Tourism Culture

Best Things to do in Sligo Ireland: Top Places to Visit, Sligo Nightlife & More

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 12 min read

Sligo, Ireland offers a plethora of captivating experiences for visitors. Among the top attractions are hiking the iconic Benbulben mountain for stunning panoramic views, exploring the medieval ruins of Sligo Abbey, and catching waves at the renowned surfing spot, Strandhill. 

For a cultural immersion, indulge into the landscapes that inspired W.B. Yeats' poetry in Yeats Country or embark on a hike up Knocknarea to visit the mystical Queen Maeve's Cairn. Additionally, indulging in a traditional seaweed bath, discovering ancient history at Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, and enjoying live traditional music in sligo attractions cozy pubs are must-dos. With its rich heritage, breathtaking scenery, and vibrant atmosphere, Sligo promises an unforgettable experience for all who visit.

county sligo, countryside, forest

Top 10 Things to do in Sligo, Ireland

The top 10 things to do in Sligo, Ireland are visiting Benbulben, exploring Sligo Abbey, surfing at Strandhill, discovering Yeats Country, hiking Knocknarea, taking a seaweed bath, exploring Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, enjoying traditional music, sampling local cuisine, and strolling along Rosses Point on picturesque lake front. Sligo, Ireland offers a diverse range of experiences for visitors. From the rugged beauty of Benbulben and the historical intrigue of Sligo Abbey to the adrenaline of surfing at Strandhill and the cultural immersion in Yeats Country, there's something for everyone. Don't miss hiking Knocknarea, indulging in a seaweed bath, exploring Carrowmore's ancient wonders, enjoying traditional music, sampling local cuisine, and ending with a leisurely stroll along Rosses Point's picturesque promenade.

  1. Visit Benbulben

  2. Explore Sligo Abbey

  3. Surfing at Strandhill

  4. Discover Yeats Country

  5. Hike Knocknarea

  6. Take a Seaweed Bath

  7. Explore Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery

  8. Enjoy Traditional Music

  9. Sample Local Cuisine

  10. Stroll Along Rosses Point

1. Visit Benbulben

ireland, benbulben, sligo

Benbulben, with its distinctive flat-topped profile, dominates the landscape of Sligo county and is one of the most iconic mountains in Ireland. Whether you're an avid hiker seeking adventure or simply want to admire the breathtaking views, a trip to Benbulben is an absolute must when visiting Sligo. The rugged slopes and sheer cliffs create a dramatic backdrop that is sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors. Exploring the trails around Benbulben offers a chance to immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of the area, with panoramic vistas of Sligo Bay and beyond.

Don't forget to bring your camera to capture the island of awe-inspiring scenery and to snap a selfie at the summit to commemorate your conquest of this iconic peak. As I stood atop Benbulben's summit, the panoramic views of Sligo Bay stretched out before me, leaving me in awe of the rugged beauty that surrounded me. It was a moment I'll never forget, capturing the essence of Ireland's stunning landscapes in one breathtaking vista.

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sligo abbey

2. Explore Sligo Abbey

Step back in time with a visit in sligo to Sligo Abbey, a medieval monastery steeped in history and atmosphere. Dating back to the 13th century, this well-preserved abbey offers a fascinating glimpse into Ireland's past. As you wander through the atmospheric ruins, you'll uncover centuries-old secrets and stories, from its founding by Maurice Fitzgerald to its eventual dissolution during the Reformation. Marvel at the intricate stonework and architectural features that adorn the abbey, and imagine what life was like for the monks who once called this place home.

Be sure to take your time exploring the cloisters, chapter house, and burial grounds, soaking in the sense of tranquility and reverence that permeates the site. Wandering through the atmospheric ruins of Sligo Abbey, I felt transported back in time, surrounded by centuries of history and mystery. The intricate stonework and architectural details whispered tales of the monks who once roamed these hallowed halls, offering a poignant glimpse into Ireland's medieval past. As I explored the cloisters and burial grounds, the sense of tranquility and reverence enveloped me, creating a moment of reflection amidst the echoes of centuries gone by.

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surfing, sunset, waves

3. Surfing at Strandhill

For adrenaline junkies and water sports enthusiasts, Strandhill is the place to be. With its Atlantic swells and consistent waves, this picturesque coastal village is a mecca for surfers of all levels. Whether you're a seasoned pro looking to catch some serious waves or a beginner eager to learn the ropes, there are surf schools and rental shops dotted along the beach to cater to your needs. After a thrilling session in the water, relax and unwind with a post-surf coffee or indulge in a well-deserved meal at one of the local cafes or restaurants.

