Sligo, the capital of the Northwest, is a unique destination offering great food, craic, music and natural beauty. From bustling seaside towns to wild mountains, lakes and rivers and sensational surf, Sligo is one stop along the Wild Atlantic Way that can’t be missed. While Sligo guarantees a good time, there’s no guarantee that it won’t rain so get your raincoat on and make the most of this list of 5 of the best things to do in Sligo on a good old rainy Irish day.
1. Explore an indoor farmer’s market – for a food fest
Forget the supermarket and spend the day exploring the incredible diversity that Sligo has to offer. Mix with the locals and sample some of Sligo’s best artisan food, arts and crafts and all of those strange and unique things you can only find at a market that will make you forget all about the rain that’s pouring down outside.
Our favourite is Strandhill People’s Market, just 10 minutes outside of the town and contained within the unique setting of an aeroplane Hangar at Sligo Airport.
This market is open every Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm. Bus Eireann goes from Sligo town to Strandhill on the regular if you don’t fancy driving. Also worth checking out is the Rathcormac Artisan Craft & Food Market, just five minutes outside Sligo town on Saturdays between 10 am and 3 pm.
2. Put on a wetsuit and get in the water – for water babies
You can’t feel the rain if you’re wearing five mm of neoprene so pop on a wetsuit, stop complaining and get out there – you’ve got no excuse!
Sligo town has plenty of exciting water activities to try right on its doorstep for the adventurous and the not so adventurous among us. Sligo is like one big playground for surfers and is dotted with some of Ireland’s best surf beaches, many of which offer equipment rental and surf lessons for beginners, so you’ll be a pro in no time.
Check out Strandhill Surf Experience, Strandhill Surf School or SurfnStay for accommodation, rentals and lessons close to Sligo town. You can also venture further inland and try your hand at kayaking in Sligo’s beautiful rivers and lakes. Sligo Kayak Tours and West Coast Kayaking are based in Sligo and offer kayak tours both inland and on the sea. It’ll be a day not to be forgotten, hail, rain or shine!
3. Voya Seaweed Baths – for some R&R
Escape the grey skies and stress of modern life and put a spring in your step at Voya Seaweed Baths, which is one of the best seaweed baths in Ireland, where you can kick back, relax and enjoy their detoxifying organic seaweed baths. Heaven in a bathtub some people might say! The health benefits of their locally-sourced seaweed baths are numerous and have long been known along the Irish coast.
At the beginning of the 20th-century, there were an estimated 300 seaweed bathhouses in Ireland and nine in the small town of Strandhill alone. If immersing your body in seaweed isn’t your cup of tea you’re missing out but worry not because you can try one of their other amazing treatments including facials, eye treatments, massages, body wraps and exfoliation treatments.
Pop into Shells café next door afterwards for a quick bite to eat and try one of their delicious raw juices or smoothies to make that cleansed feeling last just a little bit longer.
Address: Strandhill, Carrowbunnaun, Sligo, Ireland
4. Lissadell House & Gardens – for history and heritage
Sample some of Sligo’s rich history and be inspired by visiting the childhood home of Irish legend Constance Markievicz. Markievicz was one of the leaders of 1916 Rising and the first woman to be elected to the Dáil.
If that’s not enough the great poet W.B Yeats was friendly with Markievicz’s sisters, the Gore-Booths, and often visited the estate. He wrote about the house in one of his poems, immortalising it forever.
Although home to the Cassidy and Walsh family at the moment, the house is actually open to the public, so you can go and enjoy one of their many exhibitions, take a break in the tea rooms and if the rain shows any signs of giving up you can venture outdoors and take in the breathtaking gardens.
Address: Unnamed Road, Lissadill, Co. Sligo, Ireland
5. Hawkswell Theatre – for the arts
With a stellar line up of events, this 340 seats modern theatre in Sligo town is not to be missed. Entertaining the people of Sligo this really is more than just your average theatre.
In the cultural heart and soul of Sligo life, the theatre hosts various international and local artists including comedy, rock, opera, jazz, trad and both amateur and professional drama.
Don’t worry, this is one for the kids too as they will be entertained with the various creative workshops they host during the day on both weekdays and weekends. There really is something for everyone here, making it one of the top things to do in Sligo!
Address: 2 Temple St, Abbeyquarter North, Sligo, F91 EDE9, Ireland