Ruined Ballymote Castle just outside Ballymote was built by Richard de Burgo in the 14th century
Beaches in County Sligo
Rosses Point beach with nearby campsite, long sandy Mullaghmore beach, sandy Strandhill beach isn’t safe for swimming, but at low tide you can walk out to Coney Island, sandy clean beach at Enniscrone, sandy beach popular with surfers at Easky. The long clean sandy Streedagh Strand at Streedagh Point has sea caves and Carraig na Spainneach, the Spaniard’s Rock where three galleons from the Spanish Armada sank. Hundreds of small gravestones of Spanish sailors who were drowned or killed by the local Irish people supporting the English in their war with Spain can be found near Streedagh Strand
Scenic 1730 feet mountain near Drumcliff
Carrowkeel Stone Age Burial Site
The Carrowkeel Stone Age burial site on a hill in the Bricklieve Mountains has fourteen cairns, dolmen tombs and passage graves which have been dated between 3000BC and 2000BC. One of the cairns is open and is lit up by the sun’s rays on the longest day of the year. The site, near the villages of Castlebaldwin and Boyle off the N4 also has panoramic views over Lough Arrow. The lovers Grainne and Diarmuid are said to have hidden from the legendary Finn McCool in caves on the hill of Keshcoran which can be seen from Carrowkeel, after Grainne, who was betrothed to Finn cursed Dairmuid and forced him to flee the court of Tara with her.
Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery
The Carrowmore Megalithic burial site just west of Sligo Town is the second largest Megalithic cemetery in Europe. The field site contains over 45 stone circles, passage graves, standing stones and dolmen tombs. Carrowmore is thought to be 700 year older than the spectacular Newgrange tomb built in County Meath in 3200BC.
Ruined Franciscan abbey near Dromahair which was in use until the end of the century despite being sacked twice by the English in the 16th and 17the century. The abbey has well preserved cloisters and carvings of Saint Francis with stigmata and preaching to the birds.
Creevykeel Court Tomb
Megalithic court tomb near Cliffony dated around 2500BC
Deer Park Court Cairn
The Deer Park Court Cairn is an impressive court tomb with three internal burial chambers on a forested hill overlooking the north shore of Lough Gill. The tomb has been dated at around 3000BC.
Drumcliff Monastic Site
Round tower remaining from a monastery reputedly founded by Saint Colmcille (also called Saint Columba) in 561AD in remorse for the thousands slain in the Battle of the Book at Cooldrumman near Lissadell. The Saint’s army fought the forces of Saint Finian because Colmcille made an unauthorised copy of a rare religious book. There is also a nearby high cross which has carved scenes of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel and Daniel in the Lions Den and the Crucifixion.
Huge Neolithic cairn tomb near the village of Drumfin which is said to be the grave of Ailil, brother of King of Tara Niall of the Nine Hostages. The hills surrounding the large cairn are topped with smaller cairns.
Deserted island off Mullaghmore with a well preserved monastic site founded by Saint Molaise which has three ruined churches, beehive huts where the monks lived and open air altars inside a perimeter wall. No regular boat service goes to the island, but groups can organise boats from Mullaghmore, Streedagh Point and Rosses Point, in good weather.
Glencar Lough and Waterfalls
Scenic lough described by WB Yeats in his poem The Stolen Child near Benbulben Mountain which has scenic walks with waterfalls including one 50 feet high. There is also trout fishing on the lough.
Huge 60 feet high Stone Age tomb on scenic Knocknarea mountain near Carrowmore outside Sligo town, with views for miles around, which is reputed to be the grave of the legendary Queen Maeve of Connaught, one of the fiercest Celtic leaders, often best known for her part in the story, the Cattle Raid of Cooley. Maeve is said to have been buried standing up facing her enemies.
The Georgian mansion Lissadell House is the former home of Countess Constance Markievicz of the Gore-Booth family, a close friend of the poet WB Yeats. Constance, (1868-1927) was a determined Irish nationalist and took part in the 1916 Easter Rising for which she was sentenced to death which was later commuted to life . Patrick Pearce and James Connolly were not so lucky and were executed in Kilmainham jail in Dublin in 1916 by the British Government. Constance Markievicz went on to become the first female member of Parliament and was Minister for Labour in the first Dail. Yeats often stayed in the ancestral home of the Gore-Booth family, and his poem, Easter 1916 reflects interestingly on how he feels Irish nationalism turned the hearts of his friends including Constance into stone. Yeats also wrote the poem In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth, Constance Markievicz’s sister. The church clock in the nearby town of Ballymote was paid for by the tenants of Sir Robert Gore-Booth because unlike many of the greedy Anglo-Irish landlords, Gore-Booth mortgaged Lissadell to provide famine relief during the Great Famine (1845-51). The Gore-Booths still own the house which has become slightly dilapidated. Interesting tours of Lissadell run from June to September.
Boats and tackle for brown trout fishing on Lough Arrow from May to September can be hired from a number of local hotels and operators.
Legend says that only those free from sin can hear the ringing of the silver bell from Sligo Abbey, which was thrown into Lough Gill. The poet Yeats famously wrote about the islands of Inisfree and Dooney Rock in Lough Gill. Dooney Rock provides a good vantage point over the lough and the other islands. Boat trips on Lough Gill run from Doorley Park in Sligo, Dromahair and Parkes Castle, (a restored 17th century plantation castle on the Western shore of Lough Gill). There is picnic site and a woodland walk decorated with wooden sculptures at Half Moon Bay on the Lough and a megalithic court tomb on the top of Cashgelgal Mountains overlooking the lake. Cairns Hill Forest Park on the shore of the lough contains two cairns which are said to be the tombs of two friends Omra and Romra who fought to the death after Omra saw Romra’s daughter Gille bathing. Lough Gill is said to have been formed from the tears of Gille’s nurse when she drowned herself in grief. The impressive Deerpark Court Cairn, which has three internal burial chambers, is on a forested hill overlooking the north shore of Lough Gill. The tomb has been dated at around 3000BC.
Ruined 13th century abbey founded by the founder of Sligo Town, Maurice Fitzgerald for the Dominicans, which was rebuilt in the 17th century after being burnt down during the 1641 Ulster Rising against the English planters.
Sligo County Museum and Municipal Art Gallery
Sligo County Museum and Municipal Art Gallery contains many letters, manuscripts and photographs of the poet William Butler Yeats, whose mother’s family were from Sligo and who spent much of his time working here. The museum also houses paintings by local artists including Yeats’ brother Jack B Yeats and poet contemporary George Russell.