|Garavogue River along JFK Parade, Sligo Abbey, IT Sligo Main Entrance, Clarion Hotel, City Hall, Glasshouse Hotel.|
|Dáil Éireann||Sligo–North Leitrim|
|• Total||12.9 km2 (5.0 sq mi)|
|Elevation||13 m (43 ft)|
|Irish Grid Reference||G685354|
|Dialing code||+353 71|
Sligo (Irish: Sligeach, meaning "shelly place" — // SLY-goh; Irish pronunciation: [ˈɕlʲɪɟəx]) is the county town and the most populous urban area in County Sligo, Ireland. With a population of 19,452 in 2011, it is the second-largest urban centre in the province of Connacht, after Galway and the twenty fourth overall in Ireland.
Sligo is a major economic, educational, administrative and cultural centre of Ireland's Border Region, a region of over 500,000 people which comprises the counties of Sligo, Donegal, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth.
Sligo is a major commercial port on the west coast of Ireland and the country's most northerly on the Atlantic Ocean. In recent years, Sligo and its surrounding suburbs have experienced significant economic and population growth; over the last decade, Sligo was the fastest-growing settlement in the Border Region. The town is also one of Ireland's most important tourist destinations, owing mainly to the renowned natural beauty of the surrounding countryside and its literary and cultural associations, which include significant ties to poet and Nobel laureate W. B. Yeats and writer Spike Milligan.
- 1 History
- 2 Climate
- 3 Media and the Arts
- 4 Education
- 5 Sport
- 6 Transport
- 7 Shopping
- 8 Health Services
- 9 Development
- 10 Twinning
- 11 Sister cities
- 12 Gallery
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Sligo's Irish name Sligeach – meaning shelly place – allegedly originates in the abundance of shellfish found in the river and its estuary, and from the extensive 'shell middens' or Stone Age food preparation areas in the vicinity.  The river known as the Garavogue (Irish: An Gharbhóg) meaning "young rough" was once called the Sligeach. The Ordnance Survey 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 Bay, is rich in marine resources which were utilised as far back as the Mesolithic period.
The significance of Sligo in the Early Neolithic period is demonstrated by the abundance of ancient sites close by, not least Carrowmore, on the Cuil Irra peninsula, 3 km (1.9 mi) from the town. The NRA excavation for the N4 Sligo Inner Relief Road in 2002 revealed an early Neolithic causewayed enclosure (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 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, the Dominican Friary, is the only mediaeval building left standing in the town (Bram Stoker, whose mother came from Sligo,[clarification needed] 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 of Sligo. On the Quays, overlooking the Garavogue 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. A plaque in the background, headed 'Letter to America, 2 January 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 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."
Like most of Ireland, Sligo's climate is characterised by high levels of precipitation and a narrow annual temperature range. The mean January temperature is 5.2 °C (41 °F), while the mean July temperature is 15.3 °C (60 °F). On average, the driest months are April to June while the wettest months are October to January.
|Climate data for Markree Castle, Co. Sligo (1981–2010 averages)|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||5.2
|Rainfall mm (inches)||130.8
|Source: Met Éireann|
Media and the Arts
Sligo has hosted many festivals including Sligo Live occurring every October, The Sligo Summer Festival which celebrated the 400th anniversary of Sligo town and The Fleadh Cheoil which the town hosted in three consecutive years (1989, 1990 & 1991) and will host again in 2014.
There are three local newspapers in Sligo: The Sligo Weekender – out every Thursday (formerly Tuesday), The Northwest Express – out every Thursday and The Sligo Champion – out every Tuesday (formerly Wednesday). In November 2012 a monthly magazine, Sligo Now, was launched to serve as an entertainment guide for the town.
The town has two local/regional radio stations: Ocean FM, broadcasting to Counties Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo and West youth radio station i102-104FM which merged with its sister station i105-107FM in 2011 to create iRadio.
The town is a popular nightlife destination for local residents and students of the IT Sligo and St. Angela's College. Nightclubs in the town include The Clarence, The Garavogue, Pure, Toffs and The Velvet Room. World renowned acts have performed in Sligo in the past including Mark Ronson, Deadmau5, Mr Hudson and The Prodigy. There are also many notable pubs in Sligo including Cahenys, Foleys, The Harp Tavern, Kennedys, McHughs, Mooneys, Shenanigans, Thomas Connollys, Hargadon Brothers, Shoot The Crows and The Village Inn.
