Lewis and the famous singer Mary O'Hara also have Sligo Ancestry.
Emigration from Sligo According to the Census returns for County Sligo, a staggering
75,660 people emigrated from Sligo in the half century from 1851 to 1901. By comparison the
present population stands at about 60,000, a third of what it was in pre-famine years. As Sligo was
a major port town huge numbers of people from neighboring counties such as Leitrim, Roscommon
and parts of Mayo would have emigrated from the port of Sligo. The Great Famine Like the rest of
Ireland in general, Sligo suffered greatly when the potato crop failed. Particularly affected here as
elsewhere were the landless labourers, who were neither able to purchase food or pay for a passage
to the new world. Print a form to fill in for an initial search.
Described by many as Italian Renaissance, the foundation stone was laid by Sligo's Mayor
in 1865. It stands on the site of an earlier Cromwellian fort, one which during the conflicts of 1689
Patrick Sarsfied captured for the deposed King James II, and so strengthened that it was the last
western garrison to surrender when William and Mary finally defeated the Jacobites in 1690. The
Assembly Rooms in the City Hall were once the theatre in which the Yeats brothers would have
seen plays performed. Also in City Hall is the register of those on whom Sligo has conferred its
greatest honour - the Freedom of the City. Amongst others they include cardinals, bishops,
professors, and also Countess Markievicz, honoured in 1917. At the top of Quay St is Henry Lyons
department store, one of the best traditional Irish shop fronts in Sligo.
Wine Street, named for the wine vaults once maintained close to this corner, with its shops
and new Gaity cinema complex. Opposite this is the Methodist Chuch built cl830, replacing the
earlier Wesleyan Chapel on Bridge St. dating from 1775 (around which time John Wesley himself
visited Sligo regularly). On the right hand side of the street is The Sligo Champion' office, Sligo's
newspaper founded in 1836 and still published weekly. The Editor, in his first ever Leader page
declared that the newspaper would not be used as a 'vehicle for slander'! At the end of Wine St,
where doctors, dentists and lawyers have their practices in what were once elegant town houses, on
the corner with Adelaide St. stands a large house, premises of McCanny & Co Solicitors. This was
the headquarters of Sligo's largest shipping enterprise in the late 1800's, where Yeats' Grandfather
Pollexfen trained his telescope on his ships entering and leaving Sligo from the glassed-in crow's
nest atop the building John Street.
The Two Cathedrals
The Church of Ireland Cathedral of St John the Baptist, designed in 1730 by the German
architect Cassels who also designed Leinster House. It was refurbished in 1812 and 1883. Here
Yeats' mother married John Yeats, a young barrister, in Sept. 1863. A brass memorial to her is on
the wall near the pulpit. Yeats' grandfather Pollexfen supervised the building of his own tomb in the
churchyard. The Cathedral has other literary associations, notably Bram Stoker. His Mother, was
born Charlotte Townley in Sligo Town. She witnessed the horrors of the cholera epidemic in 1832.
Perhaps the tales in her memoirs sparked her son's imagination and led to the birth of' Dracula'!
Next to St John's is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, built in
1874 when Laurence Gillooley was Bishop. Sligo is part of the Diocese of Elphin whose first
Bishop, Saint Asicus was consecrated by St Patrick himself, and the Cathedral has a replica of the
Saint discovered in a London bric-a-brac shop! Described as Renaissance Romanesque, Sean
0’Faolain humorously described it as 'Hiberno-Romanesque' - its particular style being typical of so
many churches built in the years following Catholic Emancipation. Over the road from the
Cathedral is the Gillooley Memorial Hall which has a stage, a gallery and a large auditorium. On
the hill opposite is the splendid former Bishop's Palace
Hawkswell Theatre & Tourist Office. The Theatre was named after a play by Yeats, the
name coming originally from Tubber Scanavin,the Hawk's Well near Coolaney. The North West
Tourist Office next door has a bureau de change, visitor information, accommodation advice, guide
books, maps and a souvenir shop. The Genealogical Service Offices are also here.
