Castles and country manors of County Sligo

Castles of Sligo

The Castles and Country Manors of County Sligo

  • County Sligo in Ireland is home to a stunning of castles that offer glimpse into the region rich history and architectural marvels.
  • From the majestic Classiebawn Castle to the hidden gem of Hazelwood House, these castles are a must-visit for history buffs and castle enthusiasts.
  • Ballymote Castle, Parke's Castle, Moygara Castle, and Lissadell House are among the enchanting castles that showcase the grandeur and beauty of County Sligo.
  • Markree Castle and Coopershill House offer a unique blend of history and modern comforts, making them perfect for a luxurious stay in the countryside.
  • With their fascinating stories and stunning surroundings, these castles in County Sligo are sure to leave you enchanted and wanting to explore more.
Markree Castle in Collooney, County Sligo, Ireland.

Explore 9 Castles and Manors in County Sligo

County Sligo, located in the west of Ireland, is a hidden gem that offers breathtaking landscapes, rich heritage, and a fascinating history. Known for its rugged coastlines, rolling hills, and ancient landmarks, this charming region is a haven for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike.


One of the highlights of County Sligo is its collection of enchanting castles, each with its own unique story to tell.
These castles, scattered throughout the county, offer a glimpse into Ireland's past and showcase the architectural brilliance of different eras. From medieval fortresses to Victorian marvels, each castle has its own charm and allure. Whether you're exploring the ruins of Sligo Abbey or admiring the grandeur of Markree Castle, you'll be transported back in time to a world of princes and princesses, battles and conquests.



1. Ballymote Castle - A Gateway into the Past

Ballymote Castle, located in the townland of Carrownanty on the outskirts of Ballymote, is a magnificent example of a large rectangular keepless castle. Built around 1300, this castle played a significant role in protecting the possessions of Richard Óg de Burgh, the 2nd Earl of Ulster.

With its imposing structure and rich history, Ballymote Castle serves as a gateway into the past, allowing visitors to step back in time and imagine life in medieval Ireland. The castle's strategic location and sturdy construction make it an impressive sight to behold. Despite its ruined condition, the castle still retains its grandeur and offers visitors a glimpse into the region's Norman history.

As you explore the castle, you'll be able to see the remnants of the double towered gate and the impressive three-quarter round towers at each corner. The castle's thick walls, standing at about 3.0 meters, and the six noble towers flanking the structure, further showcase the architectural brilliance of this historic site.

Ballymote Castle is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and those who appreciate the allure of ancient structures. It stands as a testament to the region's rich history and offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the stories of the past.


2. Classiebawn Castle - A Majestic Victorian Marvel

Nestled in the picturesque west of Ireland, Classiebawn Castle is a majestic Victorian marvel that exudes grandeur and elegance. Situated near the Wild Atlantic Way, this castle offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and the rugged coastline.

Originally built in the 19th century for the second Viscount Palmerston, Classiebawn Castle is known for its striking architecture and stunning location. The castle's turreted towers, intricate detailing, and imposing facade make it a sight to behold.

Today, the castle is privately owned and serves as a private residence. While it is not open to the public, the castle's exterior and the surrounding grounds are worth a visit. The picturesque setting, with the castle standing proudly against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, provides the perfect opportunity for a leisurely stroll and some stunning photographs.

As you explore the grounds of Classiebawn Castle, you'll be transported to a world of Victorian splendor and be able to appreciate the timeless beauty of this architectural gem. Classiebawn Castle is a true treasure of County Sligo and a must-visit for anyone seeking a taste of Victorian opulence in the heart of the Irish countryside.


3. Parke's Castle - A Restoration Jewel on the Banks of Lough Gill

Located on the banks of Lough Gill, Parke's Castle is a stunning restoration jewel that showcases the architectural beauty of the region. This 17th-century plantation castle has been lovingly restored by the Office of Public Works and is now open to the public.

Parke's Castle offers visitors a unique glimpse into the history of the region and the lives of its former inhabitants. As you explore the castle, you'll be able to admire the intricate carvings, stone fireplaces, and beautifully preserved rooms. The castle's commanding position on the shores of Lough Gill provides breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

One of the highlights of Parke's Castle is its interactive exhibitions, which bring the history of the castle to life. From informative displays to engaging audiovisual presentations, these exhibits offer visitors a deeper understanding of the castle's significance and the stories it holds.

Whether you're exploring the castle's interior or taking a leisurely stroll around its gardens, Parke's Castle is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and those interested in Ireland's rich heritage. Immerse yourself in the beauty and history of this restoration jewel and discover the secrets that lie within its walls.


4. Sligo Abbey - Historical Ruins with a Mysterious Aura

Situated in the townland of Carrownanty, Sligo Abbey is a historical ruin that exudes a mysterious aura. Founded in the mid-13th century by Maurice FitzGerald, this Dominican Friary is a testament to the region's religious and architectural heritage.

