Things to do things to do Ireland > Ireland Northwest and Lakelands > Sligo (county)

Things To Do In Sligo, Ireland - Updated 2020

things to do in sligo ireland
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Updated

Those looking to explore the Emerald Isle will be astounded by the beauty of Northern Ireland’s Sligo County which straddles Sligo Bay where it connects with the Garavogue River. Hiking up the rolling green hills, visitors can enjoy exploring Sligo Abbey with its carved tombs and many ancient sites which have religious significance with altars and burial sites. Sligo which translates to “abounding in shells” is a coastal seaport where visitors can enjoy snorkelling, boat tours, and walks along the steep sea cliffs where they can admire stunning panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. There is also the Lissadell House and gardens to stroll through and enjoy a cup of tea in the tea room, many museums, and quality restaurants and pubs which visitors should check out in the following list of things to do in Sligo, Ireland, prior to their arrival.

1. Admire Benbulben's stunning shale and limestone formations

Benbulbenmount
Source: Photo by user [Unknown] used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Admire the majestic beauty of Ben Bulben as you walk through the lush forest at the base of the mountain. For a more challenging trail, check out the path near Glencar waterfall on top of the Darty mountain range which provides visitors with stunning views. Be enthralled by the limestone and shale upper cliffs and precipices which were formed during the Ice Age when the glaciers cut into the earth as they move across the ridge forming Benbulben.

Benbulben

Address: Benbulbin, Cloyragh, County Sligo, Ireland

Website: Belbulben

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

2. Check out the Niland Collection at the Model


The Model presents six curated exhibitions from The Niland Collection each year, with a strong focus on Jack Butler Yeats and the Yeats Family during June through August. If you desire to see the Yeats collection, please contact the gallery ahead of time to make certain the exhibit is available to be seen. The gallery also hosts graphite and easel and comic-making workshops as well as Latin dance nights for visitors to enjoy.

The Model

Address: The Mall, Rathquarter, Sligo, Ireland

Website: The Model

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 10:30am - 3:30pm (closed on Mon)

Price: Free

3. Be enchanted by the historical Lisadell House


Visitors to Lissadell House will be able to enjoy this neo-classical Greek revivalist style country house spread out over many acres during their time in County Sligo. They can enjoy walking through the picturesque landscape of coniferous trees accented by the beautiful Alpine garden created in the 1740s and restored wonderfully to its current colourful masterpiece in 2004. Guests will also enjoy strolling through the Kitchen Garden which originally supplied its residents with fruit, flowers, and vegetables and has been restored to its magnificent state in 2014. Finish off your afternoon in the sun taking in the beautiful aroma of the fruit trees or flowers while indulging in delicious pastries from the tea room.

Lisadell House and Gardens

Address: Lissadell House, Ballinful, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Website: Lisadell House and Gardens

Opening hours: Mid-Apr - mid-Oct: 10:30am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 6 - 41 USD

4. Look upon Carrowmore's Neolithic art appreciatively


Stroll through the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland with monuments ranging from 5,000 - 5,800 years old. Visitors to the tombs are advised to wear footwear suitable for walking on uneven terrain, however, it may still be too difficult for people with disabilities to access the tombs. Check out the restored cottages where visitors can scan through an exhibition relating to the site besides the 30 visible tombs of the 60 which archaeologists have recorded already.

Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery

Address: Carrowmore, Co. Sligo, F91 E638, Ireland

Website: Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 3 - 14 USD

5. Cleanse your souls at Tobernalt Holy Well


Take time to reflect and nurture your soulful side at Tobernalt Holy Well. This meeting place shares in the inherited ancestral tradition coming from times before St. Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century. Today visitors can witness religious ceremonies performed on Garland Sunday when attendance can be quite packed from pilgrims from other countries and elsewhere.

Tobernalt Holy Well

Address: Holywell Road, Carns, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Website: Tobernalt Holy Well

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: 16 USD

6. Visit the historical Sligo Abbey


Step back in time to this Dominican Friary which was founded by Maurice Fitzgerald in the mid 13th century. Check out the Gothic and Renaissance tomb sculpture, well-preserved cloister, and the only sculptured 15th-century high altar to survive in any Irish monastic church. This formidable looking stone structure has a remarkable history in that it was destroyed in 1414 by a fire, ravaged in 1595 during the Nine Years’ War and in 1642 during the Irish Confederate Wars, and then restored in the 1850s by Lord Palmerston.

Sligo Abbey

Address: Abbey Street, Abbeyquarter North, Sligo, Ireland

Website: Sligo Abbey

Opening hours: 10am - 5:15pm (daily)

Price: 6 - 14 USD

7. Climb Knocknarea to enjoy stunning views


Make certain to wear good footwear before starting your hike as the climb begins near sea level and scales approximately 900 feet (274 meters) before the panoramic views of Sligo and encompassing Strandhill showcase their amazing beauty. After reaching the summit, enjoy gazing out across the Atlantic Ocean for a spectacular view of this mystical mountain which was once regarded as a sacred place by Mesolithic hunters and gatherers. For adventurers, the north side of the summit contains fourteen caves to explore as well and the south side is home to a valley filled with abundant wildlife to admire.

