Bustling SLIGO town rose to prominence following the Anglo-Norman invasion of Connacht in 1235, its strategic importance linked to its location at the point where the River Garavogue enters the sea. A Dominican friary was founded here in 1252, but the town’s shape was largely developed following the building of a castle by Richard de Burgo in 1310. However, this edifice lasted but five years before it was destroyed by the O’Donnell clan which retained control of the burgeoning settlement over the next few centuries. The town’s prosperity owed much to the the neighbouring herring shoals, though it was undermined by Cromwell’s invasion and assaults by both sides during the Williamite war.

After the terrible times of the Great Famine, Sligo re-emerged as a busy port and mercantile centre in the late nineteenth century and nowadays is a thoroughly absorbing place. The town has long been renowned for its traditional music, but is also firmly on the tourist trail thanks to its numerous associations with the poet W.B. Yeats, a lively arts scene (which spawns several festivals) and its location as a splendid base for exploring the county’s numerous attractions.

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