£97 per night
Expected price for:24 Mar - 25 Mar
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Located in the west of Ireland, Sligo is a coastal seaport town. Its Irish Gaelic name, Sligeach, means “abounding in shells.” That name indicates how this destination has been especially noted for shellfish. It’s now a bustling urban centre, and the second largest of those in the region. Well served by transit routes and known for having plentiful cultural activities, this is a destination that includes many reputable hotels to serve its healthy tourism industry. Creativity is especially important to Sligo’s residents, and over four per cent of them have creative occupations. As a result, cultural diversions are plentiful.
You certainly won’t go hungry during visits to Sligo. There is an enticing assortment of restaurants catering to a broad range of tastes and price ranges. As you might imagine, many of the places to eat are along the waterfront, and they feature extensive seafood offerings. Some establishments even have entire menus dedicated to fish. If it’s something other than seafood you’re after, feast on chargrilled steaks, open-faced Irish brown bread sandwiches, pork fillet and vegetable curry. There are also opportunities to enjoy fresh pints served by personable bartenders. In addition to going with a brew that’s a national favourite, such as Guinness stout or Bulmers cider, you can also support a County Sligo endeavour by drinking beer from The White Hag Brewery. You might try the Irish Heather Ale or Irish Wit Beer when you want to wet your whistle with a locally made option. Besides drinking those beverages in pubs, you can find them served in hotels and sold in local shops.
Sligo’s rich cultural heritage is proudly showcased by the numerous festivals that take over the town several times per year. One popular option is the Sligo Live festival, which usually occurs in October. The event focuses on contemporary music, and has welcomed musicians ranging from The Waterboys to Sheryl Crow and Van Morrison. Overall, the festival offers around 100 gigs in the span of less than a week. Since it attracts approximately 20,000 people, and many that come from outside of Ireland, it’s a good idea to book a room in one of the area’s hotels if you’re planning to check out the festival. Alternatively, get a diverse view of local culture by going to the appropriately named Sligo Festival. Happening for about two weeks within July and August, this summertime bash has featured events such as a soapbox derby, family fun day, and street party. In what was perhaps a nod to Sligo’s coastal background, this festival has also included a 10-kilometre swim.
Travelling with kids isn’t always easy, but Sligo offers options to keep children occupied. If you suspect having at least one budding archaeologist in the family, go to the Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery. Considered among the best Stone-Age burial grounds in Ireland, it’s estimated this point of interest was built sometime between 4600 and 3900 B.C. Archaeologists have found more than 60 tombs there, and about 30 of them are publicly viewable. Since this attraction is only four kilometres from the town centre, it’s an excellent excursion to consider if your kids don’t like long car trips. Also, some families decide to spend the day away from their hotels and head to Ballymote, home of the Irish Raptor Research Centre. It’s become a sanctuary for injured creatures, accommodating a broader assortment of them than its name would suggest. There are hundreds of animals representing about 75 species that call this facility home before they’re released in nature again. Guests can talk to wildlife specialists and visit a petting zoo.
Historians indicate Sligo’s theatrical history extends back to at least 1750. There are many inviting ways to see performing arts during your visit. Book tickets at the Hawk’s Well Theatre, a 340-seat venue that presents a broad range of programming, from pantomimes to plays organised by amateur drama groups. This particular theatre welcomes people from many backgrounds. As a result, if you’ve changed into your finest outfit at your hotel before coming to the venue, you’ll see others who have followed suit, plus people donning well-worn jeans and tee shirts. This diverse setting creates a laid back setting in Sligo that’s very welcoming, even to people not accustomed to theatrical performances. Alternatively, see a new production by experiencing a play delivered by the Blue Raincoat Theatre Company. Just go to The Factory Performance Space, an intimate building that only holds 100 people. In addition to offering recent stage adaptions, the professional actors also frequently highlight European classic plays in their repertoire.
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