Best Things to do in Sligo

Discover Sligo's main tourist attractions. From Abbeys to castles, from tombs to megalithic cairns, you find it all in Co. Sligo.

Travel Guide: Top Things to do in Sligo

Here are the some of the best Things To Do In Sligo City and Beyond

Sligo town, located on the Wild Atlantic Way, is an exceptional place that has been lovingly christened “the land of heart’s desire” by one of Ireland’s most treasured poets. 

Surrounded by the stunningly rugged coastline to the west and verdant lakelands to the east, Sligo town is the place to be to experience everything that Ireland has to offer. 

If you have an appreciation for history, you can visit one of the many historical sites, such as the renowned Lissadell, the exquisite Coopershill, or the grandeur of Temple House, where you can immerse yourself in the fascinating accounts of the area. 

Throughout the year, Sligo buzzes with activity, and multiple festivals celebrating country music, sea shanties, surfing, and literature are held here. Some of the most popular events to look out for are the Cairde Sligo Arts Festival in July, and Sligo Live in October. Come, visit, and experience the magic that this amazing town has to offer!

A Taste of Sligo

Sligo is not only famous for its natural beauty and cultural heritage, it’s also a food lover’s paradise. From fresh seafood and farm-to-table cuisine to artisanal cheeses, gourmet chocolate, and craft beer, there is an abundance of delicious food and drink to sample in Sligo. 

So if you’re looking for a taste of Ireland that’s truly unique, make sure to add Sligo to your travel itinerary. Whether you’re a gourmand, a nature lover, or a history buff, Sligo has something to offer everyone.

Sligo boasts an array of gastronomic delights. Local artisan cuisine can be savoured at Hooked, while Sweet Beat Café offers tantalizing vegetarian options. Alternatively, one can indulge in award-winning wines at Coach Lane. For those interested, the region also served as the filming location for the popular TV series, Normal People. Tubbercurry was transformed into the fictional town of Carricklea, and Streedagh Point witnessed the blossoming of Marianne and Connell’s love.

Explore more of Ireland with the Rough Guide to Things to do in Sligo Ireland. Plan your visit to Sligo, Ireland: find out where to go and what to do in Sligo with Rough Guides

Knocknarea Queen Maeve Trail

Knocknarea Queen Maeve Trail

Embrace some stunning Wild Atlantic Way landscapes on this 2.4 km trail up to the summit of Knocknarea Mountain, boasting ancient history and captivating County Sligo scenery. Queen Maeve’s Trail is a gem.

The spectacular Queen Maeve Trail takes just under two hours to complete, on a sustained climb from the coastal town of Strandhill to the summit of Knocknarea Mountain.
This 2.4 km trail is considered strenuous and ascends 300 metres up the mountain’s northern slopes. The linear route through lush pine forest, includes gravel paths, timber and gravel steps, as well as an elevated and stepped bog bridge.

As you follow the route, you’ll enjoy stunning views over idyllic islands and bays, and from the mountain’s summit, panoramas over counties Donegal, Leitrim, and Sligo.
The burial cairn of ancient Queen Maeve rests at the mountain’s summit, giving walkers a dose of history along with breathtaking scenery.

The Easkey Cliffs

The Easkey Cliffs

Easkey is a charming village located along the rugged coast of the Wild Atlantic Way in County Sligo, Ireland. The name “Easkey” itself translates to “abounding in fish,” a nod to the village’s rich fishing heritage. 

Nowadays, Easkey is a hub for water sports enthusiasts, with its waves drawing surfers from all over the world. In addition to surfing, visitors to Easkey can also enjoy kayaking and fishing in the nearby river estuary and along the stunning coastline. 

The village is home to an array of picturesque walking routes that provide breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the impressive Slieve League and Benbulben mountains. 

The local woods in the town land of Fortland offer further opportunities for exploring the great outdoors. Whether you’re looking for adventure or just a peaceful escape, Easkey has something to offer everyone.

The Route

This scenic route offers an idyllic stroll along the eastern bank of the Easkey River, passing by the beautiful Castle and continuing along the phenomenal Atlantic coastline. The promenade can be commenced from either the car park adjacent to Easkey Castle or the village centre, situated close to the bridge. 

