If you are coming to Sligo on holiday or if you are thinking about coming (you’ll love it!) here are some free things that you can do. Be sure to bring a raincoat and jumper though because you might well need them.
Grab the buckets and spades. Sligo has so many beautiful beaches you will really be spoilt for choice. There’s an hourly bus that runs from Sligo town to both Strandhill and Rosses Point so if you don’t have any transport it’s handy enough to get there (the bus isn’t free by the way). If you are driving the county is your oyster – follow the signs for the Wild Atlantic Way and visit them all.
Fun at the festivals – there are quite of lot of festivals on, so certainly something to suit everyone. Not all of the events are free but quite a lot are so well worth checking out. The Sligo Summer Festival takes place in August, you can see Kieran Quinn, The Blizzards and Aslan as they play live in Sligo town and the gigs are all free. Check out their Facebook page. The South Sligo Summer School takes place from the 9th – 15th of July, there will be some free events, more details on their website. Sligo Jazz Project has their International Summer School and Jazz Festival in July– there will be some free gigs running through this brilliant festival. The Cairde Sligo Arts Festival also takes place in July – this is always a great festival. I have to mention the ParkFest which takes place on July 9th, fun for all the family and free admission. The famous Enniscrone Black Pig Festival is on a the end of July, this is a family friendly festival in the beautiful seaside town of Enniscrone. Take a step back in time with the Tubbercurry Old Fair Day Festival, again something for everyone, people come from all over Ireland for the Old Fair Day which has been running for over 30 years and it’s just been listed as 14th in the Top 36 Global Festivals by FlightNetwork. To see the best gig guide in Sligo check out this site, it’s brilliant to see what’s on every evening.
The Sligo Walking Tour takes place throughout the summer. It’s on every day except Sunday, meet at the Tourist Office, O’Connell Street at 11am. It’s also great for locals to find out more about the town.
The Click Clack creative writing group meet on the third Wednesday of every month 8pm in the Bookmart, Sligo. They also have a special show on July 19th 6pm in Sligo County Library. Admission is always free.
The Quayside Shopping Centre have a free kids club taking place every Saturday in July and August from 2pm – 5pm.
Visit an art gallery – we have several galleries here in the town: The Model, Hamilton Gallery, Hyde Bridge Gallery. All are free to visit and the exhibitions change throughout the year so do check them out.
Visit the Sligo Museum, it’s located beside the library. You’ll find items belonging to WB Yeats, Countess Constance Markievicz and more.
Check out the street art. There are some fabulous murals located in and around the town. Along the inner relief road you will see the 1916 mural, the surfing mural, the new W. B. Yeats mural and Maud Gonne. Opposite the Cathedral you’ll see Westlife. There is a fabulous deer on Union Street and a wonderful colourful car park opposite Salon 2.
Check out Sligo Abbey, or Carrowmore Megalithic Tombs – most OPW sites including these two Sligo ones are free to get into on the first Wednesday of every month. Nearby Parkes Castle, although it’s in Leitrim, has free admission at the moment.
Get lost. Take the road less travelled and go exploring the beautiful countryside, it’ll just cost you the petrol. The Holy Well is a must visit, it’s such a beautiful place afterwards follow the brown signs and drive around Lough Gill, bring a picnic and stop at Dooney Rock, Slish Wood or Hazelwood.
If you fancy getting active there’s are two outdoor gyms down at Doorly Park (opposite Argos) – one for adults and one for the little people. There’s a wonderful walk and a brilliant playground there too.
Go on a real life treasure hunt. Geocaching is great fun for all ages. Using your GPS enabled device you navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
Visit the ‘Yeats’ Secret Garden in Sligo’ designed by Lorely Forrester, this was one of the large Concept Gardens at Bloom 2015, where it won a Gold Medal. It’s now located at the back of The Model.
Go walking. The Sligo Walks website is brilliant for highlighting some of the fabulous walks we have here in County Sligo. I love the walk along the Garavogue River, it’s so peaceful and scenic and right in the centre of town. If you want to go further afield there are some stunning walks to suit all levels of fitness.
Visit a Queen. It’s said Queen Maeve has been laid to rest in a cairn at the top of Knocknarea Mountain. You can walk up and take in the spectacular views over Sligo.
Sligo parkrun. A 5km timed run every Saturday morning from Doorly Park. You need to register to take part but it’s free.
The Sligo Markets:
Every Saturday you can visit Beltra Country Market, The Farmer’s Market at the IT Sligo, Rathcormac Country Market and Drummartin Country Market. Cliffoney Country Market takes place on the first and third Saturday of the month.
Strandhill People’s Market takes place every Sunday at Sligo airport from 11am – 4pm.
So there are just some of my suggestions of free things to do in Sligo. For more information or to find out what else is on call in to the Sligo Tourist Office on O’Connell Street.