With its laid-back vibe and stunning scenery, Strandhill offers an unforgettable surfing experience on the Wild Atlantic Way. Riding the waves at Strandhill was an exhilarating adventure, with the Atlantic swells providing the perfect playground for surfers of all levels. As I caught wave after wave, the thrill of the ocean and the wind in my hair created a sense of freedom unlike anything else. After an action-packed session in the water, I savored a post-surf coffee at one of the cozy cafes, basking in the warm glow of accomplishment and the stunning coastal scenery that surrounded me.

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4. Discover Yeats Country

Immerse yourself in the landscapes that inspired the poetry of W.B. Yeats with a visit to Yeats Country. Located in County Sligo, this scenic region is synonymous with the renowned Irish poet and playwright, whose lyrical verses evoke the beauty and mystique of the Irish countryside. Explore the poet's former home at Thoor Ballylee, a charming tower house nestled on the banks of the River Nore, and gain insight into Yeats' life and work. Take a scenic drive through the rolling hills of County Sligo, passing by picturesque villages, tranquil lakes, and ancient landmarks that inspired some of Yeats' most famous poems. As you wander through this enchanting landscape, you'll understand why Yeats described it as "the land of heart's desire" and why it continues to captivate visitors from around the world. Exploring Yeats Country was like stepping into the pages of a poetry book, with every corner revealing the timeless beauty that inspired W.B. Yeats' most beloved verses.

As I wandered through the picturesque villages and tranquil lakes of County Sligo, I couldn't help but feel a sense of wonder at the landscapes that had captured the poet's imagination. Standing before Thoor Ballylee, Yeats' former home, I gained a deeper insight into the man behind the poetry, his life intricately woven with the essence of the land. Driving through the rolling hills and ancient landmarks that dotted the countryside, I felt a profound connection to the spirit of Yeats' words, each scene unfolding like a verse in a poem, echoing the sentiment of "the land of heart's desire."

mountaineering, man, trail

5. Hike Knocknarea

Embark on a hiking adventure up Knocknarea and be rewarded with breathtaking views and a sense of accomplishment. This iconic mountain, crowned by the imposing Queen Maeve's Cairn, offers hikers of all levels the chance to experience the beauty of Sligo from a unique vantage point. The well-marked trail winds its way to the summit, where panoramic vistas of Sligo Bay and the surrounding countryside await.

Along the way, keep an eye out for the ancient passage tomb believed to be the final resting place of Queen Maeve herself, adding a sense of mystery and intrigue to your hike. Whether you're a seasoned hiker seeking a challenge or a casual adventurer looking for a scenic stroll, a hike up Knocknarea is an experience you won't soon forget. Hiking up Knocknarea offered breathtaking views of Sligo Bay and a sense of accomplishment as I reached the summit crowned by Queen Maeve's Cairn. It was a memorable adventure, blending natural beauty with ancient legends.

seaweed

6. Take a Seaweed Bath

Indulge in a bit of pampering and relaxation with a traditional seaweed bath, a time-honored ritual in Sligo. Seaweed baths have been enjoyed for centuries for their therapeutic properties, believed to cleanse the body and rejuvenate the mind. Immerse yourself in the warm, nutrient-rich waters of a seaweed bath and feel your cares melt away as you soak in the natural goodness of the seaweed.

As you recline in the tub, surrounded by the soothing scent of the ocean, you'll emerge feeling refreshed, revitalized, and ready to take on whatever the day may bring. Whether you're looking to soothe tired muscles after a day of adventure or simply seeking a moment of tranquility and relaxation, a seaweed bath is the perfect indulgence during your visit to Sligo. Taking a seaweed bath in Sligo was a luxurious experience of relaxation and rejuvenation. As I immersed myself in the warm, nutrient-rich waters, the soothing scent of the ocean enveloped me, melting away stress and leaving me feeling refreshed and revitalized. It was the perfect way to unwind after a day of exploration, indulging in the natural goodness of the seaweed and emerging with a renewed sense of vitality.

national cemetery, memorial, mourning

7. Explore Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery

Delve into Ireland's ancient past with a visit to Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery beside the Yeats memorial building, one of the country's most important archaeological sites. Dating back over 5,000 years, this sprawling cemetery is home to a fascinating collection of megalithic tombs, stone circles, and passage graves, providing a glimpse into the lives and rituals of Ireland's early inhabitants.