The pathway is linear and comprises an off-road trail along the river, followed by a grass margins path along the coast road. The return journey is recommended by retracing the original path. Caution should be exercised to avoid the risk of being swept away by the tempestuous waves that characterise the coastline and are a draw for intrepid surfers.

Popular Accommodation in Sligo

Markree Courtyard and Carriage Rooms: Once a family home with a lifetime of happy memories, Markree Courtyard Sligo has been transformed into an exclusive event & accommodation venue creating new memories for guests that will last a lifetime.

Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Sligo: Surrounded by the gorgeous countryside of Rosses Point, the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Sligo offers majestic views of Sligo Bay and the neighbouring mountains. Business guests appreciate our proximity to Finisklin Business Park and the 5-minute drive to Sligo city centre. 

Clayton Hotel Sligo: Set on beautiful grounds overlooked by the spectacular Benbulben Mountain, Clayton Hotel Sligo is within walking distance of Sligo Town Centre and offers the perfect base to explore the Wild Atlantic Way and breathtaking coastal views in Sligo.

Whether it’s business or pleasure, Clayton Hotel Sligo provides the perfect base for your next Sligo adventure.  

Union Wood

Union Wood

Union Wood, situated to the west of Ballygawley Lake, is renowned for its mythological figures, similar to various other parts of Sligo. One mystic character of interest is “The Cailleach Bérra” – referred to as Clooth-na-Bare in the works of W.B. 

Yeats. The “Cailleach” – an old woman or faery woman – possessing mystical qualities such as the power of flight, grew tired of her everlasting existence after several centuries and explored methods of ending her life. In “The Celtic Twilight” book (1893) by Yeats, it is narrated “the Cailleach went all over the world seeking a lake deep enough to drown her faery life.

until at last she found the deepest water in the world in little ‘Lough Ia’, at the top of the Birds’ Mountain at Sligo”. “Lough Ia” is associated with “Lough dá Ghedh” (Lake of the two geese), a lake located near the peak of Slieve Daeane (Sliabh Dá Éan – Mountain of Two Birds). 

Yeats made a trip to the nearby Castledargan, now operating as a hotel, which his relatives, the Middleton/Ormsbys, inhabited. Yeats described the remnants of the castle occupying the property, along with his experience of pike fishing at Castledargan Lake. Furthermore, Ballygawley Lake played host to Whopper swans during the winter, while eagles and falcons were commonplace in the nearby Ox Mountains.

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Lough Gill

Lough Gill

Lough Gill is a substantial body of water, measuring approximately 8 kilometres in length and 2 kilometres in width. The public can access the lake from several points, including a pier on the southern shore where the Garavogue River meets the lake, Inishfree Pier, and Shriff Bay. 

Lush woods encompass this charming lake and boast approximately twenty small islands, including the Lake Isle of Innisfree, which achieved popularity thanks to William Butler Yeats’ poem. The lake flows into the River Garavogue near Sligo Town and boasts an assortment of fish, including brown trout and salmon. 

Visitors to the area can relish the breathtaking landscape of Lough Gill by boarding an open boat that sets out from the heart of Sligo Town, travelling thirty minutes along the Garavogue River to reach the tranquil waters of Lough Gill.

The Caves of Keash


Take a journey back in time when you visit the Caves of Keash – an awe-inspiring cluster of 17 caves situated on Keshcorran Hill, near the charming village of Keash in Sligo. 

These ancient passage tombs are believed to predate the Pyramids of Egypt by a remarkable 500-800 years, making them a true testament to the ingenuity of our ancestors. Prepare to be amazed as you explore each cave and learn about the remarkable story behind them. 

While reaching the caves can be challenging, a trail was built several years ago to make it easier. Please keep in mind that a bit of effort and preparation is required for this adventure, but the reward is well worth it. 

Take heed of the safety warnings and let the magic of Keash transport you back in time to a world of wonder and mystery!