Knocknarea

Address: Knocknarea North, County Sligo, Ireland

Website: Knocknarea

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

8. Behold the amazing architecture of Parke's Castle

Parkes Castle in Winter
Source: Photo by user Sytheston used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Visitors will feel like they’re being transported back in time to the early 17th century when they travel to this restored plantation castle which lies on the picturesque shores of Lough Gill. Irish oak and traditional craftsmanship have been used to restore this stunning castle. Wonder at the stunning architecture of Parke’s Castle and its courtyards which contain evidence of the Tower House which was once owned by Sir Brian O'Rouke prior to his execution at Tyburn, London in 1591.

Parke's Castle

Address: Kilmore, Co. Leitrim, Ireland

Website: Parke’s Castle

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 4 - 14 USD

9. Pray at Drumcliffe Parish Church


Take time out of your adventures to attend Sunday service where you will be warmly welcomed and provided with literature to help you get the most out of the service. Sing along to traditional and contemporary songs accompanied by organ. Audio-visual technology is especially used at Drumcliffe. The dress code is casual, but out of respect for the occasion, you may want to dress more modestly with knee-length skirts and non-plunging backs and necklines.

Drumcliffe Parish Church

Address: N15, Drumcliff South, Co. Sligo

Website: Drumcliffe Parish Church

Price: Free

10. Take in mesmerising views of Lough Gill's scenic beauty


Enjoy a boat ride across the water to admire the stunning Lough Gill which drains into the River Garavogue. This picturesque lake can be reached by boats that travel along the river for 30 minutes before reaching it. Once there, visitors can take in the scenic beauty of forest framing the lake, its 20 small islands including Lake Isle of Innisfree, and its brown trout and salmon residents.

Lough Gill

Address: County Sligo & County Leitrim, Ireland

Website: Lough Gill

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

11. Walk through the ruins of Carrowkeel Megalithic Cemetery


Traverse the Emerald Isle’s hillside in search of the ruins of Carrowkeel which is the most beautiful and mysterious of Ireland’s megalithic complexes. The neolithic monuments are scattered throughout the Bricklieve Mountain summits and ledges. Centuries ago, Carrowkeel was one of ancient Ireland’s most important neolithic centres.

Carrowkeel Megalithic Cemetery

Address: Carrowkeel, County Sligo, Ireland

Website: Carrowkeel Megalithic Cemetery

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

12. Admire the impressive Creevykeel Court Tomb


Creevykeel Court Tomb is located in the foothills of Tievebaun Mountain and close to the sea near Mullaghmore. It is one of the largest court tombs in Ireland with its massive wedge-shaped pile of stones. The courtyard is surrounded by massive chunks of sandstone studded with pieces of quartz sitting on ground level instead of being set in sockets and average one meter in height.

Creevykeel Court Tomb

Address: Creevykeel, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Website: Creevykeel Court Tomb

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

13. Enjoy the picturesque scenery along the Aughris Cliff Walk


Flower baskets hide the path in the middle of the entrance en route to the grass path which has been maintained. Climb the emerald green hills to take in the stunning ocean views of the Atlantic and Benbulben in the distance. To continue to walk along the pathway and take in stunning views of the limestone cliffs and panoramic views of the Atlantic visitors must climb over the protective fence. During this beautiful walk, visitors will be able to enjoy being accompanied by a wide variety of sea birds.

Aughris Cliff Walk

Address: Aughris, County Sligo, Ireland

Website: Aughris Cliff Walk

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

14. Picnic in the majestic Dooney Rock Forest Park


As the trail meanders through the dense coniferous forest en route to Dooney Rock, hikers can enjoy stunning views of Lough Gill, the surrounding islands, and north Sligo. Enjoy walking through the moss-covered trees in Dooney Forest en route Lough Gill where you can set down your blanket and picnic basket. This beautiful landscape has many birds, red squirrels, and other wildlife for visitors to enjoy during a casual walk solo, with your family, or with your fido.

Dooney Rock Forest Park

Address: R287, Lahanagh, Aughamore Far, County Sligo, Ireland

Website: Dooney Rock Forest Park

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

15. Pour through the volumes at County Sligo Heritage and Genealogy Centre


Trace your Irish history by using the genealogical services and products at County Sligo Heritage & Geneology Centre which has over 25 years of experiences in carrying out ancestral research helping countless people worldwide to discover their family lineage. Through the help of the researching staff, visitors can track the route of the over 75,660 emigrants who left Sligo between 1951 - 1901 for a better life, landing on the shores of New York, Boston Quebec, and New Brunswick. While looking back in history, don’t forget to explore the current County Sligo which is stunningly beautiful and is situated on the North West coast of Ireland.

