Sligo is Surprising

'Sligo is surprising,' says the tourism slogan - and indeed it is!

'Benbulben? Is that where the sheep hang on with one hand and eat with the other,' an American once inquired of me. Perhaps they do. Anything is possible here! From our first glimpse of this unique mountains' towering limestone slopes, our imagination is captured. Even in a land already distinguished by unsurpassed scenic beauty, this natural monument at once marks County Sligo as unique.
'I have the same sort of feeling here that I've had when looking at the pyramids - of something which has seen a lot and knows a lot,' is how the writer, Owen Tweedy, put it.

The Yeats brothers
The poet W.B. Yeats was no less enthusiastic: 'The place that really influenced my life was Sligo,' he wrote. His brother Jack, who painted many of its moods and people was equally pasionate: 'Sligo was my school; and the sky above it,' he enthused. These remarkable brothers had a lifetime love affair with the county that has been reciprocated in full measure. In the form of the Yeats International Summer School that, each year, attracts Yeats devotees from all over the world, the romance continues. In Drumcliffe churchyard, under 'bare Benbulben's head' the poet's bones are laid to rest in the Sligo soil he loved so well.
'The Land of Heart's Desire' is how W.B. described it. And who can argue? It must have always seemed so, starting with the first land-hungry colonists who viewed Benbulben's lofty towers from the wild Atlantic to the O'Neill and the O'Donnell of a later time. 'Yes this is the Promised Land,' we can hear them say. 'Here is a land worth fighting for.'

Modern Sligo
Today, Sligo is a flourishing commerical industrial and marketing centre, the largest town in the North-West with a population of about twenty thousand. Situated at the mouth of the Garavogue River, flowing from Lough Gill, it is surrounded by mountains- Benbulben (526m)) and Truskmore(645m) to the north. Queen Maeve's Knocknaera to the West and the Ox mountains to the South.

Sligo Town is a vibrant and lively region and home to a great selection of accommodation, pubs, restaurants and cafés. If you are looking for warm hospitality and experience Irish culture first-hand, then Sligo is the place for you. It's hotels and B&Bs are renowned for its friendly hosts and comfortable surroundings that offer modern facilities, whilst retaining their cosy home from home appeal. This website will provide you with many useful links to further information. As it is vitally important to find a convenient hotel in advance of your visit it will also provide you with multiple choices of accommodation in Sligo. Click HERE to make the best choice in choosing your accommodation options.


When in Sligo do make sure to take a trip with:

Inishmurray Island Tours

also: Seal Watch, Historical Cruises, Daytrips to Killybegs...


Go to "books" for Island Voices, Joe McGowan's publication on the history and heritage of mystical Inishmurray island...

" almost vanished world of superstition and magic." - Anna Carey, The Sunday Tribune

Experience the romance and mystery of Inishmurrray island aboard the fast mv Excalibur. Keith, will reveal the secrets of the island as you travel.

Sceilg Michael, Inisheer, Inishmaan, Tory: these are all enchanted places that call to mind visions of offshore islands shrouded in romance and mystery, repositories of culture and customs lost and gone forever on the more accessible mainland.

St Molaise founded a Christian Monastery on Inishmurray in the 6th century, the remains of which are remarkably intact to this day. This remote and mystical island, four miles from the coast of Sligo, excels all others for its state of preservation as an early Christian site, for its wild scenery and as a wildlife sanctuary.

For more on Inishmurray see short stories:

"Inishmurray, Land of Gale, Stone and Fire" and "The Other Atlantis" in Archives

Planning a family get-together? A company outing? Can't think of an original gift to give for a birthday, wedding or anniversary?

A gift certificate of a day trip to Inishmurray is the ideal answer!
Contact us


Remote and mystical Inishmurray is uniquely preserved as an early Christian site and wildlife sanctuary. Vestiges of pagan and Christian beliefs abide here in harmony.

Click here to enlarge.




A sealwatch tour allows you to observe the thriving seal colony off the Sligo coast. Photo courtesy John Fitzsimmons.

Click here to enlarge.



‘Excalibur’ is Dept. of Marine licensed to European safety standards.

Click here to see a larger image of 'Excalibur'...

Contact Keith at 071 9142738 (days) or mobile: 087-2540190 anytime
Click here to email

A distinguished visitor to Inishmurray, July 2006: Jean Kennedy-Smith (third from right) and friends; beside her, skipper Keith Clarke and Director of National Museum Pat Wallace. Mullaghmore harbour in background.


Knocknarea Honey

Keith Clarke, beekeeper

Skipper Keith Clarke's sideline is beekeeping (picture left). His apiary produces some of the finest honey in Ireland: Pot, Section, Cut-comb, Light flower, Dark blossom, Chunk, Heather, Granulated and Creamed honeys. This year the yield was exceptionally fine from an unusually profuse flowering of whitethorn which is said to occur once every seven years. Honey from whitethorn blossom has especially curative properties.

Enquiries to: Knocknarea Honey




website copyright Joe McGowan 2005. design: mangiare