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County Sligo

County Sligo
Contae Shligigh
Coat of arms of County Sligo
Coat of arms
Motto: Land of Heart's Desire  
Location of County Sligo
Country Ireland
Province Connacht
Dáil Éireann Sligo–North Leitrim
EU Parliament Midlands–North-West
County town Sligo
 • Type County Council
 • Total 1,838 km2 (710 sq mi)
Area rank 22nd
Population (2011) 65,393
 • Rank 26th
Vehicle index
mark code
Website .ie.sligococowww

County Sligo (Irish: Contae Shligigh) is a county in Ireland. It is located in the Border Region and is also part of the province of Connacht. It is named after the town of Sligo. Sligo County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county is 65,393 according to the 2011 census making it the 3rd most populated county in the province.


  • History 1
    • Archaeology 1.1
    • Medieval 1.2
  • Coat of Arms 2
  • Local government and politics 3
  • Culture 4
    • Music 4.1
    • Sport 4.2
  • Geography and political subdivisions 5
    • Largest Towns County Sligo (2011 Census) 5.1
    • Towns and villages 5.2
  • People 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The county was theoretically formed in 1585, but was not made a reality until after the chaos of the Nine Years' War had ended, in 1603. Its boundaries reflect the Ó Conchobhair Sligigh overlordship of Lower Connacht (Irish: Íochtar Connacht) as it was at the time of the Elizabethan conquest.

This overlordship consisted of the tuatha, or territories, of Cairbre Drumcliabh, Tír Fhíacrach Múaidhe , Tír Ollíol, Luíghne, Corann and Cúl ó bhFionn. Each of these was subsequently made into an English style barony, hence Carbury, Tireragh, Leyny, Tirerril. Corran and Coolavin. The capital of the newly shired county was placed at Sligo.


The megalithic cemetery of Carrowmore is located in County Sligo. It forms part of a huge complex of Stone Age remains connecting Carrowkeel in south Sligo to the Ox Mountains, to the Cuil Irra Peninsula, where Queen Maeve's tomb, Miosgán Médhbh, dominates the western skyline from the crest of Knocknarea Mountain. An archaeological recovery suggests the county may have been one of the earliest places of human settlement in Ireland.[1]


Famous medieval manuscripts written in County Sligo include the Book of Ballymote, the Great Book of Lecan, and the Yellow Book of Lecan. The patron of the Annals of the Four Masters was Ferghal O Gadhra of Coolavin in south County Sligo.

Coat of Arms

This crest was adopted by Sligo County Council in 1980. The design on the black shield, which shows an open book on which there is a Celtic Cross and a red rose, represents collectively the literary and cultural history of Sligo. These refer to such early works as the Books of Ballymote and Lecan, while the rose was a significant theme in the poetry of W.B.Yeats. The escallop shells sprinkled on the shield refer to the origin of the word Sligeach -- "a place abounding in shells". The boar's head refers to the "wild boar of Benbulben" in the Diarmuid and Gráinne myth. The colour scheme of the crest incorporates the Sligo GAA colours of black and white. [2]

Local government and politics

Sligo County Council is the governing body for the county. It is divided into five Local Electoral Areas (LEAs) Ballymote, Dromore, Sligo-Drumcliff, Sligo-Strandhill and Tubbercurry. There are 25 members elected to Sligo County Council.

Sligo is part of the Sligo-North Leitrim constituency and has three representatives (TD's) in Dáil Éireann, Tony McLoughlin (FG), John Perry (FG) and Michael Colreavy (SF). It also has one representative to Seanad Éireann, Marc MacSharry


The Sligo coastline at Mullaghmore, with Classiebawn Castle in the distance
Beezie's Island on Lough Gill

The poet and Nobel laureate William Butler Yeats (1865–1939) spent much of his childhood in northern Sligo and the county's landscapes (particularly the Isle of Innisfree, in Lough Gill) were the inspiration for much of his poetry. Yeats said, "the place that has really influenced my life most is Sligo." He is buried in North County Sligo, "Under Ben Bulben", in Drumcliff.


County Sligo has a long history of traditional music. The south of the county is particularly noted with such musical luminaries as James Morrison, Michael Coleman, Paddy Killoran, Fred Finn, Peter Horan, Joe O'Dowd, Jim Donoghue, Martin Wynne, Oisín Mac Diarmada (of Téada), tin-whistle player Carmel Gunning and the band Dervish. The county has many traditional music festivals and one of the most well known is the Queen Maeve International Summer School, a traditional Irish Music summer school of music and dance which is held annually in August in Sligo Town. On the more contemporary music scene there are Westlife, Tabby Callaghan and The Conway Sisters who are from Sligo. Strandhill, about 9 km west of Sligo, hosts the Strandhill Guitar Festival [1] each year, featuring a wide variety of guitar music and musicians.


Unlike its neighboring counties, Sligo has had more success at soccer rather than Gaelic games. The county is home to League of Ireland Premier Division club Sligo Rovers, who have played home matches at The Showgrounds since they were founded in 1928. Brother Walfrid the founder of Celtic Football Club was born in Ballymote.

The county is represented in Gaelic Games by Sligo GAA.

Geography and political subdivisions

Sligo countryside and Ben Bulben seen in the background

Sligo is the 22nd largest of Ireland's 32 counties in area and 26th largest in terms of population.[3] It is the fourth largest of Connacht's 5 counties in size and third largest in terms of population. The County borders County Mayo to the west, County Roscommon to the south and south-east and County Leitrim to the north-east.

Largest Towns County Sligo (2011 Census)

Beach near Strandhill
  1. Sligo, 19,452
  2. Tubbercurry, 1,747
  3. Strandhill, 1,596
  4. Ballymote, 1,539
  5. Collooney, 1,369

Towns and villages


See also


  1. ^ C.Michael Hogan. 2011. . Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. P.Saundry & C.J.Cleveland. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington DCCeltic Sea
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ For 1653 and 1659 figures from Civil Survey Census of those years, Paper of Mr Hardinge to Royal Irish Academy 14 March 1865.
  5. ^ Census for post 1821 figures.
  6. ^
  7. ^ NISRA – Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (c) 2013. (27 September 2010). Retrieved on 23 July 2013.
  8. ^
  9. ^

External links

  • Collection of Sligo Landscape Photographs
  • Sligo County Council
  • Sligo Borough Council
  • Map of Sligo
  • History of Sligo, County and Town By William Gregory Wood-Martin
  • Song, "Beautiful Sligo" sung by Michael McGloin,YouTube Video, with images.
  • Texts on Wikisource:

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