You can now be “friends” with the County Sligo Heritage and Genealogy Centre on facebook , an interactive way to see what’s new and to become involved. “Like” us and we’ll keep you posted, including the latest on our series of Emigrant Trail Tours this year, in conjunction with Wild West Irish Tours, as part of the Gathering, two of which are sold out. For more information about the tours visit:
The Emigration Trail Tour will retrace the steps of the people who left behind their homes and family to seek out a better life in America, Canada and Australia.
We will walk the quiet roads and boreens leading to the homes, ruins, workhouses, towns, churches, fields, and docks, while our local guides give you an insight to the mass emigration that played out in the hundreds of thousands all over the island of Ireland.
You arrive in Dublin Airport and we will greet you at the arrival gate. You will board your comfortable mini-van and we will cross the scenic midlands of Ireland. We will make a stop in Carrick-on-Shannon for lunch and continue west to County Roscommon, where we will visit Curlew Pass Castle and visit Boyle Abbey in the town of Boyle. We will arrive late afternoon/evening to your comfortable hotel or cottage in the poetic beauty of Yeat’s country, County Sligo. After dinner and some rest, we will take in some traditional Irish music locally, and perhaps enjoy a pint of Guinness or a cup of tea.
After a hearty Irish breakfast, we start the day with a visit to the Sligo Heritage and Genealogical Centre in Sligotown and view a wonderful presentation called “Tracing Your Roots.” An audio-visual presentation will introduce the group to County Sligo and the Northwest of Ireland and set the scene for the background to the famine and subsequent mass emigration in the 1800s. The staff at the Heritage Centre will also provide guidance on family research in the area.
After the presentation, you and our small group will drive west for a scenic drive over the highest part of the Ox Mountains known as Ladies Brae. We will take in the stunning panoramic views over the Sligo countryside and coastline including Sligo bay, Benbulben and Sliabh League in south Donegal.
Then it’s on to Hungry Rock, which is situated in the Ox Mountains on the side of the road connecting Coolaney and Ballasodare. It is said to have got its name from the number of people who died on the road during the famine of the 1840s. According to legend whoever throws a stone onto this rock will not know hunger on his journey. In famine times it was used as a bread table for sharing food to starving people.
We then head down the coast road to experience the beauty of the mountains to our left and the wild Atlantic Ocean to our right. We will stop for lunch at an old thatched a pub/restaurant right at the ocean’s edge. From here we take a walk down a small lane which leads to an abandoned village, a legacy of the ravages of emigration. A visit to a local emigration museum followed by a tour of a Famine era “Workhouse” completes a day that will be emotional, profound and fascinating.
We start the day by visiting the port town of Sligo and walk along Ireland’s shortest and most intriguing rivers, the Garavogue. This is the very river thousands of Irish people sailed upon westbound to North America. We will take a tour of the town and visit with a gentleman whose family kept all the passenger lists and records of people leaving the port. You will also visit the sacred Sligo Famine Graveyard and Memorial, where thousands of men, women and children were buried in mass graves during An Gorta Mor. We will introduce you to the local people who have kept the memory and stories alive of this era. What was it like to board a boat and sail out the river into a vast ocean knowing you may never return?
We hope to provide you a sense of this experience as we take a boat trip out the Garavogue River, past Coney Island and Rosses Point, and into Sligo Bay, leading to Innismurray Island. Innismurray has the remains of a 6th century monastery and the remnants of a village long since deserted. In the evening, you will be invited to an “American Wake.” This was a gathering for friends and relations of people who were leaving Ireland. It was a sad occasion but there was music, dance, food and drink in honor of those leaving Ireland forever. We will provide a special evening of Irish dance and music in keeping with the traditions of “an American Wake.”
We turn northward to visit the enchanted northern coast of Sligo and meet local storytellers, historians and writers. We will take a drive around the valleys of Benbulben and walk nature trails which lead to waterfalls and magical hidden places of years gone by. We will explore the beaches of the Maugherow Peninsula, where we find an ancient place with thousands of fossils from millions of years ago.
No visit to Sligo and the Northwest of Ireland would be complete without visiting Yeat’s Country, and taking in the spectacular Glencar Lake and Waterfall. Our day will include a trip out to Streedagh Beach, where the Spanish Armada shipwrecked in 1588. We will visit a thatched pub that has been around since 1610 and you will get a chance to meet some more of the locals and have a pint and perhaps a bit of Irish music.
We depart our hotel after our final breakfast, and make our way toward the Strokestown Famine Museum in County Roscommon. Our visit here will be a fitting conclusion to a week of deep and enriching experiences. We will arrive in Dublin in the late afternoon or early evening, and you will be free to take in the sights, sounds and tastes of dear old Dublin.
We will bring you to Dublin Airport and ensure you are set for your flight home.
Dates for this special tour are:
May 19 – 24
*June 5 – 13 (SOLD OUT)
July 14 – 19
September 8 – 13
* Combined with our regular 9-day Wild West Irish Tour; accommodation at B&B
6 days/5 nights (except for June 5-13) exclusive heritage tour
accommodation at a beautiful 5-star hotel
daily breakfast and dinner are included
meet with local storytellers and historians
all ground transportation.
To book your place on this very special tour – click here
The Irish Embassy in Washington, D.C. welcomed guests at a reception held on Thursday December 13th to highlight The Gathering , a community-led initiative that encourages overseas visitors to come to Ireland in 2013 and participate in one of the many events. Particularly ours in Sligo!