County Sligo Heritage and Genealogy Centre

Address: Aras Reddan, Temple St, Abbeyquarter North, Sligo

Website: County Sligo Heritage and Genealogy Centre

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 1pm, 2pm - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

16. Enjoy taking time out to drop by Yeats Building


Poetry lovers can enjoy checking out over 3,000 titles and 54 years of audio-visual archives as well as the Yeats exhibition detailing the family genealogy and the people and places that provided great inspiration on the life and career of W. B. Yeats both as a man and a poet. During the summer, students and professors from every continent and every country descend upon Sligo to attend a two week cultural and literary experience. There is the Yeats Poetry Circle where visitors are able to gather around the fire to read poems, discuss their thoughts, and learn about poets from Ireland and abroad.

Yeats Building

Address: Hyde Bridge, Abbeyquarter North, Sligo, Ireland

Website: Yeats Building

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 5pm (closed on Sun)

Price: 4 USD

17. Release your inner foodie at Eala Bahn


As you dine at Eala Bhan, take in stunning views of the Garavogue River which has a cool urban brasserie bistro decor with its dark wood floors, subtle lighting, well-spaced tables, and lively crowd. While you enjoy hand-picked and artistically plated local seafood, enjoy the beautiful swans in keeping with the restaurant name which in Gaelic is “White Swan” as they glide gracefully on the waters of the river alongside the restaurant. Enjoy magically delicious dishes off the menu such as stuffed chicken breast with sweet chilli cream cheese in a creamy rosemary sauce and spring rolls with crushed rosemary boiled potatoes or lemon buttered scallops served alongside pistachio crumbed sea trout, saffron lemon risotto, leeks, and topped off with lemon foam.

Eala Bhan

Address: 5 Rockwood Parade, Abbeyquarter North, Sligo

Website: Eala Bahn

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 12:30am - 3pm, 5pm - 9:30pm: Mon: 5am - 9:30pm

Price: 12 - 22 USD

18. Spend an evening partying at Garavogue Bar


Enjoy a carefree evening of dancing while bands play live music or Dj’s spin tracks each night of the week. Take in views of the Garavogue River as you sip a cocktail at one of the three bars of Garavogue Bar. For those wishing to host private functions, there is the Secret Garden located on the top floor as well as VIP areas throughout the building.

Garavogue Bar

Address: 16 Stephen St, Abbeyquarter North, Sligo, F91 ADK4, Ireland

Website: Garavogue Bar

Opening hours: Sun - Fri: 4pm - 2:30am; Sat: 12pm - 2:30am

19. Experience an evening of culture at Hawks Well Theatre


Swing by the well-established Hawks Well Theatre which has been entertaining audiences for over 35 years. During your visit to Sligo, you will have the chance to sit in the 340 seat theatre which offers a diverse programme of arts and entertainment including professional and amateur drama, a wide array of musical performances from traditional jazz to opera, as well as dance, children’s theatre, comedy, and pantomime. Spend an evening out enjoying the cultural performances conducted with undying passion and imagination by the many talented performers who are proud to reflect and represent the culture of the area through their artistic expressions.

Hawks Well Theatre

Address: 2 Temple Street, Abbeyquarter North, Sligo

Website: Hawks Well Theatre

20. Participate in water sports with Northwest Adventure Tours


Upon landing in Sligo County, thrill-seekers should look up Northwest Adventure Tours for their biking, hiking, and paddleboarding tour needs to explore the stunning Sligo and surrounding areas. Tours include full- and half-day excursions on and off road for every fitness ability. Besides hiking and cycling through the Emerald Isle’s famed rolling hillside and majestic sea cliffs, voyageurs can enrol for snorkelling, surf lessons, and free-diving courses. For those really looking to rough it on vacation, sign up for camping, fire lighting, stargazing, and overnight excursions.

Northwest Adventure Tours

Address: The Riverside Hotel, Riverside, Abbeyquarter North, Sligo, Ireland

Website: Northwest Adventure Tours

Opening hours: 9am - 8pm (daily)

Price: 45 - 156 USD

Set your spirit free as you enjoy magical Sligo County

Irl-Sligo horse racing
Source: Photo by user John Picken used under CC BY 2.0

Sligo County’s visitors will be mesmerized by the stunning beauty of the seaside town where they can take tours through many companies or go it alone to explore the magical countryside, Dooney Forest, shimmering Lough Gill, and the panoramic views from Aughris Cliffwalk. Enjoy canoeing, kayaking, surfing, snorkelling, and many other outdoor activities while exploring the scenic beauty of the area. For those who prefer urban sights to nature, there is no shortage in the number of museums, theatre performances, and numerous restaurants serving up magically delicious traditional Irish fare including Shepherd’s Pie, shellfish, lamb, and others accompanied by a mug of Guinness. Even St. Paddy would find himself a little green seeing all the amazing experiences that modern adventurers to Sligo County are able to visit during a vacation to this lovely coastal town bordered by rivers, lakes, and rolling hillsides enrobed in a lush green carpet.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Writer living in British Columbia who loves to travel and explore new destinations. I also enjoy engaging in new activities during my travels such as Hydrospeeding in France. Solo travelled to...Read more

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