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 Change your Mind festival is a family fun day with so many different things taking place on March 25th at the Clayton Hotel.
Benbulben Carnival. 2nd and 3rd of June. A weekend of music and dance, a parade and street parties. Some free events and also two nights of outdoor concerts with proceeds going to local charities.
The South Sligo Summer School takes place from the 15th – 21st 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 – although some of the events have a charge ParkFest is free.
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.
The Click Clack creative writing group meet on the third Wednesday of every month 8pm in the Bookmart, Sligo. Admission is always free.
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 W. B. Yeats mural. 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. Open from 29th March – 31st October 2018.
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 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 Sunday of the month.
Strandhill People’s Market takes place every Sunday at Sligo airport from 11am – 4pm.
Bards in the Woods have several free dates coming up during the year:
Free, no fee, nature walk, poetry sharing, picnic, children and dogs very welcome.
These Sunday afternoons ..
8th April, Hazelwood, meet at main car park by lough Gill, 3 pm
17th June, The Glen, meet at the path entrance 3 pm,
26th August, Gillighan’s World, meet at car park 3 pm
14th October, Devil’s Chimney, meet at car park 2 pm
28th October, Samhain BBQ at Dooney Rock, meet by lough beach 2 pm.
Directions usually needed, text 086 208 2873
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.