Visiting Yeats Country? Check out our ultimate list of the best things to do in Sligo.
County Sligo often doesn’t get the appreciation and recognition it deserves. One of the lesser-travelled counties along Ireland’s famous Wild Atlantic Way, we’re here to make sure you have the ultimate to-do list when visiting.
From surfing famous beaches to seeing Ireland’s tallest waterfall and so much more, let’s take a look at the top 20 best things to do in Sligo that you can’t miss out on.
Top tips – prepare for your trip
- Check the weather before your trip and pack appropriately. Even if the forecast says it’s not going to rain, pack for rain!
- Bring a good pair of walking shoes or boots to explore the Sligo landscape.
- Convert your home currency into Euros before your trip. It’ll save you time and money.
- The signal can be bad in more rural areas in Ireland. Download offline maps for navigation.
- Book accommodation in advance, especially during the summer months.
- Rent a car. Sligo doesn’t have frequent public transport, so renting a car is the best option for transport.
20. Hike Benbulben – one of the most unique mountains in Ireland
When visiting County Sligo, Hiking Benbulben should certainly be at the top of your list. Benbulben, also known as Benbulbin or Ben Bulben, is one of the most interesting and beautiful mountains in Ireland, thanks to its flat top.
Situated in the area known as Yeats Country, it is a protected site in the Dartry Mountains. There are a number of different routes you can take.
For a gentler route, check out the Benbulben Forest Walk. 5.5 km (3.4 miles) in length, it takes, on average, 1.5 hours to complete.
The Benbulben and Kings Mountain Loop Walk is moderately strenuous and, at 8 km (4.9 miles) in length, takes around 3.5 hours to complete.
Address: Cloyragh, Co. Sligo, Ireland
19. The Yeats Trail – for the literary fiends
Although he hailed from Dublin, W.B. Yeats, one of Ireland’s greatest poets of all time, spent much of his childhood in County Sligo and was very fond of the county.
The Yeats Trail is a signposted touring route of locations in County Sligo that are associated with the life and work of W.B. Yeats.
Touring across 14 locations in the county, including Knocknarea, his grave, Rosses Point, and more, this is an absolute must for any fan of Yeats, Irish literature, nature, and history.
MORE INFO: HERE
18. Hike the Sligo Way – lace up your walking boots
For fans of walking and the great outdoors, hiking the Sligo Way is imperative when visiting County Sligo.
Starting at Laragan near Lough Talt and finishing in Dromahair in County Leitrim, this 80 km (49 miles) route takes approximately three days to complete.
Along the way, you will be treated to breathtaking views of Benbulben to the east, Donegal Bay to the north, and the Nephin Mountain range to the west.
RELATED: our list of the best walks in Sligo
MORE INFO: HERE
17. Yoga and Forest Bathing with Roots Wellness Ireland – for breathwork, yoga, and more
Calling all yogis and those in tune with all things nature. Head to the picturesque town of Enniscrone and practice yoga and wellness with Niamh at Roots Wellness Ireland.
With a number of interesting classes on offer, from beach yoga and breathwork workshops to forest bathing, healing circles, and so much more, this is an experience you can’t miss out on when visiting Sligo.
Niamh often collaborates with other local businesses in the area, like coffee shops, cafes, and other activities, to constantly bring customers fresh and exciting classes.
MORE INFO: HERE
16. Hike Knocknarea – not for the faint-hearted
This Sligo walk is not for the faint-hearted and is described as “strenuous” by hiking experts. This is one of Sligo’s most conspicuous landmarks, as at 320 m (1,049 ft) in height, it dominates the county’s skyline.
The hill is famous for being home to one of Ireland’s largest cairns. At the summit, you will find this cairn known as Queen Maeve’s Cairn. This is believed to be a Neolithic passage tomb dedicated to one of the most famous Irish kings and Queens of all time, Queen Maeve. This is certainly one of the best things to do in Sligo.
Address: Knocknarea South, Co. Sligo, Ireland
15. Activities with Tonnta Adventure – for adventuring in Sligo and beyond
Offering adventure and discovery along Ireland’s northwest coast, hit up Tonnta Adventure for all your surfing, biking and hiking needs in Sligo and beyond.
From surf lessons on Enniscrone Beach to hiking Ireland’s tallest peaks, Tonnta Adventure creates bespoke adventure experiences tailored to the wants and budgets of the client.
From one-off sessions to week-long excursions, they have something to suit everyone.
MORE INFO: HERE
14. Visit Ireland’s tallest waterfall (Devil’s Chimney) – a bucket list-worthy destination
At 150 m (492 ft), Devil’s Chimney is listed on the World Waterfall database as Ireland’s tallest waterfall.
