Here’s 10 things not to miss.
Home to some of the best big-wave surfing on the planet, Mullaghmore Head is a world-renowned destination for surf lovers. Grab a seat and watch daredevils ride giant waves, some as big as 30ft, or take a stroll along the cliffs and beaches with the striking Classiebawn Castle and Benbulben in the distance.
Stand on the edge of the world and watch as the Sligo coastline fades away into the Atlantic Ocean at Streedagh Beach. With historical features in every direction, you’ll see where the Spanish Armada ran aground and can search for fossils in the rocks dotted along the 3km of sandy beach.
On the shores of Sligo Bay visit the recently restored Lissadell House & Gardens, which has played an integral part in Ireland’s recent history. The childhood home of Countess Markievicz, one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising, it was also a favourite place of the great WB Yeats, who drew inspiration for his poetry from Sligo’s landscape. Spend a relaxing afternoon touring the house and unique Alpine Garden before stopping by the tea rooms for a homemade treat.
Sligo may be best known for its landscape but it’s also a place to enjoy great food. The Sligo Food Trail has stops dotted throughout the county and includes fresh farmers markets, cute cafés and award-winning restaurants. Think fresh seafood, stunning scenery and an incredible atmosphere and you’ll understand what the Sligo Food Trail is all about.
At low tide, you can drive or walk across the 5km long causeway from Rosses Point and escape from it all on Coney Island. Keep an eye out for the rabbits that give the island its name. With sweeping sandy beaches, lush green fields and gentle hills, Coney Island is a proper hidden treasure.
In the heart of Sligo town, explore Sligo Abbey, a medieval Dominican monastery built in 1252 and destroyed by an accidental candle fire in 1414. Home to Gothic and Renaissance works of art, legend has it that its silver bell was thrown in Lough Gill and only those living sin-free lives can hear it ring.
In the foothills of his beloved Benbulben (Benbulbin) in Drumcliffe Church, lies the final resting place of the poet WB Yeats. This picturesque and quiet place is a must-visit if only to read for yourself the poet’s famous epithet: "Cast a cold eye on life, on death Horseman, pass by."
Step back into Neolithic times on your trip to Sligo with a visit to Carrowkeel. This collection of tombs is one of the largest and most important ancient sites in Ireland, with stone structures standing here for over 5,000 years. Visitors are welcome to explore, but please don’t climb on or damage the tombs.
Add a dash of excitement to your Sligo holiday with a trip to Eagles Flying but check before you visit as there are restricted opening hours. Watch as the handlers show off the laser-focused hunting skills of falcons, eagles and hawks. Young families love spending time at the petting zoo, especially if the kids take a piggy-back ride on Rosie, the resident pig.
The iconic flat-topped Benbulben mountain has dominated the landscape in the west of Sligo for over 300 million years. Visible throughout the west of the county, you can really get a feel for its sheer size and otherworldly shape by exploring the trails and laneways at its base.
Whether you’re coming to Yeats Country for a quick visit or planning a longer stay, you’ll find that Sligo has so much to offer.