Sligo is the county town
County town
A county town is a county's administrative centre in the United Kingdom or Ireland. County towns are usually the location of administrative or judicial functions, or established over time as the de facto main town of a county. The concept of a county town eventually became detached from its...

 of County Sligo in Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

. The town is a borough
A borough is an administrative division in various countries. In principle, the term borough designates a self-governing township although, in practice, official use of the term varies widely....

 and has a charter
A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified...

 and a town mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

. It is sometimes referred to as a city, and sometimes as a town, and is the second largest urban area in Connacht
Connacht , formerly anglicised as Connaught, is one of the Provinces of Ireland situated in the west of Ireland. In Ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths ruled by a "king of over-kings" . Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into a number of counties for...

 (after Galway
Galway or City of Galway is a city in County Galway, Republic of Ireland. It is the sixth largest and the fastest-growing city in Ireland. It is also the third largest city within the Republic and the only city in the Province of Connacht. Located on the west coast of Ireland, it sits on the...

). The town is currently campaigning for city status
City status in Ireland
In the island of Ireland, the term city has somewhat differing meanings in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.Historically, city status in the United Kingdom, and before that in the Kingdom of Ireland, was a ceremonial designation. It carried more prestige than the alternative municipal...



Sligo's Irish name Sligeach - meaning shelly place - allegedly originates in the abundance of shellfish
Shellfish is a culinary and fisheries term for exoskeleton-bearing aquatic invertebrates used as food, including various species of molluscs, crustaceans, and echinoderms. Although most kinds of shellfish are harvested from saltwater environments, some kinds are found only in freshwater...

 found in the river and its estuary, and from the extensive 'shell middens' or Stone Age food preparation areas in the vicinity.
The river (now known as the Garavogue 'rough river' ) was also called the Sligeach. The Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey , an executive agency and non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom, is the national mapping agency for Great Britain, producing maps of Great Britain , and one of the world's largest producers of maps.The name reflects its creation together with...

 letters of 1836 state that "cart loads of shells were found underground in many places within the town where houses now stand". At that time shells were constantly being dug up during the construction of foundations for buildings. This whole area, from the river estuary at Sligo, around the coast to the river at Ballysadare
Ballysadare is a village about 7 kilometres from Sligo town Centre. Built on the Ballysadare river, the area experienced rapid growth during the 'Celtic Tiger' boom, with many new housing developments, many of which now lie empty, creating phantom estates. The village was once choked with heavy...

 Bay, is rich in marine resources which were utilised as far back as the Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....


The significance of Sligo in the Early Neolithic period is demonstrated by the abundance of ancient sites close by, not least Carrowmore
Carrowmore, County Sligo is one of the four major passage tomb cemeteries in Ireland. It is located at the centre of a prehistoric ritual landscape on the Cúil Irra Peninsula in County Sligo in Ireland....

, on the Cuil Irra peninsula, 3 km (1.9 mi) from the town. The NRA
National Roads Authority
The National Roads Authority is a state body in the Republic of Ireland, responsible for the national road network. The NRA was established as part of the Roads Act 1993 and commenced operations on 23 December 1993 in accordance with S.I. 407 of 1993.County councils remain responsible for local...

 excavation for the N4 Sligo Inner Relief Road in 2002 revealed an early Neolithic causewayed enclosure
Causewayed enclosure
A causewayed enclosure is a type of large prehistoric earthwork common to the early Neolithic in Europe. More than 100 examples are recorded in France and 70 in England, while further sites are known in Scandinavia, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Slovakia.The term "causewayed enclosure" is...

 (c. 4000 B.C.) overlooking the town. It would have been enclosed by a ditch and palisade, and was perhaps an area of commerce and ritual. According to Edward Danagher, who excavated there, 'Magheraboy demonstrates the early Neolithic settlement of this area of Sligo, while the longevity of the activity on the site indicates a stable and successful population during the final centuries of the fifth millennium and the first centuries of the fourth millennium BC'. Sligo town's first roundabout was constructed around a megalithic tomb (Abbeyquarter North, in Garavogue Villas ).
Maurice Fitzgerald, the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, is generally credited with the establishment of the mediaeval town of Sligo, building the Castle of Sligo in 1245. Sligo was burned several times during the mediaeval period. In 1257, Geoffry O'Donnell, chief of Tirconnell, marched on Sligo and burned the town. The annalists
Irish annals
A number of Irish annals were compiled up to and shortly after the end of Gaelic Ireland in the 17th century.Annals were originally a means by which monks determined the yearly chronology of feast days...