As such, this is one sight you can’t miss when visiting County Sligo. The loop walk to the waterfall itself is a magical one as it offers many fantastic viewing points and comfortable places to take a rest.
The waterfall is located on the Sligo/Leitrim border, just a stone’s throw from the famous Glencar waterfall, around 15 minutes from Sligo Town.
Address: Unnamed Road, Tormore, Co. Sligo, Ireland
13. Go for a pint in Thomas Connolly Bar – for a proper pint
If you’re looking for a proper pint in a proper Irish pub, head to Thomas Connolly’s, the oldest traditional Irish pub in the northwest corner of Ireland.
For a small town, Sligo Town has its fair share of excellent little pubs dotted around the place, and Thomas Connolly’s is one that can’t be missed.
Address: 1 Markievicz Rd, Abbeyquarter North, Sligo, F91 HC04, Ireland
12. Visit Sligo Abbey – steeped in history
Founded in 1253 as a Dominican abbey by Maurice Fitzgerald, take your time exploring all the nooks and crannies of Sligo Abbey.
Maurice was said to be the “real founder of Sligo”. As such, when visiting Sligo, it is imperative to see and experience this history for yourself. Sligo’s only surviving megalithic structure, its correct name is actually The Convent of the Holy Cross.
Admission to the abbey costs €5 for adults, €4 for seniors and group discount, and €3 for children and students. A family ticket costs €13.
Address: Abbey St, Abbeyquarter North, Sligo, Ireland
11. Drive around Lough Gill – drive, walk, swim, kayak
The loop drive around Lough Gill takes around an hour and offers stunning views and opportunities to stop for walks, pictures, picnics, or a gentle swim.
Take a paddleboard or a kayak down to Lough Gill and experience the utter tranquillity on offer. Failing that, just nip into the water for a free swim in the calm and refreshing water.
The lake was the inspiration behind W.B Yeats’ The Lake Isle of Innisfree. As such, it is included in The Yeats Trail.
Along the way, you can stop to walk through Hazelwood Forest, Slish Wood, Dooney Rock, and so much more. While most of the lake sits in Sligo, it partly sits in Leitrim, too.
MORE INFO: HERE
10. Learn to sail with Wild West Sailing – one of the best things to do and see in County Sligo
Fancy trying your hand at sailing while visiting County Sligo? The folks at Wild West Sailing are the ones to do it with.
When you choose to sail with Wild West Sailing, you get to experience the beauty of Ireland’s northwest from a whole new vantage point.
Departing from Rosses Point or Mullaghmore, you can explore the stunning beauty of the Slieve League Cliffs, the historic Inismurray Island and more. From sunset sails to charter trips, Wild West Sailing has something for everyone.
MORE INFO: HERE
Address: Butlers Lane, Kiltycahill, Calry, Co. Sligo, Ireland
9. Walk Mullaghmore Head – for stunning views
Consisting of a mix of footpaths, off-road walking trails and public roads, the Mullaghmore Head walk is certainly one of the best things to do in County Sligo.
It’s a nice, easy walk along the superb coastline of Mullaghmore. You will set off from Bunduff Strand and follow the coastline around to Mullaghmore Head before returning the same way.
Along the way, you may be met with some beautiful views of Donegal Bay and Slieve League, as well as Benbulben and the Dartry Mountains. The walk only takes just over an hour to complete.
MORE INFO: HERE
8. Sligo Oyster Experience – for the foodies
An experience launched in 2020, this immersive guided tour is an absolute must for those who love trying out different food experiences.
On this tour, you will be shown Sligo’s picturesque coastline and its native oysters, with a fantastic tour of a working oyster farm.
You’ll learn all about Sligo’s ancient seafood and the care and detail that goes into bringing Sligo Bay Oysters to your plate.
Of course, you’ll end the experience with a taste of some of the freshest oysters going along with local craft beer, bubbles, and refreshments. Farm tours will resume in 2023 on 16 June, so get planning for summer now!
MORE INFO: HERE
Address: 10 Stephen St, Abbeyquarter North, Sligo, F91 V2XR, Ireland
7. Visit the real Coney Island – be careful of tide times
No, we aren’t talking about the entertainment neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York; we’re talking about the REAL Coney Island.
Nestled between Rosses Point and the Coolera Peninsula, Sligo’s Coney Island sits at the head of Sligo Bay.
The island can be reached by foot, car, or by boat and is well worth exploring on a dry day.
Understanding the tide times is key when visiting, as there is the potential to get stuck there. You can simply text ‘Coney’ to 51155 (ROI phones) to find out safe crossing times.
