Sligo (Sligeach in Irish, meaning shelly place) is the principal town in County Sligo in Northwest Ireland & Lakelands. It's the largest urban area in this region, and the second largest in the province of Connacht (after Galway).

Garavogue river


Traditionally a small, quiet coastal town of 17,892 people (but an area of 12.9km or 5 sq mi), Sligo has experienced significant redevelopment since the 1990s and now offers much in the way of shopping, entertainment and eating out. It's a great base from which to explore the often underrated west and north west Atlantic coast of Ireland. A lot of new development has been situated along the Garavogue river, most notably the regeneration of J.F.K. and Rockwood Parades, consisting of shops, cafés, bars and a number of apartments as well as a new footbridge over the river itself.

O’Connell Street, the town's main street was, pedestrianised in Aug 2006, but unfortunately was re-opened to single-lane traffic again in Dec 2009. Two new shopping centres (The Quayside and Johnston's Court) opened in 2005, bringing national and international chain-stores to the region.


Ox Mountains

Sligo is surrounded by the Dartry Mountain range to the north, the Ox Mountains to the south, and Sligo Bay and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The Dartry range includes the well-known Ben Bulben (sometimes called Ireland's table mountain). Knocknarea Mountain, located 5 km (3 mi) west of the town, is best known for the stone cairn at its summit (actually a burial mound dating to the Neolithic period).


Carrowmore, a prehistoric ritual landscape in County Sligo, less than 8km (5 mi) from Sligo

Sligo's Irish name, Sligeach (pronounced SHLEE-gok, which means the place of shells), comes from the large number of shellfish found in the local river and its estuary, and from the Stone Age food preparation areas in the vicinity. The river (now known as the Garavogue) was originally also called the Sligeach. This whole area, from the river estuary at Sligo, around the coast to the river at Ballisodare Bay, was rich in marine resources, dating back as far as the Mesolithic period.

Sligo was a significant location as far back as the Early Neolithic period, as demonstrated by the numerous ancient sites close by. Particularly notable are the megalithic tombs at nearby Carrowmore. According to local archaeological digs (when a new road was being built), 'Magheraboy [now a suburb of Sligo] 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.'

The Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, Maurice Fitzgerald, is said to have established the medieval town of Sligo, building the Castle of Sligo in 1245. As a result, Sligo became an important crossroads strategically and commercially. Sligo Abbey is the only medieval building left standing in the town.

Twin cities

Sligo is twinned with three towns/cities (sister cities), namely:

There are regular trade and tourism links with these cities throughout the year.

Other items of interest

Get in

By rail

Córas Iompar Éireann

Both Iarnród Éireann and Bus Éireann are separate parts of a state-owned company, which is sometimes still known by its old name of CIE (Córas Iompar Éireann, which means Irish Travel Company). They both arrive at the same location in Sligo, at the junction of Strandhill Road and Lord Edward Street. The train station's called Stáisiúin Mhic Dhiarmada, named after Seán MacDiarmada, a signatory of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic in 1916, and originally from nearby County Leitrim.

By road

By bus

From Dublin: 6 buses daily M-Sa, 5 on Su and Public Holidays, journey time: 3.5-4h.
From Galway: 6 buses daily M-Sa, 5 on Su and Public Holidays, journey time: 2.5h.
From Belfast: 3 buses daily M-Sa (change at Enniskillen), 2 on Su (change at Dungannon), journey time just under 4h.
Bus Éireann prices are approximately half that of the train but buses can be a bit stuffy! Similar concessions/price reductions apply as for train travel.

From Gweedore (via Letterkenny): 2 buses daily M-Sa, 3 on F, 3 on Su, journey time 3 hours 15 minutes. From Galway (Cathedral): 2 buses daily M-Sa, 4 on F, 4 on Su, journey time 2h.

By car

Get around

Sligo town, at 12.9km² (5 sq mi), is small enough to walk from one end to the other in an hour.

Garavogue River, in Sligo

Local buses

There are buses which run from the main bus station to Strandhill (Route 472) and Rosses Point (Route 473) (small nearby coastal towns) regularly. There are also two city services around the town and surrounding area (Route 478, runs M-Sa about every 20 minutes from Cartron (on the R291 Rosses Point Road), via the town center to Cairns Road and back again to Cartron and Route 478A, M-Sa every hour from the Bus Station via Strandhill Road to Carrowmore). There is also a Nightrider service (Route 478N F,Sa approximately hourly 20:30-02:30) which leaves from Sligo Town to nearby towns of Collooney, Ballisodare, Strandhill and Rosses Point.