 refer to this Sligo as a sradbhaile ('street settlement'): a village or town not defended by an enclosure or wall, and consisting of one street. By the mid 15th century the town and port had grown in importance. Amongst the earliest preserved specimens of written English in Connacht is a receipt for 20 marks, dated August 1430, paid by Saunder Lynche and Davy Botyller, to Henry Blake and Walter Blake, customers of "ye King and John Rede, controller of ye porte of Galvy and of Slego". Over a century later an order was sent by the Elizabethan Government to Sir Nicholas Malby, Knight, willing him to establish "apt and safe" places for the keeping of the Assizes & Sessions, with walls of lime & stone, in each county of Connacht, "judging that the aptest place be in Sligo, for the County of Sligo…" Sligo Abbey
Sligo Abbey
Sligo Abbey , a ruined abbey in Sligo, Ireland, was originally built in 1253 by the order of Maurice Fitzgerald, Baron of Offaly. It was destroyed in 1414 by a fire, ravaged during the Tyrone War in 1595 and once more in 1641 during the Ulster Uprising...

, the Dominican
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 Friary, is the only mediaeval building left standing in the town (Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker
Abraham "Bram" Stoker was an Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula...

, whose mother came from Sligo, has cited ghost stories about the abbey as part of the inspiration for his infamous novel, Dracula). The abbey was founded by Fitzgerald in 1253 but was accidentally destroyed by fire in 1414, and was rebuilt in its present form. When Frederick Hamilton’s soldiers sacked Sligo Town in 1642, the Abbey was burned and everything valuable in it was destroyed. Much of the structure, including the choir, carved altar and cloisters remains.

Between 1847 and 1851 over 30,000 people emigrated through the port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 of Sligo. On the Quays, overlooking the Garavogue
River Garavogue
The Garavogue is a short and small river located in County Sligo, Ireland. From Lough Gill, it winds its way through Sligo town and into Sligo Bay. The name, Garavogue, comes from the Irish "garbh óg" meaning "young rough"....

 River, is a sculpted memorial to the emigrants. This is one of a suite of three sculptures commissioned by the Sligo Famine Commemoration Committee to honour the victims of the Great Famine
Irish Potato Famine (1845–1849)
In Ireland, the Great Famine was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration between 1845 and 1852. It is also known, mostly outside Ireland, as the Irish Potato Famine...

. A plaque in the background, headed 'Letter to America, January 2, 1850' tells one family's sad story: "I am now, I may say, alone in the world. All my brothers and sisters are dead and children but yourself... We are all ejected out of Mr. Enright's ground... The times was so bad and all Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 in such a state of poverty that no person could pay rent. My only hope now rests with you, as I am without one shilling and as I said before I must either beg or go to the poorhouse... I remain your affectionate father, Owen Larkin. Be sure answer this by return of post."

Sligo town recently highlighted its connections with Goon Show star and writer Spike Milligan
Spike Milligan
Terence Alan Patrick Seán "Spike" Milligan Hon. KBE was a comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright, soldier and actor. His early life was spent in India, where he was born, but the majority of his working life was spent in the United Kingdom. He became an Irish citizen in 1962 after the...

 by unveiling a plaque at the former Milligan family home at Number 5 Holborn Street.


There are three local newspapers in Sligo: the Sligo Weekender
Sligo Weekender
The Sligo Weekender is a weekly local newspaper published every Tuesday in Sligo, County Sligo, Ireland. It was founded in 1984 by Brian McHugh as a 'free sheet' advertiser, with some local news. It contains news of interest to Sligo town and county along with the surrounding counties of Leitrim,...

 - out every Tuesday, the Northwest Express -out every Thursday and The Sligo Champion - out every Wednesday. The area has a local radio station, Ocean FM
Ocean FM (Ireland)
Ocean FM is a local radio station that broadcasts to parts of the northwest of Ireland. The station covers the area of south County Donegal, north County Leitrim and most of County Sligo and it broadcasts into parts of south-west County Fermanagh. It started broadcasting on 1 October 2004,...

