Sligo Sets Your Spirit Free
This is the copy of the article published in “Spirit of Ireland” magazine, issue: Autumn 2018.
SLIGO IS THE URBAN CAPITAL OF THE NORTH WEST REGION. NESTLING AMIDST AN EXTRAORDINARY AND SCENIC LANDSCAPE, RICH IN HERITAGE AND MYTHOLOGY, IT ALSO SITS ON SOME OF THE MOST APPEALING AND LEAST DISCOVERED STRETCHES OF COAST ALONG THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY.
The county offers a unique destination with the dramatic backdrop of Benbulben, glimmering beaches, rolling green hills and magical woodlands, with unsurpassed leisure activities and state-of-the-art business facilities. From walking, water sports and golf to seaweed baths and horse riding or even some leisurely fishing, the county has much to offer whatever your interests may be. From the myths and legends of ancient Ireland to the poetry of WB Yeats and the music of Coleman, Westlife and Dervish, Sligo’s cultural and literary heritage is world famous and actively celebrated.
Culture in Sligo is a lively, attractive combination of contemporary and traditional theaters and centers. Writers and artists have been inspired by Sligo; the poet William Butler Yeats is buried in Drumcliffe and Sligo is often referred to as Yeats county. There are museums that offer time for reflection on bygone times alongside impressive stately homes, each with a story to tell.
The magnificent Lissadell House, so beloved of William Butler Yeats and built by the famous Gore Booth family should not be missed. Set amid the stunning scenery of mountain, woods and sea, Lissadell House & Gardens are famous as the childhood home of Constance Markievicz and her siblings Eva and Josslyn Gore Booth. Constance was one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising, and was the first woman to be elected to the House of Commons at Westminister, London. Eva was a poet of distinction and a suffragist while Josslyn created at Lissadell one of the premier horticultural estates in Ireland.
The Model is Ireland’s leading regional arts centre, with a strong reputation for experimentation, collaboration and engagement. A year-round programme includes contemporary exhibitions, film, music, literature, festivals and performance. It is also home to one of Ireland’s most important municipal collections of twentieth century Irish art featuring works by John and Jack B Yeats, Estella Solomons, Paul Henry and Louis Le LeBrocquy among others. The Model receives new and exciting acquisitions to The Niland Collection regularly. In 2016 The Model acquired the complete series of Jack B Yeats, A Broadside, (1915 – 1918), and recently received a very special donation of a considerable body of artworks from the Yeats Family sale at Sotheby’s.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
The Sligo Races are a dramatic sight with Benbulben as a backdrop and afterwards there is plenty of craic to be had with south Sligo being renowned for its traditional music. The county hosts a wealth of festivals and events throughout the year.
Say ‘fore’ in Sligo; a county that boasts magnificent links courses along the Atlantic seaboard and provides some of the most challenging and exhilarating golf in the world. Challenge yourself on the 27-hole links courses at Rosses Point or play 18 at Enniscrone or Strandhill. Golfers will delight at playing parklands over fairways adorned with ancient mature trees, natural water features and unspoiled views such as those at Castle Dargan ( 18 holes), or a gentler 9-hole course at Tubbercurry and Ballymote.
MYTHS AND LEGENDS
Sligo’s archaeological and mythological heritage is incredibly rich. It contains one of the richest concentrations of prehistoric and later monuments in Western Europe – in fact, the ancient county is filled with over 5,000 archaeological sites. Situated above the western shore of Lough Arrow is the impressive passage tomb cemetery of Carrowkeel, located in the beautiful limestone upland of the Bricklieve Mountains. There are 14 cairns here with a further 6 cairns extending to the west to Keshcorran Mountain, which is capped with a large cairn, dating back to between 3,800-3,300 BC during the Neolithic period. Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery is the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland and is also among the country’s oldest and most important in Europe. Over 60 tombs are recorded all of which predate the pyramids of Egypt.
Sligo will enchant you. It is a county that celebrates its independent spirit. A place steeped in history and mythology, with a creative tradition that lives in the music, art, poetry and expression of its people. From lakes and rivers to beaches and dramatic limestone mountains, Sligo is a place where ancient sites, spectacular landscapes and rolling waves inspire stories, trails and adventures that will open your mind and invigorate your body.