We have separated the information into town, country, and general information sections
We have separated the information into town, country, and general information sections
Ballymote (Baile an
Mhóta) Off N4 Dublin Rd/N17 Galway Rd R 293
Although nowadays Ballymote is away from the main modern roads, in the past it was at a key crossroads. Ballymote Castle was built in by Richard de Burgo, the Red Earl of Ulster and in the 1300s was regarded as the strongest fortification in Connacht. The key to the Ogram Inscriptions, an ancient information system seen on many standing stones, was found here. Today the ruins are still imposing.
Ballindoon Abbey situated on Lough Arrow was built for the Dominicans by the McDonagh clan. Dating from 1507 the ruins are substantial and the Stone of St Dominic in the Abbey is supposed to cure warts.
This nice looking small market town today is probably better known as one of the best places for coarse fishing in the county because of its proximity to Lough Arrow with some of the best trout fishing records. If you are a Glasgow Celtic fan, then you are visiting the hometown of one of the founders of the club. Another historical footnote is that the tenants of Sir Robert Gore Booth in the area paid for the church clock. He had mortgaged Lissadell House to provide famine relief to his tenants in the area.
Ballymote's 9-hole golf course welcomes all levels of players although it is best to avoid Sunday mornings as members’ competitions take place then. Tennis facilities are also available.
FLYING near Temple House is the largest bird of prey centre in Ireland
and offers fun for all the family. They house and look after some 100
birds from over 35 different species. The centre is open every day
and the bird shows start at 11.00 and 15.00 and take about an hour.
During the flying demonstrations you can experience hawks, eagles,
falcons, vultures and owls flying closely over your head or even landing
on your hand and scientists explain about the birds. For those who
are not mad about birds, there is also a large supervised pet zoo.
Admission adults € 9, child € 5.50 under 3s are free. Concessions for families and groups are available. Free parking.
Further information www.eaglesflying.com.
The location of this small early Neolithic and iron age barrow cemetery gives good views of the surrounding countryside. Excavations in the mid 1990s dated the Neolithic tombs to approximately 3900-3500 BC while the barrows come from the Iron Age.
Gurteen (Goirtín) R293
This village has deep musical traditions The Michael Coleman centre is located here, named after a well-known fiddle player from the early to mid twentieth century. His playing style and music was widely known outside of Ireland especially in the US and UK. The centre has regular sessions of traditional music and dance especially in the summer.
Further information www.colemanirishmusic.com
Tel: 071 9182599
Other festivals take place annually, such as Ceiliuradh An Earraigh traditional music festival in May and the Agricultural and Horse show at the end of August.
In the surrounding area there are over 300 crannógs, most of them were discovered by accident when local lakes were being drained in the 50s.
Moygara Castle a fortress of the clan O’Gara. Views.
Kiltura Ring Barrow, holy well and cross of St Attracta (a much-revered local saint).
Monesteraden off R293
Almost on the border with Roscommon, with many possibilities for places of interest over the county line. There is good trout fishing in the area on the River Owenmore and on Lough Gara.
A short drive and you are in the small market and cathedral town of Ballaghadereen.
Ballinafad (Béal an Átha Fada) off R295
The village is located with the Curliew and Bricklieve mountains on its doorstep and as such has some lovely walking opportunities. A number of circular walks can be undertaken in the area.
The well-preserved ruin of thirteenth century Ballinafad Castle, located on the old road of the red earls from Ballymote to Boyle, stands four stories high.
If in the area a trip to Boyle (Roscommon) is a possibility for further exploration e.g. Boyle Abbey, a 12th century Cistercian abbey, is one of the best-preserved ruins in Ireland. An interpretive centre is on the site.
Castlebaldwin (Béal Átha na gCarraigíní)
N4 Dublin Rd
Castlebaldwin is part of the Miners Way - a historic trail which crosses the Bricklieve and Curliew mountains. On the northwest shore of Lough Arrow and the Bricklieve mountains there are also opportunities to explore not just the Lough Arrow area but also into Roscommon and Lough Key walks.
The prehistoric site of Carrowkeel is a system of 14 cairns, dolmen tombs and passage graves dating from 3000-2000BC. One of the cairns is open and on solstice the rays of the sun light up the chamber.
Also between Castlebaldwin and Ballymote is Keshcorran, where according to legend Grainne and Diarmait hid from Fionn MacColl in the caves.
In the Lough Arrow there are a number of other sites of historical and legendary interest. Heapstown Cairn is a huge Neolithic Cairn Tomb near Drumfin. It is said to be the grave of Ailil, a brother of Niall of the five hostages, legendary King Of Tara. Surrounding the main cairn on the hillsides are smaller cairns almost standing watch.
Idir dhá Abhainn) Off N4 Dublin Rd.
On the River Unshin trout fishing in the area normally runs from April to end of September.
At Lough Bo nearby there is the possibility to try clay pigeon shooting (tuition and equipment are available).
Riverstown hosts a traditional music festival in August and a vintage
village festival in June.
The village festival hosts displays of traditional crafts, music, dance and drama as well as traditional dishes.
The village is home to Sligo Folk Park, which is a rural life and
heritage centre based mainly around life in the nineteenth century.
The heart of the centre is a reconstructed village street and traditional
cottage and forge. It is not just a walk around museum - craft demonstrations
are also held.
Further information www.sligofolkpark.com
Tel: 071 9165001
Adults €6, child €4 concessions and guided tours are available. Outside of peak times call ahead to check if it is open.
