I thought for a long time about writing this post. I am so passionate about Sligo, it has huge potential and it saddens me to see so many wasted opportunities. It’s great to see the barn going up in the town, brilliant idea. I also loved the Sligo Summer Festival – it just shows what can be done and done well – so fair play to all involved.
Here are some of my thoughts for the town and county:
A weekly market in the centre of town. Not the few stalls up at the market yard but a proper market that will attract people. Something similar to Galway or even better an indoor market like The Milk Market in Limerick.
Sligo ambassadors. People in high visibility vests answering any questions that visitors might have. I did this during the fleadh and loved it. It’s amazing what people want to know about the place.
Have the volunteers in the Yeats Memorial Building dressed in costumes. The same in the Sligo Folk Park in Riverstown. Bring the history to life, make it more interesting. The Ulster American Folk Park does just that and it’s an amazing place to visit.
A shuttle bus bringing people on the Yeats Scenic Drive. Have someone on the bus dressed as Yeats reciting the poetry. I know some people say Yeats has been ‘done to death’ but he’s still a big attraction to the town so I think we should make the most of it. There was a lot more to this idea when Sligo Secrets was running but this is just part of it.
A Westlife museum and tour, again not everyone will agree with this but Westlife put Sligo on the map in their own way and they have a legion of fans that visit Sligo.
Keep the OPW sites open all year round. I know people will state that funding won’t allow this but people don’t just travel in the ‘nice’ weather. If I had a euro for every time that I’ve seen tourists looking to get in to Sligo Abbey in the winter I’d be a wealthy person.
Have a dedicated Urban picnic area in the town centre. Brightly coloured tables and chair surrounded by plants or even better something along the lines of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne where they have a ‘beach’ with deck chairs and beach huts along the river.
A Shelly Cycle/Walk. A scenic cycle/walk route along the Garavogue perhaps lined by Sligo sculptures, art or light installations. I’d love to see something like the light projections on the buildings that Joe Hunt has done in previous years but on a larger scale.
Yeats on a Train. I know, back to the man himself again. Have someone dressed as Yeats reciting the poetry up and down the Dublin to Sligo train on certain days of the year.
A Cheese Festival. Poor old Queen Maeve got killed by a lump of cheese so why don’t we make something of it? Some kind of food festival or roll cheeses down The Mall or down Knocknarea. It’d be great craic!
An incentive for people to shop and eat in the town. Perhaps give them back their parking fee if they spend a certain amount in the town.
A River Race. Swim, run or cycle the river. Perhaps as a relay race.
Regular free events or entertainment for children. If you have something for the children you’ll get the families in too.
A one-stop website that has everything listed; walks, music, attractions, events, sports etc. I know there are various websites out there but there is nothing that lists the whole lot. With the walks website I’d love the walks to be covered by people who aren’t regular walkers to give an honest evaluation of the grades of each walk. Also have the nearest toilet/place to eat/car park listed – a small thing but very helpful.
A food tasting tour. A two-hour tour along the food establishments by the river with just small tasters at each place. A bit of the history of the place thrown in but in a lighthearted way.
A bowling alley. I know there was one back in the 90s but I’d love to see one back again. Sligo is lacking in things to do when it’s raining.
So these are just a few of my ideas. I’m hoping now that they are out on the blog they might stop buzzing around me head! Feel free to let me know any ideas you might have.