A Tourist's Guide to Sligo
County Sligo is situated on the Atlantic coast in the north west of Ireland, it is renowned for its unspoilt scenic landscapes with approximately 110 miles of coastline.
Sligo Town, capital of the Northwest region, is situated on the Garavogue River between Lough Gill and the Atlantic coast. It is a major growth centre and the largest town in the North West with a population of over 20,000 people, swelling to a daytime population of 42,000. Sligo is a thriving tourist, commercial, administrative and educational regional centre. Its name literally translates as 'the place of shells' - this allegedly derives from the fact that the inhabitants of yore had a staple diet of shellfish and remains of those shells are to be found buried in the grounds thereabout.
Sligo is serviced by a number of national primary routes including the N17 to Galway (85 miles) and N4 to Dublin (135 miles).
Sligo has a diverse landscape from majestic mountains such as Benbulben, Knocknarea and the Ox Mountains to sandy beaches internationally renowned for their fantastic surf, to lush woodland and glistening lakes. It's most famous landmark is the flat topped Benbulben Mountain which dominates the skyline across the north of Sligo, watching over the traveller as they make their way north along the coastline through the famous seaside town of Mullaghmore, exiting Sligo into the hills of Donegal.
Sligo, land of heart's desire, as written by the poet WB Yeats, who yearned for the serenity and peace of Lough Gill and its Isle of Innisfree and the enchanting Slish Wood close to Dooney where the fiddler of yore entertained the merry Sligo is host to the internationally acclaimed Yeats Summer and Winter schools. The Regional Arts Centre in Sligo houses a collection of his brother, Jack B Yeats paintings.
Steeped in history from Europe's oldest Stone Age cemeteries at Carrowmore to Queen Maeve's grave at the top of Knocknarea mountain, Sligo town is now a lively cosmopolitan town with continental style bistros along the Garavogue River which flows through the town.
Easy accessibility via airport, road and rail make Sligo an attractive location for industry, from cutting edge IT to Pharmaceutecal Companies. The high cabilbre of graduate from the local Institute of Technology and excellent training institutions playing no small part in Sligo's success as the commercial capital of the North West.
Sligo plays host to a number of cultural events throughout the year including Sligo Arts Festival, County Fleadh, International Choral Festival, Guitar Festival and numerous contemporary musical festivals throughout the year.
Keeping alive Sligo's literary tradition are the Hawks Well Theatre, The Blue Raincoat Theatre, the Model Arts and Niland Gallery and the Yeats Theatre.
Many of the local pubs specialise in live music from Trad Sessions to Jazz, Rock and Open Mic sessions.
For the sporting enthusiast there is a wide array of activity to choose from. Sligo Sports Complex offers various pitches, indoor basketball courts, badminton, tennis, indoor soccer, a gymnasium and weights room, and a superb swimming pool. To experience the great outdoors there are walking, hiking, horseriding mountaineering and cycling clubs. Sligo has a number of championship golf courses along with numerous gaelic football, soccer and rugby clubs.
Taking advantage of its vast coastline and inland waterways one can waterski, surf, sail, scuba-dive, take part in sea and fresh water fishing, canoe or take up Olympic style rowing.
For those not wanting to get their feet wet you might want to take to the skies. Sligo Airport is home to one of Ireland's most active flying clubs with courses running throughout the year there is also an opportunity to take up skydiving and get a birds eye view of the breathtaking scenery that is Sligo.
A Tourist's Guide to Sligo
By: Jeremy Seaver