Wander among the ancient stone monuments, marveling at their size and craftsmanship, and ponder the mysteries that surround their construction and purpose. As you explore the site, you'll gain a deeper appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of Ireland and the significance of sites like Carrowmore in preserving our ancient history. Exploring Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery was like stepping back in time, surrounded by ancient stone monuments that whispered tales of Ireland's early inhabitants. It was a fascinating journey through 5,000 years of history, leaving me in awe of the craftsmanship and mysteries that abound in this sacred site.

8. Enjoy Traditional Music

Experience the rich musical heritage of Sligo with an evening of traditional music and craic. From lively pubs to intimate sessions, there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in the vibrant music scene of Sligo town. Grab a pint of Guinness, pull up a chair, and tap your feet to the rhythm of fiddles, flutes, and bodhráns as local musicians showcase their talent and passion for Irish music. Whether you're a seasoned trad enthusiast or a newcomer eager to experience the magic of a traditional session, you're sure to be swept away by the infectious energy and camaraderie that permeates the air. WB Yeats was a famous poet, explore the works of poet WB Yeats

Soak up the atmosphere, join in the sing-alongs, and make memories that will last a lifetime as you experience the soul-stirring music of Sligo. Immersing myself in the vibrant traditional music scene of Sligo was an unforgettable experience, filled with the lively tunes of fiddles, flutes, and bodhráns. As I savored a pint of Guinness and tapped my feet to the rhythm, the infectious energy and camaraderie of the session swept me away. It was a soul-stirring evening of music, laughter, and shared memories that I'll cherish for years to come.

main course

9. Sample Local Cuisine

Treat your taste buds to the flavors of Sligo with a culinary adventure through its vibrant food scene. Whether you're craving freshly caught seafood, hearty Irish stews, or artisanal delights, Sligo has something to satisfy every palate. Head to one of the town's many restaurants, cafes, or gastropubs to indulge in a feast of local specialties prepared with care and creativity. From traditional dishes made with locally sourced ingredients to innovative fusion cuisine that pushes the boundaries of flavor, there's a world of culinary delights waiting to be discovered in Sligo.

Exploring Sligo's vibrant food scene was a culinary adventure filled with tantalizing flavors and creative dishes. From freshly caught seafood to hearty Irish stews, every bite was a delicious exploration of local specialties prepared with care and innovation. Whether I was dining in a cozy cafe or a trendy gastropub, each meal offered a glimpse into the diverse culinary landscape of Sligo. It was a gastronomic journey that left me inspired and satisfied, eager to return and discover even more of the flavors that this enchanting corner of Ireland has to offer.

stroll

10. Stroll Along Rosses Point

Conclude your visit to Sligo with a leisurely stroll along the picturesque promenade at Rosses Point. This charming seaside village offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and seaside charm, making it an ideal destination for a relaxing day out. As you wander along the waterfront, take in the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, watch the boats bobbing in the harbor, and breathe in the fresh sea air. Stop by one of the local cafes or ice cream parlors for a tasty treat, or simply find a quiet spot to sit and soak up the peaceful atmosphere. Whether you're exploring the rocky shores, building sandcastles on the beach, or simply enjoying the company of loved ones, a visit to Rosses Point is sure to leave you with cherished memories of your time in Sligo.

Strolling along the promenade at Rosses Point was the perfect conclusion to my visit to Sligo. The stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, the gentle breeze, and the relaxed atmosphere created a sense of peace and contentment that will stay with me long after I've left. It was a serene moment of tranquility, basking in the beauty of nature and savoring the simple joys of life by the sea.

alley, street, night

What Things to Do in Sligo at Night?

The things to do in Sligo at night are experiencing live music, immersing yourself in pub culture, and indulging in late-night eateries. At night in Sligo, the town comes alive with a vibrant atmosphere offering a variety of experiences. Live music is a staple, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the rich musical heritage of Sligo.

From traditional Irish sessions to contemporary bands, venues across town showcase talented musicians seven nights a week, ensuring there's always something to enjoy. Additionally, pub culture thrives in Sligo, where visitors can mingle with locals over a pint of Guinness, soaking in the warm hospitality and lively banter that characterize the town's establishments. visit Hyde bridge for a lasting impression and spectacular views. Lastly, for those seeking a late-night snack, Sligo's late-night eateries provide an array of options to satisfy any craving. Whether it's a comforting bowl of Irish stew or a spicy kebab, there's something to refuel after a night on the town.

man, singer, singing

Live Music

Experience the rich musical heritage of Sligo with a night of live music. From traditional Irish sessions to contemporary bands, there are venues across the town showcasing talented musicians seven nights a week.

pub

Pub Culture

Immerse yourself in the friendly atmosphere of Sligo's pubs. Pull up a stool, order a pint of the black stuff, and strike up a conversation with the locals. With their warm hospitality and lively banter, you're guaranteed a memorable night out.

