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.

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
Spring equinox at Loughcrew: waking up to Ireland’s secret rock art

Spring equinox at Loughcrew: waking up to Ireland’s secret rock art

The Loughcrew hills near the centre of Ireland are little-known – but at the spring equinox they take on a special magic. On this spring bank holiday, Paul C…

01 May 2017 • Paul Clements local_activity Special feature
6 of the best road trips in the UK

6 of the best road trips in the UK

There is something about a road trip that creates an endless state of heightened excitement. It comes with a heart-in-mouth, funfair-like thrill. And no matter …

11 Apr 2017 • Mike MacEacheran 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