Slieve Gamph or the Ox Mountains run through the west of the county from Mayo through to Ballisodare Bay. They are mostly made up of limestone and gneiss, granite, and other metamorphic rock. The countryside is a mixture of upland bog and, marshland and mixed forest and small plantations, with hill farming, mainly sheep farming in the upland area. Centuries ago lead and copper mining was once a part of the landscape, but hardly a trace is to be found these days. The area also has its share of prehistoric sites, which indicate settlement of the area in prehistoric times and beyond.
The River Moy, one of the best-known salmon rivers in Ireland, has its source near Cloonacool and meanders through the landscape in its roundabout journey to the Atlantic Ocean at Killala Bay. With its small lakes and communities and remote rough beauty it has a number of walking possibilities, including the start of the Sligo Way, the first three sections are based in the Ox Mountains. The highest point is at Knockalongy 544m/1785 ft, which appropriately translates as "hill of storms".
Lough Talt R294 Tobercurry /Ballina Rd
Lough Talt is the largest lake in the area. It is approx 1.5miles long and 0.5mile wide and was a glacially formed lake from the last ice age. The lake area is also known for its bird life and flora.
In the lake at either end are two crannógs (lake dwellings used from Bronze Age until 1600s). At the top end of the lake is the Church of the Sacred Heart, which has a beautiful modern stained glass window. The church was original built by an English landlord for his tenants. Sections of the wall along the road were built at the time of the Great Famine.
See Sligo walk section.
Lough Easkey 607ft, 1mile long
The lake is located in the middle of the mountain range and lies between the Lough Talt area and Dromore West on the coast. It is a beautiful lake surrounded by the odd outlying house or building and bog land and small forest plantations. The road itself is fairly narrow in places and even in the summer has relatively light traffic, making it and the area good for peaceful walking and also as a cycling possibility. The Easkey River known for its salmon and trout rises at the lake and follows the road down towards Dromore West. Not surprisingly the name Easkey is derived from the Irish for fish.
Aclare (Ath An Chlair), Tourlestrane, Banada Off R294
This small and pretty village in the parish of Kilmactigue is known for its game angling. Lough Fossa a small nearby lake is known for its trout. It’s a bit of a trek up to the lake.
The area generally has been known for the sheepdog trials that are
held in various villages.
Nearby as you head towards Tobercurry is the village of Tourlestrane, which has strong Gaelic football traditions.
The village of Banada, with its relaxing river flowing through it was famous for its Priory, established in1423. Just up from the bridge you will see the cemetery and a monument to one of the most famous bards of the sixteenth century, who is buried there. The bard was like a PR manager for the chieftain/clan that he worked for. Every self-respecting chieftain had to have one. They were there to record the deeds and verbally historically record the clans’ history. They were extremely well educated and highly respected members of society.
Tobercurry (Tobar An Choire) N17 Toward Galway/Charlestown
Tobercurry is the second largest town in Sligo, and for a small market town can be a lively base for exploration in the Ox Mountains, south of the county, or indeed into Mayo and Roscommon. There is a driving/cyling route of the Ox Mountains for which you could use the town as a starting point, which involves smaller quite local roads.
Good fishing on the Owengarve River and big tradition of music and dance mean that the South Sligo Summer Course takes place here with most of the music being taught and played in a style traditional to the area. Local musical events are a regular feature on the pub calendar - of which there are a number. Killorans Traditional Pub and Café not only do food and have music playing there on a regular basis, but in the summer months do weekly displays of the traditions of churning a making butter.
Tobercurry golf course is open to all levels of player.
In the summer the Old Fair Day in August goes back to the times when fairs (markets for animals and produce) were held once a month. These days this is in that format no more, but it makes a good focal point for the town festival, which lasts for about a week.
Activities nearby at Lavagh (just off N17) include Woodland Equestrian Centre, which provides also indoor possibilities in bad weather. All level of rider can be catered for and the Riding centre specialises in Connemara ponies and Irish Draught Horses. Trekking in the local area is also possible from April September. Cost €20 child€15. Min age 5 years.
Along the road near Lavagh in the direction of Sligo you will see signs for Knocknashee (this is not to be confused with Knocknarea, nr Strandhill). Experts suggest that the majority of tombs in the area point towards the two.
Knocknashee, "Hill of the fairies", is a relatively recent discovery (1988) in terms of its importance. It is an enclosed hill fort with limestone ramparts containing cairns, burial chambers and hutsites. A lot of the area is covered with peat and an aerial photograph gives a great indication of how big the site is. The site was discovered during an aerial survey of the county.
Just opposite is Court Abbey, the ruins of a 15th century Franciscan Friary built by the O’Haras. The main feature is the square central tower.
Achrony is now a Roman Catholic diocese. Its monastic associations go back to the 6th century when St Finian established a settlement there. The patron saints are both local: St Nathy and St Attracta.
Near Coolaney in the foothills of the Ox Mountains is Longford House,
a restored Georgian manor house that has been in the same family for
some 400 years. The house is set in 45 acres and offers good views
of the surrounding area. The house is open to the public and has amongst
other things a restored coach house, chapel smoke house and forge.
Open: Guided tours available May-September
Admission: adults €6 child €3.
Cabragh Wedge Tomb is also nearby.
Collooney (Cúil Mhuine)
N17 south of Sligo towards Galway
This is a pleasant small town .The monument in the town is the Teeling Monument in remembrance of his heroic action in capturing an English gun placement single-handedly in the rising of 1798.