Travel writer, I ain’t. My sister Eimhear has travelled to over 60 countries and forever planning her next adventure, given that I always wanted to be a librarian (and still kind of do), I think we can accept I’m not as adventurous as she is. That said, a weekend in Sligo has inspired me so here I am, travel writing.
The Irish Literary Revivalists of the late 19th century portrayed The West in Utopian
terms, a place where the Gaelic culture still flourished and all was well in the world. Lady Gregory and W. B Yeats must’ve had me in their sights as they drafted their marketing plan because I knew I’d love Sligo before I ever set foot there.
One of my closest friends moved to Sligo last year, settled in almost immediately and by his own admission, will be hard to get out of the place. We’ve been a gang of close friends since University; we spent our twenties finding our way, together. Now in our thirties, we find our paths have diverged. We no longer live in each others’ pockets, but we try and make time for each other, when we can.
Finding suitable accommodation for 3 of us was proving challenging until we found a fantastic apartment on Air BnB, overlooking the river Garavogue. Friday night, we caught up in Casa Mia, a tapas-style Italian restaurant. The food was good, I particularly enjoyed my fishcakes. Afterwards, we made our way to Lillies, a kitsch cocktail bar, serving perfectly tart, refreshing cosmopolitans.
Saturday morning, we managed to grab a table in Sweet Beat, a plant-based café my friend Carol-Anne opened last year. The team at Sweet Beat recently received a glowing review from The Irish Times and it’s easy to see why. I started with a nutty, wholesome smoothie, the perfect pre-cursor to creamy avocado on sourdough toast with some of Carol-Anne’s spicy hummus. It was hearty, bursting with flavour and filled me up until late afternoon.
Lissadell House aka Irish feminist mecca was next on our list. The Gore-Booths of Lissadell challenged and subsequently changed the future for women in Ireland and we couldn’t wait to visit their ancestral home. Our guide’s vast knowledge of the house and its inhabitants made the visit extra-special. On the way to Strandhill, we took a pit-stop at W.B Yeats’ grave, in Drumcliff. Shells café swoon-worthy Instagram feed made it an obvious choice for dinner. We drank hibiscus infused prosecco, followed by excellent burgers, fish and chips. Saturday night will go undocumented because I’m not sure if the shapes we threw in the nightclub warrant description, but we had a great time.
Before our paths diverged once more, we had delicious pancakes and coffee in Ósta; our friendships rekindled by a weekend in beautiful, vibrant Sligo.