Late-Night Eateries

Satisfy those midnight cravings with a visit to one of Sligo's late-night eateries. Whether you're craving a comforting bowl of Irish stew or a spicy kebab, you'll find plenty of options to refuel after a night on the town.

kid, nature, beach

What Things to Do with Kids in Sligo Town?

The best things to do with kids in Sligo town include enjoying beach fun at Rosses Point or Strandhill, exploring adventure parks for thrilling activities, embarking on nature trails for outdoor adventures, and engaging in indoor activities like soft play areas and trampoline parks. In Sligo, families have a plethora of options for entertaining kids of all ages. They can soak up the sun and enjoy beach activities at Rosses Point or Strandhill, experience adrenaline-pumping adventures at various adventure parks, connect with nature through hikes along scenic trails, and seek refuge from the rain in indoor activity centers, ensuring memorable and diverse experiences for every member of the family.

beach fun

Beach Fun

Head out west to one of Sligo's beautiful beaches for a day of sandcastle building, paddling in the sea, and beachcombing for shells. Rosses Point and Strandhill are popular choices with families, offering safe swimming and stunning scenery.

ferris wheel, amusement park, ride

Adventure Parks

Let the kids burn off some energy at one of Sligo's adventure parks. From zip-lining and high ropes courses to bouncy castles and go-karting, there are plenty of thrills and spills to be had.

Nature Trails

Explore Sligo's great outdoors with a family hike along one of its many nature trails. Keep an eye out for wildlife, splash in streams, and enjoy quality time together surrounded by nature's beauty.

jump house, trampoline, feet socks

Indoor Activities

On rainy days, head indoors to one of Sligo's indoor activity centers. From soft play areas to trampoline parks, there are plenty of options to keep kids entertained whatever the weather.

girl, surf, waves

What are the Best Outdoor Activities to Do in Sligo?

The best outdoor activities to do in Sligo while visiting Ireland include hiking iconic peaks like Benbulben and Knocknarea, catching waves along the Wild Atlantic Way with its consistent swells, exploring scenic routes on a cycling adventure, trying your luck at fishing in rivers and lakes, and teeing off at championship golf courses with stunning coastal views. Sligo offers a plethora of outdoor activities catering to every adventurer's taste. From the exhilaration of conquering iconic peaks like Benbulben to the serenity of fishing in its rivers and lakes, the region's diverse landscape ensures there's something for everyone. Whether surfing along its rugged coastline, cycling through picturesque countryside, or teeing off at championship golf courses, outdoor enthusiasts will find endless opportunities to connect with nature and experience the thrill of outdoor exploration in Sligo.

Hiking

Lace up your boots and hit the trails in Sligo's great outdoors. From gentle strolls to challenging hikes, there are routes and places to visit to suit all abilities. Don't miss the chance to conquer iconic peaks like Benbulben and Knocknarea.

Surfing

Catch some waves along the Wild Atlantic Way. With its consistent swells and sandy beaches, Sligo is a surfer's paradise. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, there are surf schools and rental shops dotted along the coastline.

Cycling

Explore Sligo on two wheels with a scenic cycle along its coastal routes and country lanes. Hire a bike and pedal your way past rolling hills, sparkling lakes, and picturesque villages. Hazelwood forest is a great place to explore.

Fishing

Cast a line and try your luck at fishing in Sligo's rivers and lakes. With an abundance of salmon, trout, and sea fish, it's a popular pastime for locals and visitors alike.

Golf

Tee off at one of Sligo's championship golf courses. With incredible views and challenging fairways, it's a golfer's paradise on the Emerald Isle.

family, beach, people

What Things to Do in Sligo for Families?

The best things to do in Sligo for families include spending quality time at the beach, exploring cultural sites tourist attractions like Sligo Abbey and Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, enjoying outdoor adventures such as hiking and surfing, experiencing animal encounters at farms or wildlife parks, and engaging in arts and crafts activities together. Sligo is the perfect destination for a family getaway, with these wide range of activities to suit all ages and interests.

Beach Days

Spend a day at the beach building sandcastles, paddling in the sea, and enjoying picnics on the sand. With several beautiful beaches to choose from, including Rosses Point and Strandhill, there's plenty of space for little ones to run around and explore. You can also enjoy boat trip.

