Sligo

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Sligo
Sligeach
Town
Clockwise from top: View of Garavogue River along JFK Parade, Sligo Abbey, IT Sligo Main Entrance, Clarion Hotel, City Hall, Glasshouse Hotel.
Clockwise from top: View of Garavogue River along JFK Parade, Sligo Abbey, IT Sligo Main Entrance, Clarion Hotel, City Hall, Glasshouse Hotel.
Sligo is located in Ireland
Sligo
Sligo
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 54°16′00″N 8°29′00″W / 54.2667°N 8.4833°W / 54.2667; -8.4833Coordinates: 54°16′00″N 8°29′00″W / 54.2667°N 8.4833°W / 54.2667; -8.4833
Country Ireland
Province Connacht
County County Sligo
Dáil Éireann Sligo–North Leitrim
EU Parliament North–West
Area[1]
 • Total 12.9 km2 (5.0 sq mi)
Elevation 13 m (43 ft)
Population (2011)[2] 19,452
Irish Grid Reference G685354
Dialing code +353 71
Website www.sligoborough.ie

Sligo (Irish: Sligeach, meaning "abounding in shells" — /ˈslɡ/ 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 was formerly a major commercial port on the west coast of Ireland, and is now 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, Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth and Monaghan.[3]

An aerial view of Sligo

The town is also an important tourist destination, owing mainly to the renowned natural beauty of the surrounding countryside and its literary and cultural associations.

Location[edit]

Situated on the coastal plain facing the Atlantic Ocean, the town is located on low gravel hills on the banks of the Garavogue river between Lough Gill and the estuary leading to Sligo bay. It is an important bridging point on the main north/south route between Ulster and Connacht. It is within County Sligo, the Barony of Carbury and formerly the tuath of (Cairbre Drom Cliabh). It is within the Diocese of Elphin and is the seat of the bishops of this diocese.

Etymology[edit]

Sligo is an English corruption of the Irish name Sligeach – meaning "abounding in shells" – referring to the abundance of shellfish found in the river and its estuary, and from the extensive 'shell middens' in the vicinity.[4] [5] The river now known as the Garavogue (Irish: An Gharbhóg) meaning "little rough one" was originally called the Sligeach.[6] It is listed as one of the seven "royal rivers" of Ireland in the 9th century CE tale The Destruction of Da Dergas Hostel.

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". 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.

History[edit]

Early History[edit]

The significance of Sligo's location in the Early Neolithic period is demonstrated by the abundance of ancient sites close by. So much so that Sligo town's first roundabout was constructed around a megalithic passage tomb (Abbeyquarter North, in Garavogue Villas[7]).

Carrowmore, on the Cuil Irra peninsula, on the western outskirts of the town. Knocknarea mountain, capped by the great cairn Miosgan Maeve, dominates the skyline to the west of the town. Cairns hill on the southern edge of the town has two large stone cairns.

Excavations for the NRA for the N4 Sligo Inner Relief Road in 2002 revealed a Bronze Age Henge at Tonafortes (beside the Carraroe roundabout) and an early Neolithic causewayed enclosure (c. 4000 B.C.) at Magheraboy on high ground overlooking the town. This is the oldest causewayed enclosure so far discovered in Britain or Ireland.[8] It consists of a large area enclosed by a segmented ditch and palisade, and was perhaps an area of commerce and ritual. According to archaeologist Edward Danagher, who excavated the site, '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'.[9]

Sligo is a possible location for the town noted as Nagnata on Claudius Ptolemy's 2nd century CE co-ordinate map of the world.[10]

Medieval History[edit]

The town is unusual in that it is the only major Irish town to have been under continuous Gaelic control throughout the Medieval period. It was the administrative centre of the O'Conor Sligo (O'Conchobar Sligigh) over-kingdom of Iochtar Connacht (Lower Connacht). Also called Clan Aindrias, they were a branch of the O'Conchobar dynasty of Kings of Connacht. The other territories subject to here were Tireragh (Tir Fhiacrach), Leyney (Lúighne), Tirerill (Tir Olliol) and Corran.

Maurice Fitzgerald, the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, is generally credited with the establishment of the medieval town of Sligo, building the Castle of Sligo in 1245. The annalists refer to this Sligo as a sraidbhaile ('street settlement'): a village or town not defended by an enclosure or wall, and consisting of one street.

A Dominican Friary was also founded by Maurice Fitzgerald and Felim mac Cathal Crobderg Ua Conchobair in 1253 but was accidentally destroyed by fire in 1414, and was subsequently rebuilt in its present form.

In 1257, the battle of Credran Cille took place at Ros Ceite (Rosses Point) between Godfrey O'Donnell, Lord of Tirconnell, and Maurice Fitzgerald, both commanders were mortally wounded in single combat. This battle halted Norman expansion in the northwest of Ireland.

