Interesting Facts

  • Sligo is the capital of County Sligo, and is the gateway to the North West and the Northern Ireland.
  • Sligo is a popular surf destination – it has the most consistent swell of anywhere in Europe – the slow and regular movement of the sea in rolling waves that do not break. There are seven beaches within 10 km: Enniscrone, Streedagh, Strandhill, Rosses Point, Easkey, Mullaghmore, Cullenamore.
  • In 2016, there were 19.199 Sligonians.
  • In Irish, Sligeach means ‘place of shells’.
  • Approx. 6 000 students attends lectures in IT Sligo every year.
  • The Norman knight Maurice Fitzgerald, the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, is generally credited with the establishment of the medieval European-style town and port of Sligo, building Sligo Castle in 1245.
  • It is the only Norman-founded Irish town to have been under almost continuous native Irish control throughout the Medieval period.
  • The battle of Credran Cille in 1257 at Ros Ceite (Rosses Point) between Godfrey O’Donnell, Lord of Tirconnell, and Maurice Fitzgerald, effectively halted Norman expansion in the northwest of Ireland.
  • Sligo Abbey, the Dominican Friary, is the only medieval building left standing in the town. Much of the structure, including the choir, carved altar (the only one in situ in Ireland) and cloisters remains. When  the Friary was burned and many friars were killed by Sir Frederick Hamilton’s soldiers in 1642,
  • County Sligo was especially badly affected during the Great Famine of Ireland, between 1845 and 1850. More than 52,000 people from the locality either died of disease or starvation, or else emigrated during this time.
  • In July 1997, the Famine Monument was erected as a poignant reminder of that times and it was commissioned by the Sligo Famine Commemoration Committee, to mark the 150th anniversary of Black ’47.
  • One of the most famous historical events of international interest in the Sligo region occurred in 1588 when three ships of the Spanish Armada, fleeing from a failed invasion of England, were wrecked at Streedagh Strand, near Grange, Co. Sligo. Over 1,800 men were lost with many being put to death by English soldiers. The account of the wreckage and the ensuing carnage have been documented by Captain Francisco De Cuellar.
  • The Act of Union in 1800 consolidated British rule in Ireland and while poverty was widespread, the density of the population also ensured the growth of towns like Sligo. The new merchant and landlord class established the industries of brewing and distilling and the rope, linen and leather trades ensured the growth of the town’s infrastructure. The port of Sligo developed rapidly and a railway arrived in the town in 1860.
  • Disaster struck again with cholera epidemic in 1832 causing more deaths in Sligo than anywhere else in Ireland. People were left dead in the streets and whole families were wiped out. Bram Stoker (the author of Dracula) had his macabre imagination fired by his mother, a Sligo woman, who told stories of coffin makers knocking on doors in the night looking for corpses and of victims being buried alive.
  • In 1868, Countess Constance Markievicz was born. She was the first of the five children of Henry Gore Booth, fifth Baronet of Sligo, and his wife Georgina. Born into great wealth and privilege in Lissadell, she is most famous for her leadership role in the Irish Easter Rebellion of 1916 and the subsequent revolutionary struggle for freedom in Ireland.
  • The most famous name associated with the resurgent romantic nationalism is that of William Butler Yeats. He spent his school holidays in Sligo with his grandmother and listened to her many stories of the ancient Ireland of myth and legend. Following in the Sligo tradition that preceded him, his poetry and storytelling breathed life into the stone monuments and the legendary figures of Irish mythology. He rescued Sligo from obscurity and immortalized its place names in his poetry as the Land of Heart’s Desire. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.


List of famous landmarks:

  • Carrowmore megalithic site,
  • Knocknarea Mountain,
  • Glencar Waterfall,
  • Lissadell House,
  • Benbulben Mountain,
  • Yeats Building



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