Sligo has a professional theatre company, The Blue Raincoat Theatre Company, founded in 1990. Sligo is also home to Hawk's Well Theatre where many acts such as Des Bishop and Tommy Tiernan have performed.
- Carbury NS, The Mall (Church of Ireland)
- Gaelscoil Chnoc Na Ré, Ballydoogan (Irish Language – Roman Catholic)
- Our Lady of Mercy Primary School, Pearse Road (Roman Catholic)
- Scoil Ursula/Scoil Náisiúnta, Knappagh Road (Roman Catholic)
- Sligo School Project, St. Anne's Terrace (Non-denominational)
- St. Brendan's NS, Cartron (Roman Catholic)
- St. Edward's NS, Ballytivnan (Roman Catholic)
- St. John's NS, Temple Street (Roman Catholic)
- St. Joseph's Special School, Ballytivnan (Special Needs – Roman Catholic)
- Ballinode Community College, Ballinode (Vocational)
- Mercy College, Chapel Hill (All girls – Roman Catholic)
- Sligo Grammar School, The Mall (Church of Ireland)
- St. Joseph's Special School, Ballytivnan (Special Needs – Roman Catholic)
- Summerhill College, Circular Road (All boys – Roman Catholic)
- Ursuline College, Finisklin (All girls – Roman Catholic)
- *Located outside the Borough Boundary
The town is home to 2012[update] League of Ireland Premier Division champions Sligo Rovers, who have played home matches at The Showgrounds since they were founded in 1928. There are also a sizeable number of junior football clubs who play in the Sligo/Leitrim & District league from the town, the list includes Calry Bohemians, Cartron United, City United & St. John's FC who play in the Super League and Glenview Stars, MCR FC, Merville United & Swagman Wanderers who play in the Premier League. Football is the dominant and most popular sport in Sligo town. Both Sligo Rovers and St. John's FC have recently been invited to play in the new Connacht Senior League which was due to start in the winter of 2013 but has been postponed for a later date. It was originally held from 1981 to 2000, Sligo Rovers played in this league previously.
There are three GAA clubs located in and around the town, they are Calry/St. Joseph's of Hazelwood, St. John's of Cuilbeg & St. Mary's of Ballydoogan with Coolera/Strandhill of Ransboro also being close by. St. John's & St. Mary's compete in the Senior Football Championship while Calry/St. Joseph's compete in the Intermediate Football Championship and the Senior Hurling Championship, these clubs also field Junior, Ladies, Minor and Underage teams. Many of the major Gaelic football & Hurling matches such as an inter-county game or a club championship final take place at Markievicz Park.
Sligo (in particular Strandhill) has a strong surfing tradition with many locals and visitors learning to surf in the area.
There are two nearby golf courses, Co. Sligo (Rosses Point) Golf Club and Strandhill Golf Club. Also just north of the borough boundary at Lisnalurg, there is Pitch and Putt called Bertie's. Rosses Point is notable for hosting the West of Ireland Championship in which future golfing superstar Rory McIlroy won in consecutive years, 2005 & 2006.
Two basketball clubs cater for the town, they are Sligo All-Stars, based at the Mercy College Gymnasium and Sligo Giant Warriors, whose venue is the Sligo Grammar Gymnasium.
Other popular sports in Sligo and surrounding areas include Athletics, Boxing, Hockey, Horse Racing, Martial Arts, Rowing, Sailing, Swimming & Tennis
The main roads to Sligo are the N4 to Dublin, the N17 to Galway, the N15 to Lifford, County Donegal; and the N16 to Blacklion, County Cavan, and continues as the A4 road (Northern Ireland) to Enniskillen. The section of the N4 road between Sligo and Collooney is a dual carriageway. The first phase of this road was completed in January 1998, bypassing the towns of Collooney and Ballysadare. 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 has a certain amount of cycleways in proximity to the town and various road traffic calming measures have been installed helping to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
Sligo acquired a rail link to Dublin on 3 December 1862, with the opening of Sligo railway station. Connections to Enniskillen and the north followed in 1881 and Limerick 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 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 Sligo Mac Diarmada Station after Irish rebel Seán Mac Diarmada from County Leitrim. Iarnród Éireann, Ireland's national railway operator, runs inter-city rail services on the Dublin-Sligo railway line. There are currently up to eight trains daily each way between Sligo and Dublin Connolly, with a frequency of every two hours.
Bus Éireann operates four bus routes in the town: one serves the town centre and the other the west of the town. The other two routes run from the town to Strandhill and Rosses Point respectively. Bus Éireann also provides inter-city services to Enniskillen via Manorhamilton, to Derry, to Galway via Knock Airport, and to Dublin via Dublin Airport and towns along the N4 road.