Cultural Excursions

Immerse the family in Sligo's rich history and culture with visits to sites such as Sligo Abbey and Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery. Kids will love exploring sligo county museum, ancient ruins and learning about Ireland's fascinating past.

Outdoor Adventures

Get active and enjoy the great outdoors with a range of family-friendly activities. From hiking and cycling to surfing and kayaking, there's something to suit every adventurous spirit.

Animal Encounters

Get up close and personal with animals at one of Sligo's farms or wildlife parks. Feed friendly farm animals, take pony rides, or spot native wildlife in natural habitats.

Arts and Crafts

Unleash your creative side with arts and crafts activities for the whole family. Join a pottery class, try your hand at traditional Irish crafts, or simply spend a rainy afternoon painting or drawing.

planning

A Month Wise Guide for Things to Do in Sligo, Ireland

Experience the vibrant culture and natural beauty of Sligo year-round with our month-wise guide. From scenic walks in January to festive celebrations in December, each month offers unique opportunities for exploration and enjoyment. Whether you're immersing yourself in literary heritage, soaking up the sunshine at outdoor festivals, or indulging in culinary delights, Sligo has something for everyone. Visit to discover the rich history, lively arts scene, and warm hospitality that make Sligo a must-visit destination throughout the year.

January

  • Embrace the New Year with a brisk walk along one of Sligo's scenic trails.

  • Warm up with a hearty bowl of Irish stew in a cozy pub.

February

  • Celebrate Valentine's Day with a romantic stroll along Rosses Point.

  • Attend the Sligo International Chamber Music Festival for world-class performances.

March

  • Join in the festivities for St. Patrick's Day with parades and live music.

  • Explore Sligo's literary heritage with events for Yeats Day.

April

  • Enjoy the sights and sounds of spring with a visit to one of Sligo's gardens.

  • Attend the Sligo Festival of Baroque Music for a cultural treat.

May

  • Discover Sligo's maritime history with a visit to the annual Sea Shanty Festival.

  • Take part in the Northwest Adventure Quest for outdoor challenges and family fun.

June

  • Dive into the world of traditional Irish music at the Fleadh Cheoil Sligo.

  • Explore Sligo's craft beer scene with a tour of local breweries.

July

  • Soak up the sunshine at Strandhill Surf Festival with surfing competitions and beach parties, also visit Donegal Bay.

  • Enjoy outdoor concerts and street performances at the Sligo Jazz Project.

August

  • Join the festivities at the Sligo Races for a day of horse racing and entertainment.

  • Take part in the Cairde Arts Festival for a celebration of music, art, and culture.

September

  • Explore Sligo's rich heritage with guided tours of historic sites.

  • Attend the Sligo Live Music Festival for a diverse lineup of musical acts.

October

  • Get into the Halloween spirit with spooky events and ghost tours.

  • Sample local produce at the Sligo Food Trail Harvest Feast.

November

  • Attend the Tread Softly... Festival for a celebration of literature, drama, and storytelling.

  • Take part in the Sligo Festival of Lights for a magical evening of lanterns and fireworks.

December

  • Embrace the festive spirit with Christmas markets and carol concerts.

  • Join the Polar Express Train Ride for a magical journey to the North Pole.

FAQs On Best Things to do in Sligo, Ireland

Is Sligo a good destination for outdoor enthusiasts?

Absolutely! With its stunning landscapes and wealth of outdoor activities, Sligo is a paradise for adventurers. Whether you enjoy hiking, surfing, cycling, or fishing, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

What are some must-visit historical sites in Sligo?

Sligo is home to a wealth of historical sites, including Sligo Abbey, Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, and Queen Maeve's Cairn. These ancient landmarks offer a fascinating glimpse into Ireland's rich past.

What is the best time of year to visit Sligo?

The best time to visit Sligo depends on your interests and preferences. Summer (June-August) is popular for outdoor activities and festivals, while spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October) offer mild weather and fewer crowds.

Are there family-friendly activities in Sligo?

Absolutely! Sligo offers a wide range of family-friendly activities, including beach days, outdoor adventures, cultural excursions, and animal encounters. There's something to suit families of all ages and interests.

 

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

I am a globe-trotter with a passion for exploration. From the sun-kissed coasts of Portugal to the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland, my travels are as diverse as they are inspiring. My journeys through Spain, Finland, Austria, and Germany have fueled my soul and shaped my writing.