Presbyterian Church, The Friary in Church St. is the Presbyterian Church, built in 1828. At
the old Holy Cross Dominican Church a small courtyard is situated and on the left the apse
contains original stained glass of. Nearby is the new church known locally as The Friary, and the
High St. Old Market St. where lived Peter O'Connor who advertised ships sailing from Sligo to
America in 1846, the start of the Big Exodus.
Teeling St, named for the 24 year old hero of Carricknagat Battle at Collooney in 1798.
Aide-de-camp to General Humbert, after the French surrender, Bartholomew Teeling was handed
over to the English during an exchange of officers, after which he was court-martialled and
publicly hanged like a criminal outside Arbour Hill Prison, wearing his French uniform.
Designed by Rawson Carroll who also built Classiebawn Castle at Mullaghmore, this
striking building was erected in 1878, and has been recently renovated. Opposite is the brass plaque
of 'Argue and Phibbs', a remarkably named firm of lawyers who once practiced there!
The Sligo County Prison (not open to the public) was officially closed in June 1956, after
serving as a prison here since 1818, although there were a number of earlier prisons and
correctional institutes in various locations around Sligo Town. The first prison and session house
was built in Sligo in the late 17th century on the site of the present courthouse, though by 1766 this
had been demolished and replaced by similar structures at Correction Street (now known as High
Street) and Back Lane (now known as West Gardens). Some years later a House of Correction was
built behind the Police Barrack on the Albert Line (now called the Garda Barracks on Pearce
Construction of the County Gaol we are visiting today started in 1818, with completion in
1823. The County Gaol was built to the shape of a polygon with the Govenors house located in the
centre, and cost £30,000 or 38,090 Euro, the contractor for the project was Mr John Lynn.The
County Gaol, which was built to hold 200 inmates, had its own hospital wing, surgery, dispensary,
cookhouse,furnace,clothing store and a school all housed within its walls. In 1879 gas was
introduced into the gaol, enabling the cells to be heated by hot water pipes, earning it the
occasional name of the Cranmore Hotel.
The inmates diet consisted of potatoes and Indian meal bread. Hard labour for male
prisoners was enforced by the Treadmill, a crude form of punishment designed by a Mr Cubitt of
Ipswich in 1817 and housed in the execution block when it was opened in 1823. The Treadmill was
used to pump water for the prisoners sanitation and for other purposes.Hard labour for the male
prisoners also included picking oakum, breaking stones and chopping wood. Industrial Labour
within the prison included shoemaking, tailoring, tinsmith work, carpentry, glazing, painting and
gardening. Female prisoners were employed at sewing, washing and knitting. The last public
hanging in Sligo took place at Sligo Gaol shortly after 8am on the morning of Monday 19th August
1861, when Mathew Phibbs, aged 26 with an address at Market Street in Ballymote, County Sligo
was hanged in front of the County Gaol for the murders of William Callaghan aged 91 and his wife
Fanny aged 62 and a young servant girl Anne Mooney on January 8th 1861.
In the 20th century the prison was completely self-sufficient. Producing its own vegetables,
which was sold on to Sligo townsfolk on Saturday mornings, from stalls manned by the prison
inmates themselves. However the prison wardens handled the money on the stalls, though it wasn't
unknown for a prison warden to turn a blind eye to a few woodbines being handed to the prisoners
by the townsfolk. The prison finally closed in June 1956 due to the ever-falling crime rate. Today
the prison and its grounds are used for storage purposes by Sligo County Council.
Sligo Castle was built in a commanding position on the corner of Teeling Street and Abbey
Street, one of the main crossing points of old. If you look up on the wall of Foley's public house
you will see a painting of what the old Sligo Castle may have looked like along with a brief history.