Address: Coney Island, Co. Sligo, Ireland
6. Play a round of golf at Sligo Golf Club – for the golf enthusiasts
The County Sligo Golf Club at Rosses Point is one of the best golf courses in Ireland. So, if you fancy yourself a keen golfer, why not try your hand at this Harry Colt-designed course?
The world-famous golf course at Rosses Point offers a great challenge to the backdrop of some stunning views. Other notable courses include Strandhill Golf Club and Enniscrone Golf Club.
MORE INFO: HERE
Address: Rosses Point, Co. Sligo, F91 Y974, Ireland
5. Visit Lisadell House – once frequented by W.B Yeats
Another historic spot worth visiting in County Sligo is Lissadell House. Once home to Constance Markievicz and Eva Gore-Booth, the house sits along the oceanfront with stunning walled gardens and impressive scenery to marvel at.
However, the main reason people visit is its association with W.B Yeats. Yeats was a former resident who stayed at Lisadell House many times.
Entry to Lisadell House costs €14 for adults, €6 for children under five, €12 for seniors and students, and €36 for a family ticket.
MORE INFO: HERE
Address: Lissadill, Ballinfull, Co. Sligo, Ireland
4. Check out Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery – discover more than 35 passage tombs
Ireland is known for its Neolithic sites, and Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery is the oldest and densest concentration of Neolithic tombs of them all.
Around 6,000 years old, you can find the remains of over 35 passage tombs here. Located just 3 km (1.8 miles) west of Sligo Town, this site is well worth a visit when adventuring through County Sligo.
Address: Carrowmore, Co. Sligo, F91 E638, Ireland
3. Discover the Caves of Keash – predating the Pyramids of Egypt
Hiking up to see the Caves of Keash is a sight to behold on its own. Once you arrive, you’ll find the collection of 17 caves that form the passage tomb said to predate the Pyramids of Egypt.
Despite a trail being built years ago, the caves can be quite tricky to reach. While it’s on a 20/25 minute walk up, it is a steep incline that is dangerous in parts, especially when it has been raining.
A decent pair of walking shoes are required to make this trip. This is a fascinating place to visit, a place where archaeologists discovered the bones of extinct animals that once used to wander Ireland at the tail end of the Ice Age.
The visitors centre and gift shop can be found next to the Fox’s Den pub in Keash Village. Here, you can book tours of the caves.
Address: Cloonagh, Co. Sligo, Ireland
2. Gleniff Horseshoe – walk, cycle, or drive it
One of the most spectacular walks, cycles, or drives in County Sligo is Gleniff Horseshoe. If you decide to drive, it takes around 30 minutes and is a great route when you’re pressed for time or if it’s raining.
However, if you choose to walk, the 10 km (6.2 miles) route will take around 2.5 hours to complete. This space was formed during the last Ice Age, and along the way, you’ll notice many megalithic monuments spread out along the northern slopes.
Plus, you can take in the stunning views of the Dartry Mountains as well as Donegal Bay. If you choose to cycle, it should take you roughly one hour, depending on how often you stop.
Address: Gleniff, Co. Sligo, Ireland
1. Surf Ireland’s biggest waves at Mullaghmore – for top surfers only
For the bravest and most experienced surfers, you have to hit the waves at Mullaghmore Head.
Waves are known to be very dangerous and unpredictable, and currents are extremely strong, so this is only recommended for those confident and well-versed in surfing.
Address: The Woods, Co. Sligo, Ireland
W.B. Yeats Statue: Overlooking the Garavogue River in Sligo Town, feast your eyes on and snap a photo of the W.B. Yeats statue on Stephen Street.
Strandhill Beach: Take a stroll or go for a surf at Strandhill Beach for some of the best waves in Sligo. There are plenty of great spots to stop for an ice cream on a sunny day nearby. However, note that it is not safe to swim here.
Belleek Castle: Located 15 minutes outside of Enniscrone in Ballina, County Mayo, taking a tour of Belleek Castle is well worth the journey. It’s a great spot for a bit of lunch, too.
Glencar Waterfall: Just ten minutes from Sligo Town in County Leitrim, Glencar Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Ireland.
Your questions answered about the best things to do in Sligo
If you still have questions, we have you covered! In this section, we’ve compiled some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions and popular questions that have been asked online about this area.
Is it worth visiting Sligo?
Sligo is certainly worth visiting. From water sports, like kayaking and surfing, and blue flag beaches, to hiking mountains and visiting historical sites, Sligo has it all. It should definitely be on your Ireland itinerary.
Why is Sligo famous?
There are a number of things that Sligo is famous for. Benbulben Mountain and the historical relevance of W.B. Yeats in the county are just a couple of those reasons.
How many pubs are there in Sligo?
There are approximately 30 pubs in Sligo.