Popular Tours From Belfast

Giant Causeway Tour

Belfast Shore Excursion

Sruth in Aghaidh An Aird – The Devil’s Chimney

Sruth in Aghaidh An Aird

The Waterfall – Sruth in Aghaidh An Aird, as it is known in Irish, is a natural wonder that showcases the true splendor of nature. The name of the waterfall, which means ‘stream against the height’, is a testament to the sheer size and force of this magnificent sight. It is no wonder that people come from all over to witness the waterfall’s awe-inspiring beauty.

In some weather conditions, when the wind blows from the South, the waterfall is blown upward and back over the cliff from which it falls, creating a truly unique sight that is not found anywhere else in the world. This phenomenon is truly a spectacle and should be seen by everyone at least once in their lifetime.

Even though the waterfall does not flow during periods of dry weather, it is even more amazing during or immediately after periods of heavy rainfall. The sheer size and power of the waterfall are amplified during these times, making it an even more breathtaking sight to behold.

Coney Island

Coney Island

Coney Island is the most notable and extensive of the three isles adorning the northern shoreline of the Coolera Peninsula. The isle is situated in Sligo Bay, between Rosses Point and Ben Bulben in the north, and in the south, between Strandhill and Knocknarea. 

The island, which stretches around 1½ miles in length and ¾ miles in width, is approachable through a boat from the pier at Rosses Point. 

However, the most preferred access is through Cummeen Strand when the tide is out. The strand reveals itself at low tide and is demarcated by 14 stone pillars, covering around 5 km leading to the island. 

The island boasts of ancient stone walls, warm-hearted locals, and enchanting deserted beaches, making it, a place of interest, when in Strandhill. One could simply relax on the beach, enjoy a picnic, or relish a pint of Guinness at McGowan’s public house, the only pub on the island.

Sligo Abbey

Sligo Abbey

Remarkable history and beauty of the Sligo Town landmark – the Dominican Abbey. Founded in the 13th century, this abbey still stands tall today, a testament to the vision and determination of its creators. 

Although it has endured its share of difficulties, from accidental fires to rebellion damage, the Abbey remains a treasure trove of remarkable Gothic and Renaissance carvings, including the only sculpted 15th-century high altar in any Irish monastic church. 

Legend has it that only those who are free from sin can hear the peal of its silver bell, which was saved by worshippers and thrown into Lough Gill during troubled times. Let us take inspiration from this magnificent landmark and the faithful who have cared for it over the centuries, and strive to preserve and beautify the world around us.

Things to Do in Sligo: Walk Around Town

Things to Do in Sligo

Visiting Sligo Town, and I must say that exploring the town on foot was a delightful experience. The winding river, charming houses, and beautifully decorated bridges were awe-inspiring. Moreover, I was fortunate enough to come across a statue of the renowned poet W.B. Yeats, who frequently gained inspiration from Sligo during his life and career. The peaceful surroundings he described in his poem “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” were, in fact, visible throughout my excursion in Sligo. It is easy to understand why Yeats loved Sligo so much.

Sligo County Museum

Sligo County Museum

The Sligo County Museum contains a fascinating collection of exhibits detailing Sligo’s rich stone-age history, including a large firkin of 100-year-old bog butter.

The Yeats Room here is full of manuscripts, photographs, letters and newspaper cuttings associated with the local poet William Butler Yeats including a copy of his 1923 Nobel Prize winning medal and a complete collection of his poems from 1889 to 1936.

Also in the museum you will see paintings by Irish artists George Russell, Sean Keating and Jack. B. Yeats, brother of the poet William Butler Yeats.

There is also a display of artefacts and memorabilia associated with Countess Constance Markievicz and her sister Eva Gore-Booth.

Sligo Folk Park

Sligo Folk Park

Sligo Folk Park, located in the picturesque village of Riverstown in County Sligo, invites you to immerse yourself in the charm and heritage of Irish rural life. Situated conveniently just 20km from Sligo Town, Riverstown is accessible from the M4 Dublin to Sligo motorway.

As a community-based attraction, Sligo Folk Park offers an authentic experience of rural life and Irish heritage in the late 19th century. The park is situated on the grounds of Millview House, which has been diligently restored to its original 1850s condition. 

