In Irish, Sligo translates as 'bay of the shells' and this county situated by Sligo Bay in the north west of Ireland, is famed for its archaeological finds, its evocative landmarks and their association with the Irish poet W.B. Yeats .
The Nobel Prize winning poet laureate spent much of his childhood in Sligo where his mother was from. The landscape formed the basis for much of his writings from the Lake Isle of Innisfree in Lough Gill, to mounts of Knocknarea and Benbulben and its is under the shadow of the latter that William Butler Yeats is buried, in the graveyard of the church where his great grandfather had been rector.
Another important gravesite sits at the top of Knocknarea, said to be that of the legendary Queen Maeve who ruled the province of Connacht. In the valley below this 328m peak are more graves at the prehistoric cemetery of Carrowmore. This is believed to be the largest collection of Megalithic tombs in Europe and among the oldest in Ireland. Over 60 stone tombs have been uncovered, which predate Newgrange by 700 years pointing to Sligo as being a settlement of some of Ireland's earliest inhabitants.
The only real town of any size in the county is Sligo Town , which sits at the head of the bay and serves as a fishing port and a market town for the surrounding farmlands. Sligo is a bustling town with a vibrant cultural life and is home to the Yeats International Summer School at the Yeats Building and the impressive Niland Gallery.
Other famous connections to Sligo include Michael Coleman an influential Irish traditional musician and actor Daniel Day Lewis.