A castle was built here in 1245 and a Dominican friary was founded in 1295. In 1310 a new castle
was built and a new town laid out by Richard III de Burgo, the Red Earl of Ulster. This castle was
destroyed in 1315 by the O'Donnells. The O'Connor's in Sligo then had effective control of the
town throughout the 14th century. In the 15th and 16th centuries the town's prosperity owed much
to the proximity of the herring shoals.
The later war's of the 16th century, principally between the O'Neills and the O'Donnells
against Queen Elizabeth I, devastated the town. However, after 1603 and the end of the war's the
settlement began to prosper once again. In 1641 the town and friary were sacked by the
Parliamentarian, Sir Frederick Hamilton. In 1645 the town was captured by the Cromwellian - Sir
Charles Coote II. In 1689 it was seized by Williamite rebels under Lord Kingston, but was retaken
by Patrick Sarsfield for King James. Continue towards our next point of interest by turning right
and then walking along Castle Street, the same direction as the traffic, for 100 metres or so, until
you reach a statue in the middle of the road, The Lady Erin Monument.
This Dominican Abbey, the only medieval building left standing in Sligo, was founded by
the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, Maurice Fitzgerald in 1253, who already had a castle in Castle
St., no trace of which remains. Accidentally destroyed by fire in 1414, it was rebuilt in its present
form. When Sir Frederick Hamilton's soldiers sacked Sligo in 1642, killing, pillaging and burning,
the Abbey was also torched and everything valuable in it destroyed, including ornaments,
vestments and items which the townspeople had brought to the friars for safekeeping. (5 of his
cavalry, on their way back to Manorhamilton after this raid, galloped to their deaths over the cliffs
above Glencar.) Still intact amongst the ruins of the Abbey are the High Altar, and the pulpit
projecting from one of the cloister walls. Take time to visit the Abbey, and see the remains of this
beautiful building in detail. Castle Street - 0*Connell Street Returning along Abbey St, cross into
Castle St,the start of the main shopping centre. Here on the left is Mary's of Sligo, once home of
Edward Doherty, who led the chase after John Wilkes Booth, President Lincoln's assassin.
Almost next door is 'Morgan', birth place of Shane Filan from the band Westlife. Further on
Lady Erin, the memorial to the Uprisings of 1798, stands in the middle of the road at the foot of
Market St. At the end, R into O'Connell Street, Sligo's main thoroughfare, once called Knox Street.
On the left, Hargadon's pub interior was used as the model for a set at The Abbey Theatre, Dublin
as a classic Irish pub. Beyond, also on the left, is Mullaney's, another beautiful traditional shop
front. At the far end of the street stands the red brick Post Office.
Lough Gill Brewery
During the 1820's Sligo Town's brewing and distilling industries were thriving, with no less
than five different breweries and distilleries operating from within Sligo Town. John Smith's
brewery produced ales, beer and porter from premises on Buckley's Ford which was situated near
to Doorly Park on the Riverside. Anderson & Co operated from a premises in Ratcliffe Street (now
known as Gratten Street) Richard Anderson Junior (a member of the extended family as the owner's
of the above brewery) operated from premises at Farmhill in the townland of Rathedmond, though
the business was transferred to 14 Knox's Street (now known as O'Connell Street) in 1839.
Martin Madden & Co operated The Sligo Distillery from premises in Ratcliffe St. now
Gratten St. And Cochran and Davey brewed from a premises in Bridge St. The Lough Gill Brewery
the largest brewery in Sligo, operated as a joint venture between Vernon Davy's, a brewer by
profession of Rosehill House, Sligo. And John Cochran, eldest son of James Cochran.The brewery
consisted of a number of tall buildings built from limestone which stood on approximately one acre
of land, which extended from The Mall to what was known as The Meat Shambles, now known as
Kempten Parade. After a period of 10 years however, The Lough Gill Brewery had ceased
production and closed down after Vernon Davy's was declared bankrupt. The brewery complex was
acquired some years later by Messrs Anderson & Company, who enlarged and modernised the
brewery, moving their existing brewery from Ratcliffe St. into the new premises and quickly
establishing themselves as "One of the most complete establishments of its kind to be found in any
provincial centre", their sales quickly outdistanced their local rivals, eventually putting the
breweries of Messrs Madden and Richard Anderson out of business. The Lough Gill Brewery was
passed down from father to son, however, the successor was inexperienced in the brewing business
and failed to capitalise on his inheritance, with the result that the brewery closed some years later
after the Bank of Ireland had taken legal proceedings to recoup debts of £2,500.