Sligo has a variety of independent retail stores and has seen new shopping malls constructed in the town. The main shopping streets are Wine Street, O'Connell Street, Grattan Street, Stephen Street, High Street, Market Street and Castle Street. Parking meters are unfortunately endemic on Sligo's shopping streets.
Just on the periphery of Sligo in Carraroe there is a retail park that has outlets like Homebase, Smyths Toystore and PC World.
Sligo provides hospital services to part of the North Western region. The two main hospitals are Sligo General Hospital and Saint John's Hospital.
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, Brittany, France
- Illapel, Choapa Province, Chile
- Kempten, Bavaria, Germany
- Tallahassee, Florida, United States
Statue of W. B. Yeats outside the Ulster Bank
- Development of Sligo
- List of Sligo people
- List of towns and villages in Ireland
- Sligo GAA
- Sligo Gaol
- Sligo Rovers F.C.
- Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh
- "Table 6 – Population and area of each Province, County, City, urban area, rural area and Electoral Division, 2002 and 2006" (PDF). Census 2006, Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area. Central Statistics Office. 26 April 2007. pp. 111–112. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
- "Table 7 – Persons in each town of 1,500 population and over, ..." (PDF). Census 2006, Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area. Central Statistics Office. 26 April 2007. p. 119. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
- "County Profiles – Sligo". Western Development Commission. Archived from the original on 18 November 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2008.
- Wood-Martin's History of Sligo, 1882
- "History of Sligo". Sligo Borough Council – About Us. Retrieved 13 May 2008. "The scallop shells [...] were once abundant in the estuary at the mouth of the Garavogue – a river once known as the 'Sligeach', or 'shelly place', giving Sligo its name"
- Joyce, LL.D., M.R.I.A., P.W. "Irish Local Names Explained". Library Ireland. libraryireland.com. Archived from the original on 7 April 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2007. "Sligo; (not correct)named from the river: Sligeach [Sliggagh], F. M., shelly river (slig, a shell).It is more likely to have originated from "Slige atha da" anglice "the place of two fords or crossings. These were at Cartron and Ballisodare (Ballydrehid) in the days when travel was on shanks mare. Ireland was heavily wooded hence most travel was coastal. Sligo was a place of importance on the north/south way. The Cuill Iarra peninsula lies in the middle between the Sligo River and Ballisodare Bay, with the Carrowkeel Megalithic Cemetery in the middle. This cemetery would have been an important place of pilgrimage for travellers to visit. Through elision etc the sound of the name altered down the centuries, hence the 'shell theory'."
- Danaher, Edward (2007). Monumental beginnings: the archaeology of the N4 Sligo Inner Relief Road. Wordwell Books. ISBN 978-1-905569-15-1.
- Bergh, Stefan (1995). Landscape of the monuments. A study of the passage tombs in the Cúil Irra region, Co. Sligo, Ireland. Stockholm: Riksantikvarieämbetet Arkeologiska Undersökningar. ISBN 91-7192-945-2.
- Wood-Martin, W.G. (1892). History of Sligo, County and Town. From the accession of James 1. to the Revolution of 1688. Vol. 2. Dublin: Hodge & Figgis.
- Norton, Desmond (2003). "Lord Palmerston and the Irish Famine Emigration: A Rejoinder". Cambridge University Press, the Historical Journal (46): 155–165.
- "Lady Erin statue". Sligo Town website.
- "Climate – Monthly Data – Markree". Met Éireann.
- "Sligo station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 7 September 2007.
- Gilligan, James (19 December 2006). "Restore name to Sligo rail station". Sligo Weekender. Sligo Weekender Ltd. Retrieved 3 July 2007.
- "Timetables and Service Updates – Iarnród Éireann – Irish Rail". Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "Sligo City Services – Bus Éireann". Bus Éireann timetable. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- "Intercity Services – Bus Éireann". Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "Tallahassee Irish Society". Retrieved 18 November 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sligo.|
|Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Sligo.|
- Official site – Sligo Borough Council
- Sligo Cathedral Group (Church of Ireland)
- Sligo Heritage
- Sligo Town and the surrounding area
- Sligo Methodist Church
- Sligo Presbyterian Church
- Sligo Town on the Net
- CraicTunes.ie – Traditional & Contemporary Music Downloads from Sligo
- Sligo travel guide from Wikivoyage
- "Sligo. The capital of County Sligo, Ireland". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.