The Gathering was identified in the Washington Post’s Travel Section as possibly “the best pitch for travel in the new year” – click here to read
The stellar evening reception was arranged by D.C. and Sligo-based tour company Wild West Irish Tours, co-owned by former Sligo resident Michael Regan-Waugh and his partner Trish O’Donnell-Jenkins, who are our seasoned tour partners.
Our exclusive Emigrant Trail Tour to take place monthly between May and September will visit beautiful and fascinating off-the-beaten-track sites within West and North Sligo relating to emigration.
The Embassy was also honoured to welcome Cathy Jordan, lead singer with the Irish band Dervish and who performed several songs. Michael R. Frey, Supervisor of Fairfax County in Virginia, presented Cathy with a Proclamation that in Fairfax County, December 13th is “Cathy Jordan – Wild West Irish Tours Day.”
As part of The Gathering 2013 in Ireland, a national community-led initiative to welcome visitors to the country, the County Sligo Heritage & Genealogy Centre and Wild West Irish Tours (www.wildwestirishtours.com) are offering an exclusive guided tour package. Our unforgettable and unique Emigrant Trail Tour will trace the steps of the Irish emigrant from the family cottage, to the workhouse, to the “American Wake” and to the very shipping channel and shores they departed from on their voyage beyond to North America.
There will be five of these special tours from May to September, with each being 6 days/5 nights long (except for June 2013, which is combined with Wild West Irish Tour’s regular 9-day tour). Accommodation at the beautiful Radisson Blu Sligo Hotel is also included, in addition to daily breakfast and dinner.
June 5-13 (part of Wild West Irish Tour’s regular 9-day tour)
For more information or to book, contact Wild West Irish Tours at email@example.com
or phone USA: 571-236-9650, Republic of Ireland: 085-134-9300.
The County Sligo Heritage and Genealogy Centre is featured in the October 2012 digital genealogy magazine Irish Lives Remembered (visit http://www.irishlivesremembered.com/magazines.html).
In addition to providing comprehensive information about our services and listing the most popular surnames of the county, there are also two other Sligo-based features in the magazine. Jim Ryan writes about “Tracing Your Sligo Ancestors”, and there’s also a fascinating history by K. Flynn “Farmers, Fisherman, Emigration and the Town That Died: The Story of Aughris, Templeboy, Co. Sligo.”
Preserving one own’s heritage with active participation was the theme of two simultaneous events the County Heritage & Genealogy Centre hosted during the 2012 Heritage Week.
One event was a presentation taught by professional photographer and tutor John Coen who shared with two groups how to digitally scan and preserve old photographs using ordinary home computer printers that now have this capability. Participants learned how easy it can be to preserve treasured family photographs for generations to come.
The other aspect to our Heritage Week events was collecting oral histories from several County Sligo individuals who shared their memories of school days. In this pilot project, which the centre hopes to expand, each participant was interviewed and recorded. Transcriptions are now being made from the recordings and when completed, will be available in our archives for the public to read or to listen to on CD. A podcast will also soon be made available through our website.
Many thanks to the County Sligo Heritage Department and the Heritage Council for their support, and to all the participants.
The County Sligo Heritage and Genealogy Centre was represented at this year’s Tubbercurry Old Fair Day August 8th, an enduringly popular 220-year-old heritage event. More than 70 people, locals and visitors alike, enjoyed learning about the Centre’s many services, sparking an interest in carrying out their genealogy. Many thanks to organiser Sean McDonagh and his crew for all their assistance.
County Sligo citizens are invited to share their memories, through photographs and stories, with the County Sligo Heritage and Genealogy Centre during a free, double-faceted Heritage Week event. Learn how to digitally scan, restore and conserve your old family photographs in one of two sessions taught by a photography expert.
Or if you would like to share a short story about your school days, for our oral history project “School Day Memories,” the County Sligo Heritage and Genealogy Centre will interview, record, transcribe and ‘podcast’ through our website your memories for our archives.
Dates and Times:
Thursday, August 23rd and Friday, August 24th
11am – 1pm
Numbers are limited, so to book a space for one of our sessions, please telephone 071 914 3728.
Many thanks to the County Sligo Heritage Department and the Heritage Council for funding this event.
Community Services Forum
The County Sligo Heritage & Genealogy Centre was represented at a positive and productive community services forum held June 7th at the Sligo Park Hotel. The event was hosted by Sligo Leader Partnership Ltd. Co., Sligo Community Forum and the Sligo Weekender.
Representatives of community and voluntary groups, development associations and resident associations participated in this interactive event, which included talks and workshops. CEO Chris Gonley of Sligo Leader and Claire Galligan of Sligo County Community Forum outlined funding opportunities and other available supports for groups.
Editors Robert Cullin and Brian McHugh of the Sligo Weekender advised on how community groups, such as our Centre, can avail of the media to support their activities. They discussed linking in community events with the newspaper using such methods as social networking and texting.
The evening was a great opportunity for our Centre to display its beautiful new “pop up” stand, distribute our new brochures and network with many of the interested participants about the Centre’s services and exciting future plans, including the upcoming Heritage Week.
The County Sligo Heritage and Genealogy Centre took part in Community Services Day in Enniscrone April 26th 2012, along with about 40 other agencies. We enjoyed the opportunity to meet with many interested people and network with other groups. Many thanks to the West Easkey Family Resource Centre for organising this positive event.