Like a phoenix from the ashes, The Lough Gill Brewery opened up for business once again
in 1893, this time under the ownership of Edward Foley, a local wine and spirit merchant. The new
owner quickly put the brewery back into full production, providing much needed employment and
by the turn of the century, The Lough Gill Brewery was the most extensive outside of Dublin and
Cork, with premises covering 2 acres and production in excess of 60 barrels a day. However, in the
years before the First World War, The Lough Gill Brewery was facing growing competition from
the products of Messrs Arthur Guinness in Dublin, eventually forcing The Lough Gill Brewery out
of business, though Messrs Foley did continue to manufacture minerals and to retail bottled ales
and beers right up until the mid 1960's Today Sligo has no brewing or distilling industry and the
only reminder we have is the building which was once the The Lough Gill Brewery is now
occupied by The Rehabilitation Institute on Kempten Parade, just off Bridge Street.
he The Garavogue River
The name Garavogue comes from the Irish "Garbh Og" meaning "Young Rough".) Is
possibly the shortest river in Ireland. On the far bank lies the lovely old Georgian Rectory of Calry
Church and to the right, Sligo Grammar School, a leading school (now co-educational) which has
occupied these grounds since 1752, although the establishment itself is much older. A boarding and
day school, it is rightly proud of its academic, sporting and other achievements, with the greater
proportion of its leavers going on to third level education. Rugby-mad, in 2003 the school won both
the Senior and Junior Connaught Cups for that sport. The footbridge leads left onto The Mall
beside Calry Church, which serves the School as well as its own Parish. Opposite is the old
Masonic Lodge, and next door The Model Arts & Niland Gallery. Built in 1859 and dynamically
reworked in 2000, the gallery houses works byjackYeats (who professed that he never painted a
picture without 'putting a thought of Sligo in rt'), and 70 other Irish painters, exhibitions by
contemporary artists, studios and a cafe and bookshop. There is an ancient manuscript which states
that Saint Patrick met two fishermen here and asked them for a salmon, the fishermen explained
that there were no salmon here in the winter months, however they cast their nets into the river and
to their surprise found a large salmon from their nets, which they presented to Saint Patrick. In
return Saint Patrick is said to have blessed the river and imparted to it the privilege of yielding
salmon all the year round.
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939),
Irish poet, dramatist and prose writer, one of the greatest English-language poets of the 20th century.
Yeats received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. William Butler Yeats was born on June 13, 1865 in Dublin.
His father was a lawyer turned Pre-Raphaelite painter. In 1867 the family followed him to London and settled in
Bedford Park. In 1881 they returned to Dublin, where Yeats studied at the Metropolitan School of Art.
Reincarnation, communication with the dead, mediums, supernatural systems and Oriental mysticism fascinated
Yeats through his life. In 1886 Yeats formed the Dublin Lodge of the Hermetic Society.
As a writer Yeats made his debut in 1885, when he published his first poems in The Dublin University
Review. In 1887 the family returned to Bedford Park, and Yeats devoted himself to writing. He visited Mme
Blavatsky, the famous occultist, and joined the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society, but was later asked
to resign. In 1889 Yeats met his great love, Maud Gonne (1866-1953), an actress and Irish revolutionary who
became a major landmark in his life and imagination. However, she married in 1903 Major John MacBride, and
this episode inspired Yeats's poem "No Second Troy".