Sligo was burned, sacked or besieged approximately 49 times during the medieval period, according to the annals of Ireland.

Despite this, 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".

In the late 16th century, during the Elizabethan conquest, Sligo was selected as the County town for the newly shired County of Sligo. 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…"[11] The walls were never built.

Sligo Abbey, the Dominican Friary, is the only medieval building left standing in the town. Much of the structure, including the choir, carved altar (the only one in situ in Ireland) and cloisters remains.

When Sir Frederick Hamilton's Parliamentarian soldiers partially sacked Sligo Town in 1642, the Friary was burned and many friars killed.

In 1798 a mixed force of the Limerick Militia, Essex Fencibles and local yeomanry under a Colonel Vereker [12] were defeated at the battle of Carricknagat at Collooney by the combined Irish and French forces under General Humbert. A street in the town is named after the hero of this battle Bartholomew Teeling. The Lady Erin monument at Market Cross was erected in 1899 to mark the centenary of the 1798 Rebellion.[13]

19th Century[edit]

Cholera Epidemic[edit]

The town suffered badly from a cholera epidemic in 1832. Scholars speculate that (Bram Stoker, whose mother Charlotte Blake Thornley was probably (there are no records and the family lived in both Sligo and Ballyshannon)[14] born in Sligo in 1818 [15] and experienced the epidemic first hand, was influenced by her stories when he wrote his famous novel, Dracula). The family lived on Correction Street in the town. After fleeing to Ballyshannon Charlotte wrote

“At the end of that time, we were able to live in peace till the plague had abated and we could return to Sligo. There, we found the streets grass-grown and five-eighths of the population dead. We had great reason to thank God who had spared us”.[14]

Great Famine[edit]

The Great Famine between 1847 and 1851 caused over 30,000 people to emigrate through the port of Sligo.[16] On the Quays, overlooking the Garavogue River, is a cast bronze 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."

20th Century[edit]

War of Independence

Civil War

Climate[edit]

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)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C (°F) 5.2
(41.4)
5.5
(41.9)
7.1
(44.8)
8.6
(47.5)
11.1
(52)
13.6
(56.5)
15.3
(59.5)
14.9
(58.8)
13.1
(55.6)
10.2
(50.4)
7.3
(45.1)
5.6
(42.1)
9.8
(49.6)
Rainfall mm (inches) 130.8
(5.15)
91.6
(3.606)
108.9
(4.287)
77.9
(3.067)
81.4
(3.205)
82.2
(3.236)
93.0
(3.661)
101.5
(3.996)
104.4
(4.11)
134.3
(5.287)
128.4
(5.055)
125.7
(4.949)
1,260.1
(49.61)
Source: Met Éireann[17]

Media and the Arts[edit]

Sligo was a significant inspiration on both poet and Nobel laureate W. B. Yeats and his brother the artist, illustrator and comics pioneer Jack Butler Yeats. An extensive collection of Jack B Yeats art is held in the Model Niland Gallery on the Mall.

Yeats Summer School takes place every year in the town and attracts scholars from all over the world, notably Japan.

Sligo town recently highlighted its connections with Goon Show star and writer Spike Milligan, whose father was from Sligo, by unveiling a plaque at the former Milligan family home at Number 5 Holborn Street.

Sligo is the birthplace of the Irish boy band Westlife.

Festivals[edit]

Sligo hosts many festivals throughout the year 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 & 2015.

Sligo Jazz Project which happens every July is also very popular.

Media[edit]

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 Leitrim and Sligo and to parts of County Fermanagh and the south of County Donegal, and West youth radio station i102-104FM, which merged with its sister station i105-107FM in 2011 to create iRadio.

Entertainment[edit]

Sligo has a vibrant nightlife, and is a popular destination for local residents and a sizable student population. Sligo has several nightclubs and late bars, particularly along the riverside, an area successfully redeveloped during the 90's. The town has also become a popular destination for stag and hen parties from all over the country. There are also many pubs and music venues with traditional and contemporary music throughout the year.

A large multiscreen cinema, The Gaiety Cinema is on Wine St.

Many world renowned performers have played in Sligo over the years.

Sligo is home to Sligo Baroque Orchestra a string and wind ensemblec specialising in Baroque and early classical era Music.

The Garavogue River and Rockwood Parade (right)

Theatre[edit]

Sligo has a strong tradition of theatre, both professional and amateur. With 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.

In Media[edit]

Sligo town is the gritty setting for author Declan Burkes' series of hard boiled detective novels, featuring detective Harry Rigby.[18]

Sebastian Barrys novels The Secret Scripture and The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty are also set in Sligo town.

