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.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Ireland features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Solo travel can be one of the most rewarding ways to explore the world. Whether you'd rather spend it on a desert island or in a frenetic new city, here are th…

21 Dec 2016 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
12 dreamy pictures of Ireland

12 dreamy pictures of Ireland

With its remote beauty, rugged landscapes and windswept coastlines, Ireland is a photographer's dream. Here, Philip Joyce shares some of his best pictures of…

23 Aug 2016 • Philip Joyce insert_drive_file Article
8 great alternative UK city breaks

8 great alternative UK city breaks

London, Edinburgh, Cardiff… These are the usual suspects when visitors are thinking about UK city breaks. But there are actually 66 other cities to be explore…

15 Aug 2016 • Greg Dickinson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month