Yeats was interested in folktales as a part of an exploration
of national heritage and for the revival of Celtic identity. His study with George Russell and Douglas Hyde of
Irish legends and tales was published in 1888 under the title Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry. Yeats
assembled for children a less detailed version, Irish Fairy Tales, which appeared in 1892. The Wanderings Of
Oisin And Other Poems (1889), took its subject from Irish mythology.
In 1896 Yeats returned to live permanently in his home country. He reformed the Irish Literary Society,
and then the National Literary Society in Dublin, which aimed to promote the New Irish Library. In 1897 he met
Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory, with whom he founded the Irish Literary Theatre. Yeats worked as a director of
the theatre to the end of his life, writing several plays for it. His most famous dramas were Cathleen Ni Houlihan
(1902) and The Land Of Heart's Desire (1894).
In early 1917 Yeats bought Thoor Ballyle, a derelict Norman stone tower near Coole Park. After restoring
it, the tower became his summer home and a central symbol in his later poetry. In 1917 he married Georgie
Hyde-Lee. During their honeymoon Yeats's wife demonstrated her gift for automatic writing. Their collaborative
notebooks formed the basis of A Vision (1925), a book of marriage therapy spiced with occultism.
In 1932 Yeats founded the Irish Academy of Letters and in 1933 he was briefly involved with the fascist
Blueshirts in Dublin. In his final years Yeats worked on the last version of A Vision, which attempted to present a
theory of the variation of human personality, and published The Oxford Book Of Verse (1936) and New Poems
(1938). Yeats died on January 28, 1939 at the Hôtel Idéal Séjour, in Menton, France.
Sligo is the main city in the Northwest of Ireland and the 12th largest overall.
Like most Irish towns, the streets in the centre of town are very narrow and were
never designed for the high demands of today's automobile traffic. It was only in the
late 1960's that the town adopted a one way street system. In the late 1980's the
"third bridge" across the Garavogue River was finished, completing a bypass of the
town's centre. The addition has done little to relieve the town's congestion problem
and another bridge is in the works. An additional issue is to provide adequate
parking for the influx of visitors as Sligo becomes the main regional shopping
centre for the Northwest.
County Sligo is situated on the West coast of Ireland and is within
the province of Connaught. Sligo is widely regarded as one of Ireland's
most beautiful counties and it's breathtaking mountain views, crystal
clear lakes and long sandy beaches are famous the world over.
Places of Interest Around Sligo
Sligo, Gaol, Courthouse, Castle & Abbey
The Two Cathedrals
Lough Gill Brewery
Sligo Bridge & Crest
County Museum & Library
W B Yeats
Beautiful & Interesting Places Along the Lough Shoreline
W. B Yeats Pages
The county of Sligo is also known as Yeats County. The famous poet William Butler Yeats is
buried at the Drumcliffe Churchyard, under the loaf-shaped Benbulben Mountain. The place is also
considered to be the main source of inspiration by the poet, because it has beautiful sceneries and long
Sligo(from the Irish Sligeach meaning "shelly place") is a county in the north east of Ireland and
is located in the west coast province of Connacht, Sligo actually translates to "the place of shells," as
the prehistoric people of the town is known for their huge appetite for the crustacean shellfish.
Archaeologists and historians found the remains of shellfish buried all over Sligo. It is the largest town
in the northwest of Ireland, and its history can be traced back to as far as 6,000 years ago.
Sligo is popular for its rich Irish history, heritage, folklore, and mythology. Almost every stone
and hill in the county has its own and unique story to tell.