As you explore the abbey's ruins, you'll be captivated by the intricate carvings and the sense of history that permeates the site. The abbey's location, surrounded by lush greenery and nestled in the heart of County Sligo, adds to its enchanting charm.

Sligo Abbey is known for its wealth of carvings, dating back to the 15th century. These carvings depict various scenes from religious and secular life, providing a fascinating insight into the past. From the intricate detailing on the windows to the beautifully preserved cloister, every corner of the abbey tells a story.

Today, Sligo Abbey is open to the public, allowing visitors to explore its ancient ruins and immerse themselves in the history of the region. Whether you're a history buff or simply appreciate the beauty of ancient architecture, Sligo Abbey is a must-visit when exploring the castles of County Sligo.


5. Markree Castle - A Fairy-tale Estate for the Modern Explorer

Markree Castle, located in the southern part of County Sligo, is a fairy-tale estate that offers modern comforts in a historic setting. This 19th-century castle has been lovingly restored and transformed into a luxury hotel, offering guests a unique blend of history and contemporary elegance.

As you step inside Markree Castle, you'll be transported to a world of opulence and grandeur. The castle's beautifully furnished rooms, elegant decor, and welcoming atmosphere create a truly enchanting experience. Whether you're enjoying a gourmet meal in the castle's fine dining restaurant or relaxing in the comfort of your luxurious room, every moment at Markree Castle is sure to be memorable.

Beyond its luxurious accommodations, Markree Castle also boasts stunning grounds and a rich history. With its idyllic setting amidst rolling hills and ancient woodland, the castle provides the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities such as walking, cycling, and fishing.

Markree Castle is a true gem in County Sligo, offering a unique opportunity to experience the charm of a bygone era while enjoying modern comforts. Whether you're seeking a romantic getaway or a memorable family vacation, this fairy-tale estate is sure to leave you enchanted.


6. Moygara Castle - The Forgotten Fortress of Gaelic Royalty

Overlooking Lough Gara, Moygara Castle is a forgotten fortress that once served as the principal home of the O'Gara clan. Built in the 16th century, this castle is a testament to the region's Gaelic royalty and offers a glimpse into the past.

Moygara Castle, located in the heart of County Sligo, is a castellated building with battlemented towers. Although it is now in ruins, the castle's imposing structure and the remnants of its towers are evidence of its former grandeur.

The castle's history is intertwined with the O'Gara clan, who were pushed out of their territory after the Anglo-Norman invasion. Moygara Castle was their stronghold, standing as a symbol of their power and influence. Today, the castle stands as a reminder of the region's rich Gaelic heritage.

Visitors to Moygara Castle can explore the site and imagine what life was like for the O'Gara clan in medieval Ireland. The castle's location, overlooking Lough Gara, adds to its allure and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Moygara Castle is a hidden gem in County Sligo, waiting to be discovered by those who appreciate the region's rich history and architectural wonders. Step back in time and uncover the secrets of this forgotten fortress.


7. Lissadell House and Gardens - An Aristocratic Residence with Rebel Ties

Lissadell House and Gardens, located in County Sligo, is an aristocratic residence with rebel ties. Built in the 16th century, this historic house holds a special place in Irish history and literature.

Once the home of the Gore-Booth family, Lissadell House is known for its association with the renowned poet William Butler Yeats. The house and its surroundings provided inspiration for much of Yeats' work and are now open to the public, allowing visitors to explore the poet's connection to the region.

The house itself is a stunning example of 16th-century architecture, with its grand facade and beautifully preserved interiors. As you wander through the rooms, you'll be transported to a world of elegance and refinement, with period furnishings and exquisite artwork adorning the walls.

The gardens at Lissadell House are equally impressive, with their manicured lawns, vibrant flower beds, and tranquil lakeside setting. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and soak in the beauty of the landscape that inspired Yeats.

Lissadell House and Gardens offer a unique blend of history, literature, and natural beauty. A visit to this aristocratic residence is a must for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of County Sligo's cultural heritage.


8. Coopershill House - An 18th Century Country Mansion

Nestled in the heart of County Sligo, Coopershill House is an 18th-century country mansion that offers a glimpse into the region's elegant past. This magnificent house, surrounded by lush grounds and rolling countryside, is a testament to the grandeur and sophistication of the Georgian era.

Coopershill House, once home to the Cooper family, has retained its historic charm and offers a truly authentic country house experience. From the moment you step inside, you'll be transported to a world of luxury and refinement, with beautifully furnished rooms and exquisite attention to detail.

The house's rich history is evident in its architecture and decor, with period features and antique furnishings adding to its charm. Whether you're relaxing in the elegant drawing room, enjoying a sumptuous meal in the dining room, or exploring the manicured gardens, every moment at Coopershill House is a step back in time.

