I’ll tell you the secret no other blogger will tell you. Sure, Sligo is an amazing place – perhaps even the best I saw while in Ireland. But the vast majority of Sligo Ireland’s sights are far from town and you will need to use public transport or have a car.
I’ll divide Sligo Ireland’s Sights into two sections – ones you can see without a car and ones you can see with. So let’s take a look at the place few people go but everyone loves!
The Best of Sligo Ireland’s Sights – Without a Car!
Ireland has local buses that can take you places but frequently they are quite useless to a tourist. In Sligo, however, there are a few places that are easily reached.
This is a small museum located just downtown, easily reached from any place you’re staying in Sligo Town. It’s not that big and honestly only two types of people should bother. Those that know nothing about Yeats, and those that know too much.
It’s a 3euro entry fee and there’s not that much there. I found, as a novice, that the information boards were excellent and really helped me understand the poet and his place in Sligo. For those who have something of an obsession with Yeats, the first editions and the work of his siblings on display is very interesting.
Where this place really shines is in its events. Whenever you’re planning to come, check ahead to see if they will be having any walking tours, lectures, or workshops that might be of interest to you.
This is a fantastic option for a half or full day trip from Sligo Town. It’s not so much one of Sligo Ireland’s sights as it is a place to do things. Sure, the view of the coastline is gorgeous and there are some nice options for lunch or dinner.
But what really makes this trip worthwhile is the baths. The Voya Seaweed Baths, to be precise.
Spend an hour or two soaking in hot tubs full of steaming seaweed – it’s way more amazing than you’d ever think. It’s not even gimmicky. Multiple locals told me how great the seaweed baths are, not just in Strand Hill, but up and down the coast where there is apparently a phenomenon.
Even thinking about it now, how delightfully soft I felt and completely heated even when I faced the harsh winds outside…I will definitely be coming back here and I recommend you include it in your itinerary. It’s only 15 minutes from Sligo Town by the local bus S2 which comes every 20-30 minutes. The Google Maps timetables are frequently off by several minutes but the place they’ll pick you up from is correct.
While not as close as Strand Hill, this is Sligo Ireland’s sight of top choice. You can expect the most amazing views of the countryside from the top, as well as Maeve’s Grave. This is the largest stone cairn in the area and an incredible thing to see.
You can take the same bus (S2) to Strand Hill and walk from there. You can expect the walk to take around 1 hour and 40 minutes if you’re reasonably good with directions and hiking.
The Best of Sligo Ireland’s Sights – With a Car!
Of course, a trip to Sligo becomes even more wonderful when you have the ability to go where you please. Unfortunately, there are very few tours which cover areas near Sligo (for reasons I will never understand).
If you want to see these things without rending a car yourself, then I recommend Sligo Tours.
If you’re looking for where the best places are for eating and sleeping in Sligo, I talk about that in my 2 Week Ireland Itinerary.
Carrowmore is relatively close to Knocknarae and it may be possible to see both if you’ve got good endurance. Of all the things on this list, this one is impressive by itself but less so in the shadows of the others.
Carrowmore consists of two dozen Neolithic tombs in the dolmen-style – a large rock supported on top of smaller or similar sized rocks that occasionally looks like a mini Stonehenge. There is also a demonstration of what is inside Queen Maeve’s grave which was really helpful for understanding the burial practices!
It’s also in a lovely setting, divided by a road so don’t miss the dolmens on the other side. Free entry!
Carrowkeel – Sligo Ireland’s Sights
This is absolutely my favorite place that we saw in all of Ireland. If you can, get there fairly early when the mist hasn’t lifted yet. It will give you an absolutely otherworldly experience. If you time it right, the mist will lift on your way down and you’ll be able to see some absolutely gorgeous views with some cute sheep in the foreground!
But the real attraction is the line of stone cairns that are beautifully preserved in the middle of nowhere. If you have an enterprising driver like we did he’ll insist on driving you really close to them but the hike is beautiful if not.
You can actually go inside one or two of the tombs. Some are much easier, just ducking down – others are more of a “crawling” situation. I went inside the former 😛
This was a surprise but is actually a completely necessary break in-between my prized megalithic sites. It’s a small valley that passes between two high rock walls. A secret garden for nature.
Inside expect lush ivy and trees, with dozens of different types of mushroom and lichen. Getting there might surprise you because the entrance looks no different than any other side of the road and doesn’t even have a full pull over. The walk forward is fantastically muddy but worth it for the fresh air and storybook experience.
I was hesitant to go here since I felt I didn’t know that much about Yeats. But it is important, if you have the chance. This was a man who brought fame to Sligo but was also totally in love with Sligo.
Personally, I struggle to have such a connection to any single place so it is impressive. The church is lovely as is the round tower just across the street.
Caves of Kesh
These are my second favorite thing I saw in Sligo. They are fascinating, beautiful, and cool – but a tad bit on the treacherous side.
As you look up at a white stretch of stone in the green earth you will notice small tears in the side – holes of the cave. These caves are known for being fairly dangerous and it’s not recommended for you to go too far along the side, stick to the first few entrances. And be careful on the climb up, it’s very muddy and slippery.
But oh how cool! They’ve been used for thousands of years by humans and animals alike. If you’re a cave person, you absolutely need to put this on your list, and you can explore on your own unlike the Aillwee Caves near Galway. Although, you should see those too if you can!
I wish I’d had more time here – it’s really weird and different. A court made of boulders and stone, artfully arrayed into rooms. You can find out more of the history surrounding this sight here.
It could be up to 6,000 years old, an active site over the centuries with newer and older parts. It is a small spot, but worth the time if you have a car or driver with you.
If you’re a fan of Yeats, waterfalls, or beautiful settings then this is the place for you. Taken straight out of his poem the Stolen Child, expect the light splashes of the slumbering trout to accompany the crash of the water.
My recommendation is to come at sunset as the river water before you get to the falls lights up in stunning shades and casts intriguing shadows.
And that’s all of Sligo Ireland’s Sights that you should see on your next vacation in Ireland!
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