The magnificent mountains, winding rivers, and uneven coastline make Sligo popular among
tourists and backpackers. As a striking contrast to the rugged uplands and terrains of the county, the
lakes around Sligo are well-known for their very still waters and marshlands. The summit of
Knocknarae is known for its imposing Neolithic cairn and is also identified by the locals as Queen
Maeve's grave. In neighbouring Carrowmore, visitors will find the largest megalithic cemetery in
The county's scenic coast has some excellent surfing beaches like Strandhill, Rosses Point, and
Enniscrone. The Lissadell House is a good family attraction with a very beautiful beach nearby. It is
once the home of Countess Markievicz. Golf courses are also found in the county. Other activities for
tourists include horse riding, cycling, fishing, and other water sports.
The poet and Nobel laureate William Butler Yeats spent much of his childhood in northern Sligo
and the county inspired much of his poetry. Yeats said, "the place that has really influenced my life
most is Sligo" and he is buried in North the north of the county, "Under Ben Bulben", in Drumcliffe.
County Sligo has a rich and long history of traditional music. The county has several traditional music
festivals, including the Queen Maeve International Summer School, a traditional Irish Music summer
school of music and dance, held annually in August in Sligo Town.
CARROWMORE MEGALITHIC CEMETERY -
4Km from Sligo is the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs
in Ireland and is also among the country's oldest. The
Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery has over 60 tombs
located by archaeologists - the oldest pre-date Newgrange
by some 700 years. The cemetery forms part of a huge
complex of Stone Age remains connecting Carrowkeel in
South Sligo to the Ox Mountains, to the Cuil Irra
Peninsula. Queen Maeve's tomb dominates the skyline of
the peninsula from the crest of Knocknarea Mountain.A
restored cottage houses a small exhibition relating to the
site. The majority of tombs are a mixture of small passage-tombs
where cremated remains were placed (as a holding place before they passed into the
life). Primitive people made a central mound with granite boulders from the area. These were
topped by a balanced cap rock, which formed a sort of “table” on top. These heavy rocks must have
required much maneuvering to place atop the five or six smaller, vertical rocks used for support.
Sometimes smaller rocks were crudely inserted to maintain balance.
CULKIN'S EMIGRATION MUSEUM - DROMORE WEST
Cannaghanally, Dromore West, relives a poignant era when emigration was the only hope for a better
life and when families were scattered all over the world. The museum brings back to life this landmark,
in a purpose built modern museum, with a host of fascinating artefacts and features, such as the
original shop itself, now restored and housed within the building.
Drumcliffe is the final resting place of W. B. Yeats, one of Ireland's greatest writers. Nestled below
Benbulben Mountain it is a picturesque village. St Colmcille founded a monastery in the 6th Century.
Although the monastery seems to have been well known from the 9-16th century, the only remains
today are two High Crosses and the stump of a round tower. The village is shown on Ptolemy's map of
Ireland as Nagnata and was once a thriving town.
SLIGO ABBEY - ABBEY STREET, SLIGO TOWN - SLIGO
Known locally as the Abbey, this Dominican Friary was founded in the mid-13th century by
Maurice FitzGerald, grandfather of the 1st Earl of Kildare. It was founded in 1252 by Maurice
Fitzgerald, He also built a Castle at Sligo, which is believed to
have stood at the east end of the present Castle Street. The
Abbey was accidentally destroyed by fire in 1414 and
subsequently rebuilt. Its present ruinous condition dates from
the sack of Sligo in 1641. The site contains a great wealth of
carvings including Gothic and Renaissance tomb sculpture,
well preserved cloisters and the only sculptured 15th century
high altar to survive in any Irish monastic church. This
enigmatic Friary will inspire and enlighten its visitors. Access
to site is by stone stairway. Sligo Abbey, a ruined abbey in
Sligo, Ireland, (officially called the Dominican Friary of Sligo)
was originally built in 1253 by the order of Maurice Fitzgerald,
the Baron of
Offaly. It was destroyed in 1414 by a fire, ravaged during the Tyrone War in 1595 and once more in
1641 during the Ulster uprising. The friars moved out in the 18th c but Lord Palmerston restored the
Abbey in the 1850s Sligo Abbey, or more correctly the Dominican Friary, is the only building which
survives from the town's medieval past. The ruins consist of a nave and choir with central tower. On
the south side of the choir are eight deeply-splayed windows of thirteenth-century workmanship.