, which also broadcasts to Counties Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo. Sligo is also served by the West youth radio station I102-104FM
i 102-104FM was a regional station in the Republic of Ireland launched on 7 February 2008. The station won the licence for a 'youth' orientated station that would broadcast across seven counties in the northwest and west of Ireland, targeting listeners aged between 15 and 34; and was part of a...



Sligo has 6 secondary schools (one of which is located outside the borough boundary) and 42 primary schools (one of which is located outside the borough boundary). St Angela's College
St. Angela's College, Sligo
St. Angela's College, Sligo is a college of the National University of Ireland, Galway since 2006. Prior to this, since 1978, the college was a recognised college of the National University of Ireland. St. Angela’s College, Sligo was founded by the Ursuline Order in 1952.The college is located...

 and Institute of Technology, Sligo
Institute of Technology, Sligo
Institute of Technology Sligo is a state funded third-level educational institution situated in the city of Sligo, Ireland. The Institute has three Schools and 9 Departments....

 are third-level colleges located in or near the town.


The main roads to Sligo are the N4 to Dublin, the N15 to Lifford
Lifford is the county town of County Donegal, Ireland. It is the administrative capital of the county and the seat of Donegal County Council, although the town of Letterkenny is often mistaken for fulfilling this role...

, County Donegal
County Donegal
County Donegal is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Donegal. Donegal County Council is the local authority for the county...

; and the N16 to Blacklion
Blacklion is a border village in west County Cavan, Ireland. It is situated on the N16 national primary road, just across the border from the County Fermanagh village of Belcoo.- History :The village is within the townland of Tuam...

, County Cavan
County Cavan
County Cavan is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Cavan. Cavan County Council is the local authority for the county...

. The section of the N4 road between Sligo and Collooney is made up of dual carriageway. The first phase of this road was completed in January 1998, bypassing the towns of Collooney
-Transport:Collooney is located just off the N4 and N17 roads, having been bypassed twice, by the N4 in 1998, and the N17 in 1992, and is the meeting point of both roads. The town was a significant railway centre, with no less than three railway stations...

 and Ballysadare
Ballysadare is a village about 7 kilometres from Sligo town Centre. Built on the Ballysadare river, the area experienced rapid growth during the 'Celtic Tiger' boom, with many new housing developments, many of which now lie empty, creating phantom estates. The village was once choked with heavy...

. An extension to this road was completed in September 2005, and is known as the Sligo Inner Relief Road.

O'Connell Street - the main street in the town - was pedestrianised on 15 August 2006. Plans for the proposed redevelopment and paving of this street were publicly unveiled on 23 July 2008 in The Sligo Champion. The newspaper later revealed that people were not in favour of the pedestrianisation of the street. The street was reopened to traffic in December 2009.

Sligo acquired a rail link to Dublin on 3 December 1862, with the opening of Sligo railway station. Connections to Enniskillen
Enniskillen is a town in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. It is located almost exactly in the centre of the county between the Upper and Lower sections of Lough Erne. It had a population of 13,599 in the 2001 Census...

 and the north followed in 1881 and Limerick
Limerick is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, and the principal city of County Limerick and Ireland's Mid-West Region. It is the fifth most populous city in all of Ireland. When taking the extra-municipal suburbs into account, Limerick is the third largest conurbation in the...

 and the south in 1895. The line to Enniskillen closed in 1957 and passenger services to Galway-Ennis-Limerick closed in 1963. For many years CIE
Córas Iompair Éireann
Córas Iompair Éireann , or CIÉ, is a statutory corporation of the Irish state, answerable to the Irish Government and responsible for most public transport in the Republic of Ireland and, jointly with its Northern Ireland counterpart, the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company, between the...

 kept the latter line open for freight traffic, and although it is now disused, it forms part of the Western Rail Corridor redevelopment project. In 1966 Sligo railway station was renamed Mac Diarmada Station
Mac Diarmada railway station
Mac Diarmada station, also known as Sligo railway station, is a mainline railway station which serves the town of Sligo in County Sligo, Ireland. It is a terminal station, with two platforms. There is a passing loop at the approach to the station. It is named after Irish patriot Seán Mac Diarmada...

 after Irish rebel Seán Mac Diarmada from County Leitrim
County Leitrim
County Leitrim is a county in Ireland. It is located in the West Region and is also part of the province of Connacht. It is named after the village of Leitrim. Leitrim County Council is the local authority for the county...