Coopershill House is a haven for those seeking a tranquil escape in the Irish countryside. With its idyllic setting, warm hospitality, and historic allure, this 18th-century country mansion is a true gem in County Sligo.


9. Hazelwood House - A Hidden Gem Amidst Mythical Woods

Tucked away amidst mythical woods, Hazelwood House is a hidden gem in County Sligo. Located on the Wild Atlantic Way, this historic house and its surrounding grounds offer a peaceful retreat and a glimpse into the region's folklore.

Hazelwood House, with its idyllic setting on the shores of Lough Gill, is a place of natural beauty and tranquility. The house itself is a fine example of Georgian architecture, with its elegant facade and beautifully proportioned rooms.

The grounds of Hazelwood House are equally captivating, with ancient woodlands, serene lakes, and picturesque walking trails. Explore the mystical woods that inspired the poetry of William Butler Yeats and immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds this hidden gem.

Whether you're strolling through the gardens, enjoying a picnic by the lake, or simply taking in the peaceful atmosphere, Hazelwood House offers a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Discover the magic of this hidden gem and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Unveiling the Secrets of Sligo’s Castles

The castles of County Sligo are not just architectural marvels, but also hold fascinating stories and secrets. From the architectural brilliance of Norman castles to the restoration efforts of the Office of Public Works, each castle has a unique tale to tell. The preservation of these castles is vital to maintaining the region's rich history and cultural heritage. As you explore these enchanting castles, you'll uncover the secrets of the past and gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty and significance of Sligo's castles.


The Architectural Brilliance of Sligo’s Castles

The castles of County Sligo showcase a remarkable range of architectural styles that span centuries. From the imposing stone fortifications of Ballymote Castle to the intricate detailing of Parke's Castle, each castle tells a story of craftsmanship and design.

The Norman castles, with their strong defensive features and strategic locations, are a testament to the military prowess of their builders. The later additions and modifications to these castles showcase the changing architectural tastes and influences over the centuries.

The preservation of these castles is a testament to the dedication and expertise of organizations such as the Office of Public Works. Through careful restoration and maintenance, these castles have been preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Whether you're an architecture enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of historic structures, the castles of County Sligo are sure to captivate you. Explore the architectural brilliance of these castles and marvel at the skill and ingenuity of their builders.


The Turbulent Histories Behind Sligo’s Fortresses

County Sligo's castles have a turbulent history that reflects the region's past struggles and triumphs. These fortresses have witnessed sieges, restorations, and changes of ownership over the centuries.

Ballymote Castle, a large rectangular keepless castle, was built around 1300 to protect the possessions of Richard Óg de Burgh, the 2nd Earl of Ulster. It is the last of the Norman castles in Connacht. The castle has experienced several battles and changing hands multiple times.

Moygara Castle, overlooking Lough Gara, was once the principal home of the O'Gara clan. After the Anglo-Norman invasion, the O'Gara's were pushed out of their territory and built Moygara Castle as their new stronghold. The castle was a fortified building with battlemented towers, of which four can still be traced today.

These castles have undergone restorations to preserve their historical significance. Today, visitors can explore the remains of these once-mighty fortresses and learn about the turbulent histories that shaped County Sligo.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Best Time of Year to Visit Sligo’s Castles?

The best time to visit Sligo's castles is during the summer months from June to August. The weather is generally mild and pleasant, making it ideal for outdoor exploration. This period also coincides with the peak tourist season, so there are more events and activities happening in the region.


Are There Any Haunted Castles in County Sligo?

Yes, there are haunted castles in County Sligo that are known for their ghost stories and paranormal activities. One notable haunted castle is Ballymote Castle, which has a reputation for being visited by spirits. Some castles offer ghost tours for those brave enough to explore the supernatural side of Sligo's history.


Can You Stay Overnight in Any of Sligo’s Castles?

Yes, some of Sligo's castles offer the opportunity for an unforgettable overnight stay. Temple House, for example, is a classical Georgian mansion set in a private estate of over 1,000 acres. The present manor offers luxurious and authentic country house accommodations with modern comforts and amenities.


What Activities Can Be Enjoyed Around Sligo’s Castles?

There are plenty of activities to enjoy around Sligo's castles. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the surrounding landscapes through hiking, horse riding, and fishing. Cultural experiences such as traditional music sessions and storytelling are also popular in the region. Families can enjoy picnics, wildlife spotting, and guided tours suitable for all ages.


How Accessible Are County Sligo’s Castles for Tourists?

County Sligo's castles are generally accessible for tourists. They are located within reach of major transportation routes and are easily accessible by car or public transport. Some castles may have limited accessibility for individuals with mobility issues, but efforts are being made to improve facilities and visitor access.