Beneath the beautiful fifteenth-century east window is the high altar, also fifteenth-century; it is the
only sculptured example to survive in any Irish monastic church. The O'Conor Sligo monument of
1624, on the south wall, is considered to be of fully developed Renaissance style. Its kneeling figures
depict Sir Donogh O'Conor Sligo and his wife Lady Elinor Butler, daughter of Edmond, 1st Baron
Dunboyne, and widow of Gerald, 14th Earl of Desmond who was killed in 1583. The nave retains three
arches on the south side and the north wall, in which is the elaborate altar-tomb (1616) of the O'Creans.
The tower supported by lofty arches and groined roof should be noted. The stone rood-screen,
immediately west of the tower, is an interesting and uncoir-non feature of the church. The cloisters, on
the north side of the nave are almost perfect on three sides, in each of which are eighteen arches of
beautiful workmanship, and elaborately ornamented pillars. On the north side of the cloister, on the
upper floor, can be seen the corbel which supported a small oriel window, lighting the reader's desk in
the refectory. The south transept, chapter house and domestic buildings are greatly dilapidated.
In 1641 both town and Friary were sacked by Sir Frederick Hamilton and Puritan troopers. It is
believed that the friars were all killed, but, before the century was out their successors were back in the
town. The Dominicans' long association with Sligo has continued up to the present day. During the
eighteenth century they were often in hiding, and it was not until the early years of the nineteenth
century that it was possible for them to build a small church, discreetly hidden behind the Pound Street
houses. The ruin of this little building is still to be seen. Towards the end of the last century, the Order
built the present Holy Cross Church in High Street. As might be expected, the events of 1641 became
the subject of the legend-makers, and Yeats made it the theme of his story 'The Curse of the Fires and
of the Shadows':
CARROWMORE MEGALITHIC CEMETERY - SLIGO
CULKIN'S EMIGRATION MUSEUM - DROMORE WEST
DRUMCLIFFE VILLAGE - DRUMCLIFFE
LISADELL HOUSE - DRUMCLIFFE
SLIGO ABBEY - ABBEY STREET,
LISADELL HOUSE - DRUMCLIFFE
The Gore Booths have lived near Drumcliffe since the time of Elizabeth I and the present house, built by
Sir Robert Gore Booth in 1830s is still their home. Lisadell holds the legacy of generations of colourful Gore
Booths including pictures and artefacts collected by Sir Robert on the Grand Tour. Lisadell is a fine but austere
example of Greek Revival architecture and as a lot of the house was last refurbished 100 years ago visitors can
expect an atmosphere of faded grandeur. Lissadell House is a neo-classical Greek revivalist style country house,
located in County Sligo, Ireland.
The house was built in the 1830s for Sir Robert Gore-Booth, 4th Baronet MP by London architect Francis
Goodwin. In 1876, Sir Robert left the house and surrounding estate to his son, Sir Henry Gore-Booth, 5th Baronet.
In 2003, the house was put up for sale by the then owner, Sir Josslyn Gore-Booth (a grand-nephew of the original
Josslyn Gore-Booth), for €3 million. The house was eventually sold to a private couple, Edward Walsh and
Constance Cassidy. The new owners, independent of any monetary assistance from the State, have since restored
the house and gardens to their original grandeur and continued public access to the house, while limiting public
rights of way.