As in many parts of Ireland, parking spaces can be difficult to find, although most hotels and bed and breakfasts have their own free parking for residents only. If you wish to park in the town, there are a number of local authority operated car parks dotted around the town. To park in a public car park or on the street in most parts of the town centre, you must pay and display at the nearest meter. Parking costs €1.20 per hour (generally between the hours of 8:30AM-6:30PM. M-Su, although some locations have different pay times or days). Parking costs can be paid for by Euro coins, credit cards or mobile phone. You can prepay for your parking if you park outside these hours, i.e., If you leave you car overnight, you can pay for your parking from 08:30 the next morning. Please note, if paying by coins, the machine does not give change, so you should try to have exact change available. You will, however, receive a parking disc for the remainder of the next hour, e.g., pay €2, and you get a disc for 1 hour 40 minutes. Some car parks allow for all-day parking at a special rate. The meters in these car parks will display this option. If you don't pay, or your time has run out, you may receive a parking ticket, with an on-the-spot fine of €40, or €80 if you park illegally in a wheelchair-user only zone (always marked, often with blue paint).

There are also some private car-parks which have different rates of payment (and different punishments if you don't pay). The (Catholic) Cathedral, for example, uses barriers, with payment of €3 when leaving the car-park. If you can leave your car until church services (mass) times, you may be able to leave without paying (but do you want to cheat the church?) Parking at Sligo General Hospital is metered, and costs €2.40 for up to four hours, or €4 for up to 24 hours. The local bus (Route 478) passes just outside the hospital every 20 minutes during the day, and costs 70 cent to bring you into town. If you don't pay for your parking at this carpark you are liable to be clamped, with a release fee of €65.



All the directions to places given in this guide to Sligo presume that you are walking. There may be other, faster ways of getting to where you're going (if you're driving/cycling for example), but if you follow these directions in a car or bike, you may find yourself travelling the wrong way down one of Sligo's many (sometimes confusing) one-way/pedestrianised streets.
Unless otherwise stated, directions to where to sleep are from the Train/Bus Station, and to everywhere else (i.e., See, Do, Etc.) are from the junction of Wine Street and O'Connell Street, standing with your back to the General Post Office (GPO), facing down the pedestrianised O'Connell Street.



Statue of W.B. Yeats in Sligo


Most of the shops in Sligo are concentrated in a small area, based around O'Connell Street, Wine Street and Grattan Street. It also has a two new shopping centres, Johnston Court and The Quayside. The town has a huge range of the normal High Street shops, including most of the Irish and British chains. These include clothing, grocery, electronics, books, music, sports, fotwear, Etc., Etc. Apart from all of those, there are a number of one-off shops in Sligo, which make it well worth the visit. Just a small selection of these is outlined below.


This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget under €15
Mid-range €15-€40
Splurge €40+

The choice of good quality restaurants in Sligo has improved immensely over the last few years. Please note, that all the hotels listed in the Sleep section below also have restaurants, and many have carvery lunches served at the bar.






Rockwood Parade, Sligo, location of some great bars, clubs and restaurants on the riverside



This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget under €50
Mid-range €50-€150
Splurge €150+

Bed and Breakfasts

Holiday apartments

Why do the Holidays Apartments have the same phone number?

Milligan Place, Yeats Village, Clarion Holiday Village and The Grove Clarion are all managed by Albanne Tourism



The Glasshouse (rear)



As elsewhere in Ireland, phone numbers in Sligo comprise an area code (071) and a local number (7 digits). All phone numbers shown in this guide display both the area code and the local number. When calling from a landline within the same area, you can ignore the area code, or leave it in, as you wish. If you are calling from another area within Ireland or from a mobile phone, you must use the area code. Likewise, if you are calling internationally, you must use the following format: Your international access code + 353 + 71 + the local number, i.e., you drop the 0 from the area code.


Stay safe

Crime is relatively low by most European standards but not very different. As with any sizeable town in Ireland, visitors and locals alike can feel intimidated by the large crowds hanging around outside fast food outlets, pubs and clubs, usually between the hours of 00:00 and 03:00 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. These areas are generally well patrolled by Gardaí (police), but best avoided, where possible.

If you need the emergency services (Gardaí, ambulance, fire service, coast guard or mountain rescue) dial 999 or 112 from any phone.



There are three weekly newspapers in Sligo. If you're looking for entertainment listings, either the Champion or Weekender are fine, if you want to know what's the official business/political line on something local in Sligo, the Champion is required reading, the Post is hardly worth the price (it's free).

Religious services

There are places of worship all over the town; your hotel or Bed and Breakfast should be able to direct you to one nearby. If not, though, the following are centrally located in the town.

Roman Catholic

Church of Ireland/Anglican

Go next

Glencar Waterfall, approximately 15 km (10 mi) from Sligo
Strandhill surfing

Sligo is very well located for exploring the Northwest Ireland and Lakelands area of Ireland, and the following are very easily accessible as day trips:

County Sligo.

An old local tradition has it that a climber should bring a stone from the bottom of the mountain and place it on the cairn on the top. Failure to do so, according to the legend, will result in your dreams being haunted by the Queen Maeve herself!

County Donegal. The forgotten county, Donegal has some of the best scenery anywhere in Ireland. It is also probably the least developed county (from a tourist perspective) in Ireland, due to its relative isolation, and proximity to the border with Northern Ireland.

County Leitrim. The least densely populated county in Ireland, and suffered much from emigration, particularly during the 1950s to 1990s. In recent years the population has started to rise, and consequently, more development is occurring all over the county.

County Mayo.

County Galway.

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