Set along the Wild Atlantic Way and adorned with sandy, surfable beaches, it’s easy to see why Sligo remains a firm favourite among visitors. Affectionately known as ‘Yeats Country’, Sligo is a foodie town with a huge live music scene and some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste. There’s so much to see and do in Sligo, here’s some of our favourites:
1. Climb Ben Bulben Mountain
Ben Bulben mountain is Sligo’s main landmark and the county’s answer to Table Mountain in Cape Town. It boasts views of Sligo’s stunning beaches and is the perfect place to take some amazing photographs. Climbing the mountain takes from 4 to 5 hours for the round trip and you can hike with local guides or by yourself. If you’re after something less intense there are marked loop walks at the base of the mountain.
2. Go surfing at Strandhill
Strandhill is one of the top surfing destinations in Ireland and is particularly popular among beginner groups learning to surf for the first time. You can sign up for a once off lesson or take a week-long course with the local surf school. When out of the water, spend some time in this nocturnal seaside village that comes alive at the evenings and weekends with a buzzing atmosphere.
3. Catch an authentic trad session
Once home to the famous Fleadh traditional music festival, Sligo has a thriving live music scene. On any given night of the week you can catch great gigs in the local pubs such as McGarrigle’s, McGlynn’s, Shoot the Crows, The Journeyman and O’Connor’s. There is also an annual music festival called Sligo Live that takes place each year with big concerts and pub sessions.
4. Sample some local delights at the Sligo Farmer’s Market
The Sligo Farmer’s Market takes place each weekend at Sligo IT and is a great way to meet locals, munch on home baked treats or to stock up on veg and other groceries if you’re planning to cook while in town – no plastic here!
Occasionally the market will host themed days in time with holidays such as the Christmas markets in December selling wreaths, decorations and other bespoke handmade gifts.
5. Learn about Yeats, Dracula among other facts on a walking tour
SligoWalks.ie run a range of walking tours around Sligo where you can learn about the local history and natural wonders. Choose from the Keash Hill trail where the remains of Ice Age animals have been found, The Devil’s Chimney route that will lead you up to Ireland’s tallest waterfall, or the historic walking tour of Sligo town where you’ll learn how Bram Stoker was inspired to create Dracula and how WB Yeats spent his time in Sligo.
6. Go horse riding along the beach
Sligo’s coast is adorned with beautiful beaches. Complete with calm and foamy waves, sand dunes and wide sandy spaces to discover by horseback. Take in the scenery and views of Ben Bulben as you remain perched upon a beautiful horse trotting along the beach. Seaside horse riding trips can be arranged by contacting Island View Riding Stables.
7. Sip on afternoon tea at Eala Bhan
Located at the heart of Sligo Town, Eala Bhan is a multi-award-winning restaurant serving locally sourced artisan food. The restaurant’s owner Anthony Gray uses local suppliers and can often be seen sourcing ingredients at the Sligo Farmer’s Market mentioned earlier. Afternoon tea is not to be missed at Eala Bhan where you’ll be served handmade sweet and savoury delights on colourful china sets.
8. Enjoy local seafood at Eithna’s
Overlooking the bay at Mullaghmore bay you’ll find Eithne’s bright blue restaurant with tables outside for sunny dining on the Wild Atlantic Way. Enjoy lobster, shellfish, crab and squid knowing that it’s as fresh as you can get – their ingredients come straight from the sea to the kitchen. Keep an eye out for Eithna’s own creations such as the seaweed pesto.
9. Visit the remote islands off Sligo’s coast
You may have heard of some of the bigger islands on Ireland’s west coast such as the Aran Islands or Achill Island, but there’s more to discover. Off the coast of Sligo there are much smaller and more remote islands that most people have never heard of such as Coney Island and Inishmurray Island. Located just 7km off the coast, you can arrange tours to the island through Sligo Boat Charters.
Top off your trip to Sligo with an overnight stay at the luxurious Clayton Hotel Sligo. With top quality rooms and Sligo’s only White Flag Diamond awarded swimming pool and leisure facilities, you’re sure of a fantastic stay. Discover our range of offers on stay packages and get ready to relax in style.