Education[edit]

Primary[edit]

  • Carbury NS, The Mall (Church of Ireland)
  • Gaelscoil Chnoc Na Ré, Ballydoogan (Irish Language – Roman Catholic)
  • Our Lady of Mercy NS, Pearse Road (Roman Catholic)
  • Scoil Ursula NS, 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. Enda's NS, Carraroe* (Roman Catholic)
  • St. John's NS, Temple Street (Roman Catholic)
  • St. Joseph's Special School, Ballytivnan (Roman Catholic)

Secondary[edit]

  • Ballinode Community College, Ballinode (Non Demominational)
  • Mercy College, Chapel Hill (All girls – Roman Catholic)
  • Sligo Grammar School, The Mall (Church of Ireland)
  • St. Joseph's Special School, Ballytivnan (Roman Catholic)
  • Summerhill College, Circular Road (All boys – Roman Catholic)
  • Ursuline College, Finisklin (All girls – Roman Catholic)

Third level[edit]

*Located outside the Borough Boundary

Local Government[edit]

Sligo town is a borough with a Royal Charter issued by James 1st dating from 1613. See High Sherriff of Sligo, the local government is being reformed in 2014.

Sport[edit]

Football[edit]

The town is home to 2012 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.

Gaelic Games[edit]

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.

Rugby[edit]

Sligo RFC is situated at Hamilton Park, Strandhill, 8 km west of the town. They participate in the Ulster Bank All-Ireland League Division 2B.

Surfing[edit]

Sligo (in particular Strandhill) has a strong surfing tradition with many locals and visitors learning to surf in the area.

Golf[edit]

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.

Basketball[edit]

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.

Horse Racing[edit]

Sligo Racecourse at Cleveragh hosts race days at least 8 times per year.

Other Sports[edit]

Other popular sports in Sligo and surrounding areas include Athletics, Boxing, Martial Arts, Rowing, Swimming & Tennis.

Transport[edit]

Sligo Hub & Gateway access

Road[edit]

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.

Rail[edit]

Sligo acquired a rail link to Dublin on 3 December 1862, with the opening of Sligo railway station.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21]

Map of the West of Ireland.
Western Rail Corridor ex-GSWR line south of Limerick in green,
other ex-MGWR lines are in red.

Air[edit]

Sligo Town and County Sligo are served by Sligo Airport, 8 km (5.0 mi) from Sligo town and close to Strandhill village, though no scheduled flights currently operate out of the airport.

Bus[edit]

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.[22] 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.[23]

Feda O'Donnell offers routes to and from Gweedore to the west of Ireland, including Sligo and Galway, via Ballyshannon.

Shopping[edit]

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.

Health Services[edit]

Sligo provides hospital services to part of the North Western region. The two main hospitals are Sligo General Hospital and Saint John's Hospital.

Development[edit]

Like many towns in the west of Ireland, Sligo suffered for many years from a lack of development, mainly[citation needed] 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).

Twinning[edit]

Sligo is twinned with the following places:

Sister cities[edit]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "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. 
  2. ^ "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. 
  3. ^ "County Profiles – Sligo". Western Development Commission. Archived from the original on 18 November 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2008. 
  4. ^ Wood-Martin's History of Sligo, 1882
  5. ^ "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" 
  6. ^ Sligo Heritage Website, Article first published in the Sligo Champion by Dr. Nollaig O'Muraille MRIA, NUI Galway [1]
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ http://www.nra.ie/archaeology/archaeology-ireland-articles/
  9. ^ Danaher, Edward (2007). Monumental beginnings: the archaeology of the N4 Sligo Inner Relief Road. Wordwell Books. ISBN 978-1-905569-15-1. 
  10. ^ http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00750770801909375#.Uy3Rmhz1vpU
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ http://www.sligolibrary.ie/sligolibrarynew/media/MILITARY%20(14).pdf
  13. ^ "Lady Erin statue". Sligo Town website. 
  14. ^ a b http://www.donegalhistory.com/old/DA57.pdf
  15. ^ http://www.bramstokerestate.com/Charlotte-Blake-Thornley_-Stoker-Bram-Abraham-Sligo-Dublin-.html
  16. ^ Norton, Desmond (2003). "Lord Palmerston and the Irish Famine Emigration: A Rejoinder". Cambridge University Press, the Historical Journal (46): 155–165. 
  17. ^ "Climate – Monthly Data – Markree". Met Éireann. 
  18. ^ http://jsydneyjones.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/celtic-crime-declan-burkes-sligo/
  19. ^ "Sligo station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 7 September 2007. 
  20. ^ Gilligan, James (19 December 2006). "Restore name to Sligo rail station". Sligo Weekender. Sligo Weekender Ltd. Retrieved 3 July 2007. 
  21. ^ "Timetables and Service Updates – Iarnród Éireann – Irish Rail". Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  22. ^ "Sligo City Services – Bus Éireann". Bus Éireann timetable. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  23. ^ "Intercity Services – Bus Éireann". Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  24. ^ "Tallahassee Irish Society". Retrieved 18 November 2012. 

External links[edit]