. Iarnród Éireann
Iarnród Éireann
Iarnród Éireann is the national railway system operator of Ireland. Established on 2 February 1987, it is a subsidiary of Córas Iompair Éireann . It operates all internal intercity, commuter and freight railway services in the Republic of Ireland, and, jointly with Northern Ireland Railways, the...

, Ireland's national railway operator, runs inter-city rail
Inter-city rail
Inter-city rail services are express passenger train services that cover longer distances than commuter or regional trains.There is no precise definition of inter-city rail. Its meaning may vary from country to country...

 services between Sligo and Dublin Connolly.

Sligo Town and County Sligo are served by Sligo Airport
Sligo Airport
Sligo Airport is located in Strandhill, County Sligo, west of Sligo in Ireland. The airport is a small regional airport and has no scheduled routes.-Introduction:...

, 8 km (5 mi) from Sligo town and close to Strandhill
Strandhill or Larass is a village and townland in County Sligo, Ireland.-Location:Strandhill is situated at the western base of Knocknarea on the Cúil Irra peninsula, and is Atlantic facing. Although the main part of the village lies within the townland of Larass/Strandhill, it also extends into...

 village, though no scheduled flights currently operate out of the airport.

Sligo port handles small ships up to .

Bus Éireann
Bus Éireann
Bus Éireann provides bus services in Ireland with the exception of those operated entirely within the Dublin Region, which are provided by Dublin Bus. Bus Éireann, established as a separate company in 1987, is a subsidiary of Córas Iompair Éireann. The logo of Bus Éireann incorporates a red Irish...

 operates 4 bus routes in the town: one serves the town centre and one which serves the western area of the town. The other two routes run from the town to Strandhill and Rosses Point respectively.


Like many towns in the west of Ireland, Sligo suffered for many years from a lack of development, mainly due to its relative isolation. However this has improved in most sectors in the past decade.

Development has occurred along the river Garavogue with the regeneration of J.F.K. Parade (2000), Rockwood Parade (1993–1997), and The Riverside (1997–2006), as well as two new footbridges over the river, one on Rockwood Parade (1996) and one on The Riverside (1999).


Sligo is twinned with the following places: Crozon
Crozon is a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany in north-western France.Crozon is located on the Crozon peninsula on the west coast of Finistère. It is bordered by the communes of Camaret-sur-Mer to the west, Roscanvel to the northwest, Lanvéoc to the north, Landévennec to the...

, Brittany, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

Illapel is a Chilean city, which is the capital of the Choapa Province, Coquimbo Region. It lies along the Illapel River and marks the country's narrowest point along a parallel .It's located to the east of Los Vilos.-Administration:...

, Choapa Province
Choapa Province
Choapa Province is one of the provinces making up the Coquimbo Region of Chile. It has an area of 10,079.8 km² and a population of 81,681. The capital of the province is the town of Illapel...

, Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 Kempten im Allgäu
Kempten im Allgäu
Kempten is the largest town in Allgäu, a region in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. The population was ca 61,000 in 2006. The area was possibly settled originally by Celts, but was later overtaken by the Romans, who called the town Cambodunum...

, Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

Tallahassee, Florida
Tallahassee is the capital of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat and only incorporated municipality in Leon County, and is the 128th largest city in the United States. Tallahassee became the capital of Florida, then the Florida Territory, in 1824. In 2010, the population recorded by...

, Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, United States

See also

  • Development of Sligo
    Development of Sligo
    This page is a detailed time line of the development of the Irish town and county of Sligo, in the 20th and 21st Centuries.-Pre 1980s:Whytes Tobaccionists, John Street opened 1888-2005:Gaiety Cinema opened on Wine Street-1968:...

  • List of Sligo people
  • List of towns and villages in Ireland
  • Sligo Jail
    Sligo Jail
    Sligo Jail or Sligo Prison, founded as Sligo Gaol is a former prison located in Sligo, County Sligo, Ireland which was open from 1823 to 1959.-Construction:...

  • Sligo Rovers F.C.
    Sligo Rovers F.C.
    Sligo Rovers Football Club is a professional Irish football club playing in the Premier Division of the League of Ireland. The club was founded in 1928 and have been in the League of Ireland since 1934. The club is a co-operative venture, owned by the people of Sligo. Sligo Rovers have played at...

External links

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