National Heritage Week
National Heritage Week runs from the 18th – 26th of August with lots of events and activities taking place all over the country to celebrate Ireland’s natural, built and cultural heritage. It’s a great opportunity to discover Ireland’s heritage and learn more about it. We are lucky to have numerous historical monuments and heritage sites around the county that are ideal for exploring on a family day out or weekend getaway. Discover the heritage of Sligo. The county is steeped in history and folklore with free entry to a number of sites. Now is your time to explore.
Sligo Abbey is a Dominican Friary and was founded in the mid – 13th century by Maurice Fitzgerald. It is located in the centre of Sligo Town. The site contains numerous carvings including Gothic and Renaissance tomb sculpture. The site also has the only sculptured 15th century high altar to survive in any Irish monastic church.
Knocknarea stands between Sligo Bay and Ballisadare Bay, about 4 miles west of Sligo Town and overlooks the village of Strandhill. On reaching the top you will be greeted by a mound of stones or “Queen Maeve’s grave”. It is believed that Maeve, the legendary queen of Connacht is buried underneath the large heap of stones. Enjoy spectacular views of the Sligo and Wild Atlantic Way coastline from the summit.
Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery is the largest site of megalithic tombs in Ireland. It was built around 4600-3900 BC making it one of the oldest sites in the country. Archaeologists have recorded over 60 tombs of which 30 are visible. The monuments include stone circles, passage tombs and dolmens.
Yeat’s Grave is located in Drumcliff and is set against the striking backdrop of Benbulben. The world famous Irish poet chose this churchyard as his final resting place after spending time in Sligo during his childhood. His grave has a simple headstone with the words “cast a cold eye on life, on death, horseman, pass by” inscribed on it. A 6th Century Columbian monastery is located nearby.
The Carrowkeel passage tombs consist of 14 passage cairns identified with letters. The passage cairns are spread across a number of hills that form part of the Bricklieve Mountain range. As part of Heritage Week there will be a guided trail around Carrowkeel Tombs on 19th August from 11am – 1pm. Enjoy the stunning views and learn all about these 5000-year-old megalithic tombs. All bookings must be made in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Adult €5, children go free.
Knocknashee, also known as ‘Hill of the Fairies’ is a fortified hilltop located about 10 minutes from Tubbercurry. The site is situated on a table-top plateau with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The enclosed hill fort has limestone ramparts containing cairns, burial chambers and hutsites. The fort is 700 metres long and 320 metres wide and is enclosed by two earth and stone ramparts covering an area of 53 acres.
The castle of Moygara was the principle fortress and dwelling of the O’Gara family. The castle stands on a slight elevation with great views, particularly to the south. The building consists of a plain rectangular tower with flanking angled towers at each corner. All the gun loops are intact, and the rectangular windows in the upper floors of the towers are also in good condition.
Heapstown is located north of Lough Arrow in County Sligo. It is the site of the largest cairn in Ireland which is thought to be an actual passage grave. This impressive site was built over 2,500 years ago in the Neolithic Period. The cairn used to have a large pillar located on the top with Ogham writing carved into it.
Get involved in National Heritage week and enjoy learning about our fascinating heritage. These sites can also be visited all year round. Contact us for more information or for directions to these sites.