The old-world village street, a highlight of the park, together with the “Hands” exhibition exploring traditional home pastimes, the schoolhouse, and the World’s Most Traveled Cottage, provide a delightful glimpse into a past era.

In all seasons, visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the park and admire the 12 exhibits featuring Ireland’s exceptional collection of rural history, farm equipment, and agricultural artifacts.

Self Guided Audio Tour

  • Adult €10
  • Children aged 4 to 16 years €5*
  • Family of 4 €25.00

*Children under 4 go free.

**Children under four are not included when calculating the family rate. There is a charge of €5 for every additional child between the age of four and sixteen years. Book your tickets

Atlantic Sheepdogs

Atlantic Sheepdogs

Discover the Art of Herding with Sheepdogs in County Sligo. Experience the unparalleled beauty of County Sligo while learning about the art of herding with Atlantic Sheepdogs. Observe with astonishment as the incredibly trained dogs artfully move sheep around sprawling farms and mountains.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to spend quality time with Atlantic Sheepdogs and meet some of the world’s smartest dogs, working in their natural environment. Engage with the expert trainer, Martin Feeney, and witness as he and his dogs represent Ireland on an international stage.

Avail yourself of the chance to learn more about the significant role of sheepdogs on typical Irish farms. Gain insight into how the dogs are expertly trained, and discover the variety of sheep breeds raised in this rural environment while enjoying a one-of-a-kind fleeting view of rural life. Make arrangements to visit in the summer and experience the spectacular tradition of sheep shearing up close.

Atlantic Sheepdogs are located in Streedagh, a small and charming townland in North Sligo, which is home to the majestic Benbulben Mountain to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, making it the ideal location to witness these unique dogs expertly performing their duties.

Ben Bulben Loop

Ben Bulben Loop

The Benbulben Loop presents a unique opportunity for hikers to experience an up-close encounter with one of our most treasured mountains. This enjoyable walk, primarily along a forest road, can be completed in a mere 90 minutes. Along the route, hikers will be pleased to discover an array of surprises.

The Benbulben Loop caters to families and friends seeking a pleasant and straightforward activity, welcoming hikers, runners, and nature enthusiasts. Embarking from the car park at the entrance of Gortarowey Forest, visitors may relish the company of their fellow companions whilst inhaling the fresh country air and admiring the diverse forested hills and stunning views of picturesque Benbulben.

The trail is adequately signposted, guiding visitors towards beauty spots, where the magnificent rolling hills, Donegal and Sligo Bays, Inishmurray Island, and Ox and Knocknarea Mountains can be savoured.

Make your way to the trail summit, guided by the soothing sound of the local waterfall, but note that the track may become moderately challenging during muddy conditions. As such, please ensure appropriate footwear and cautiously begin your ascent along the northern face of the mountain.

Mullaghmore Head

Mullaghmore Head

Mullaghmore Head is an incredibly picturesque spot located between Cliffoney and Grange in scenic County Sligo. Upon arrival, visitors can take a peaceful stroll along the amazing white sandy beach and breathe in the fresh, invigorating sea air. 

For those who love adventure and thrill-seekers, Mullaghmore Head is home to some of the most exciting surfing in all of Ireland, as it is arguably the country’s ultimate big wave destination. The shimmering blue water is perfect for swimming or windsurfing. 

Be sure to take some time to explore the walking route along the coastline of Mullaghmore Head and experience the stunning views of the surroundings. After the walk, stop by the charming fishing village of Mullaghmore where the locals offer a warm welcome and fantastic fresh seafood. 

Visitors can admire the picturesque stone harbour and majestic Classiebawn Castle in the distance. To get more out of your visit, take a boat trip on the wild waters of the Atlantic Ocean and head to Inishmurray Island. Here, you can see the ruins of the ancient monastic site founded by St Molaise and enjoy an impressive deep-sea angling trip with fantastic views of the scenery.

Explore more of Ireland with the Rough Guide to Things to Do in Sligo Ireland. Plan your visit to Sligo, Ireland: find out where to go and what to do in Sligo with Rough Guides

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