Things To Do in Sligo: Exploring the Picturesque Beauty of Yeats County
Updated On: November 22, 2023
County Sligo lies in the Northwest of Ireland, boarding the North Atlantic Ocean and offering stunning coastal views. The County is known for its rich history, natural beauty, and vibrant arts scene, with lots of activities on offer for its visitors.
In this article, we have provided a guide for things to do in Sligo, whether you’re visiting the county on a family trip, a romantic vacation or as a solo traveller, Sligo has something in store to make it a worthwhile visit.
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What is Sligo famous for?
Sligo is often referred to as Yeats Country due to its close association with the famous Irish poet W.B. Yeats. The county is also the final resting place of the poet, as he is buried in Drumcliffe Churchyard.
The natural beauty of the county is said to have inspired his personal life and influenced his work, most notably, Lake Isle of Innisfree – a poem about the remote Island that lies in Lough Gill, Sligo.
Things to do in Sligo
There is a range of things to get up to in Sligo, visit the surrounding towns and villages and experience a world full of traditional art, culture and heritage or immerse yourself in awe-inspiring natural landscapes and dramatic coastal views.
Check out our top things to do in Sligo below:
This striking flat-topped mountain offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. There are various trails for different abilities and levels of fitness, including a looped walk that circles the base of the mountain, without comprising on the beautiful views on offer.
Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery
Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery is one of the most significant and extensive prehistoric sites in Europe. Dating back to approximately 3700-2900 BCE during the Neolithic period, Carrowmore consists of over 30 megalithic tombs that spread across the landscape, making it one of the largest and oldest cemeteries of its kind in the country.
Guided tours are available to help you explore its fascinating history.
Explore the Yeats County
The Yeats Memorial Building is located in Sligo Town, County Sligo, Ireland, and is dedicated to the life and work of the famous Irish poet and Nobel laureate, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939).
The building is also home to the Yeats Library which has over 3,000 titles and 54 years of audio-visual archive, although this portion of the building is closed to the public unless it is for research purposes.
However, you can still visit the Yeats Exhibition daily from Monday – Saturday and enjoy Hyde Bridge Art Gallery.
Things to do in Sligo Town
Sligo Town is a charming, quaint spot within the county. You can explore the range of local shops, cafes, and galleries and spend time soaking up the local culture and terrific rural scenes. Don’t miss the Sligo Farmers Market on Saturdays for local produce and handmade goods.
This 13th-century Dominican friary features well-preserved ruins, including Gothic and Renaissance tomb sculptures, as well as a carved high altar. It was founded in 1253 by the then Lord of Offaly and remains one of the most notable and best-preserved medieval structures in the region today.
One of the most famous features of Sligo Abbey is the “High Cross,” which is actually a 16th-century stone pulpit. It is decorated with carved images of saints and biblical scenes, and it is said to be one of the few remaining examples of a stone pulpit in Ireland.
Guided tours are available, offering visitors the opportunity to explore the site’s fascinating history and appreciate the beauty of the remaining structure.
Take a stroll along the Garavogue River, which flows through the town, and enjoy the scenic views and peaceful atmosphere.
Hawks Well Theatre
Catch a performance at Sligo Town’s local theatre, which showcases a variety of plays, musicals, and dance productions.
Things to Do in Sligo for Families
Sligo is a great destination for families, it offers both excitement and adventure as well as a space to escape city life and embrace the surrounding rural landscapes. Check out our family-friendly activities below for when you visit Sligo.
Lough Gill is a picturesque freshwater lake that covers an area of around 14 square kilometres (5.4 square miles). The lake is surrounded by rolling hills, woodlands, and lush green landscapes, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Lough Gill is famous for its connection to the renowned Irish poet W.B. Yeats, who was inspired by its beauty and serenity. The Lake Isle of Innisfree, a small island within Lough Gill, is the subject of one of Yeats’ most famous poems.
It’s a great place to visit with the family, with a range of activities on offer, such as boat tours, fishing and birdwatching. You can also take the Slish Wood Trail, which offers lovely views of the lake and its surroundings and there are lots of great spots for picnicking along the way.
Parke’s Castle is a beautifully restored 17th-century plantation castle located on the shores of Lough Gill in County Leitrim, Ireland. Originally built by Sir Roger Parke around 1610, the castle stands on the site of an earlier 16th-century fortified tower house that belonged to the O’Rourke clan, who were the ruling Gaelic chieftains of the area.
Visitors to Parke’s Castle can take a guided tour to learn about the history of the castle, the O’Rourke clan, and the Plantation of Ulster. The tour provides insights into the daily lives of the castle’s residents and the political context of the time.
Tubbercurry is located just beneath the Ox Mountains in Sligo. It’s a great spot for a family day trip and is known for its annual festivals which include the Old Day Fair Festival (in early August) and the Western Drama Festival (in early March).
Things to do in Sligo for couples
Sligo is an amazing spot for a couple’s retreat. It offers a variety of new experiences and sightseeing opportunities. Check out some things you can do with special someone below:
This beach is renowned for its excellent surf conditions, attracting surfers of all skill levels. Several surf schools in the area offer lessons and equipment rentals, such as the Strandhill Surf School and Perfect Day Surf School, it’s definitely not your usual date!
This beach features a long sandy stretch, which is perfect for a romantic stroll surrounded by magnificent scenery. It is also another popular destination for surfing as it offers consistent waves. Contact the local surf schools; Northwest Surf School and Seventh Wave Surf School for lessons and rentals.
Experience traditional Irish music
Experience traditional Irish music sessions in Sligo Town. Local pubs such as Hargadon’s, Thomas Connolly, and Shoot the Crows are renowned for their lively atmosphere and fantastic musical performances.
Sligo Things To Do
Sligo encapsulates the beauty of the West of Ireland, and any amount of time spent here will be spent well. If you plan on visiting other counties nearby, be sure to check out:
Things to do in Mayo | Things to do in Antrim | Things to do in Derry | Things to do in Fermanagh | Things to do in Armagh | Things to do in County Down | Things to do in Tyrone | Things to do in Monaghan | Things to do in Roscommon | Things to do in Northern Ireland for Couples | Things to do in Northern Ireland for Families | Things to do in Donegal | Things to do in Leitrim | Things to do in Louth | Things to do in Cavan.