The County Museum and Library
The street of banks and business, Stephen St is also home to The Museum and Library, housed in the old
Congregational Church and its Manse, built in 1851. The Yeats Memorial Museum, containing different editions
of the poet's works and other letters and written material concerning him, opened here in 1958, its inspiration
coming from Nora Niland, Librarian at the time. The Lending Library is also here, with the reference library on
nearby Bridge St. Yeats Statue Further along, outside the Ulster Bank, is a memorial to the poet WB Yeats. This
building was 'bombed to ruins' during the Civil War, but was rebuilt. When receiving the Nobel Prize for
Literature from the King of Sweden in 1924, Yeats commented that the Stockholm Royal Palace reminded him of
the Ulster Bank in Sligo. In 1989, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death, the townspeople erected this
statue, by artist Rowan Gillespie, of the poet 'wrapt in his words', in this, the obvious place. Around the corner, in
Holborn St another very different famous figure is remembered. This was the home of Spike Milligan! Down
Markievicz Road, named in memory of Constance Gore-Booth, later Countess Markievicz, who was a leading
figure in the Easter Risings of 1916 and was later elected to the English Parliament, we find Connolly's Pub, a !
pub which feels as if time has passed it by - a drop of old Ireland.
Formerly known as the Victoria Bridge but renamed for the first President of Ireland, Douglas Hyde. Yeats
Building The Yeats Building, red-bricked with a timbered upper storey stands on the corner of the bridge. Once
the Royal Bank, it was presented to the Yeats Society by the AlB in 1973. Today it is the headquarters of the Yeats
International Summer School and houses the Yeats Society Library, The Sligo Art Gallery and a photographic
collection ofYeats and his family. Opposite, across the river, is Barton Smith's, originally founded in 1788 and still
selling everything for the 'hunting, shooting, fishing' enthusiast.
Rockwood Parade this new river-side walk with its shops and cafes, where the swans drift on the river.
Across the footbridge, in the Stephen Street car park is a monument to a former Govenor of Chile and Viceroy of
Peru, Ambrose O'Higgins, a native of Sligo. It also commemorates his son Bernardo, the first President of Chile.
At the end of the Parade either turn left onto Bridge Street, rejoining the commentary at the County Museum and
Library Stephen Street, or for a fuller tour, cross onto JFK Parade. JFK Parade This riverside street, renamed after
the assassination of that American President was formerly Corcoran's Mall, named for the developer Thomas
Corcoran who, around 1800, built extensively here and in Thomas St, demolishing the north and west sides of
Sligo Abbey to utilize the stone - a scandalous concept today. His relative, General Corcoran, a hero of the
American Civil War, and another free thinker, was court-martialled for refusing to parade his troops before the
Prince of Wales. At the end of the Parade the new Riverside Hotel was the site of the former Martin Distillery,
once managed by Andrew Jameson, son of the famous Dublin distilling family. Sligo Distillery's 'water of life'
was a favourite with many, but most notably King George III. The Mall Cross'
This crest was adopted by Sligo County Council in 1980. The design on the black shield,
which shows an open book on which there is a Celtic Cross and a red rose, represents
collectively the literary and cultural history of Sligo. These refer to such early works as the
Books of Ballymote and Lecan, while the rose was a significant theme in the poetry of
W.B.Yeats. The escallop shells sprinkled on the shield refer to the origin of the word Sligeach -
- "a place abounding in shells". The boar's head refers to the "wild boar of Benbulben" in the
Diarmuid and Gráinne myth. The colour scheme of the crest incorporates the Sligo GAA
colours of black and white.
The present Borough Council of Sligo coat of arms, which is based on a much older one,
was formally adopted in 1953 by the Corporation. A tower on the left represents the ruined
tower of Sligo Abbey; the tree is symbolic of the dense woodland formerly in the area in which
the town now stands; the hare symbolizes the abundant natural wildlife found in local
brushwood, and the escallop shells come from the Irish word Sligeach, which means "place
abounding in shells". A shell appears close to the hind leg of the hare in the crest. The colours
used are blue, gold and green. Hazelwood, on the northern shore of Lough Gill, attracts
thousands of visitors each year.
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© 2013 PJAllen Copyright. All Rights Reserved Paul J Allen 2013