We’ve already told you why we’re big fans of Galway City, and today we’re moving up the Wild Atlantic Way to the Gateway City – Sligo. The home of W.B Yeats, picturesque scenery, Sligo Live, and of course, the birthplace of Nitelife Magazine! Here’s why we’re mad about Sligeach.

1. Strandhill

One of the most westerly points in Europe, Strandhill boasts some of the best waves around – the perfect spot for surfing. It houses a magical stretch of sandy beach, sand dunes that are great for a roll down, a surf school, and the Strand Bar – an intimate, warm little haunt with great Guinness, grub and gorgeous guys and gals behind the bar. And what’s more, it’s only a stone’s throw outside town. 10 minutes by bus, or car.

2. Voya Seaweed Baths

Based in Strandhill, Voya is a hidden gem where rejuvenation and relaxation are the orders of the day. With fresh Atlantic seawater pumped directly into the place, and wild seaweed taken from just outside the door, you can immerse yourself in an all-healing pool of aquatic magic. A host of treatments are available at really reasonable prices, and there’s nothing better than leaving the place and getting blown away by the crisp sea breeze. The perfect hangover cure!

3. The Swagman Bar 

Formerly known as The Stables, The Swagman Bar is arguably the town’s best spot for a pint, located smack-bang in the centre of Sligo, on Wine Street. Whatever time of day you toddle in, you’re guaranteed to be welcomed by their ever-lovely staff, as well as Swagman proprietor, Dale Barber. Next time you’re around, sample some craft beers, gorgeous food (including kangaroo), and their amazing beer garden, complete with garden bar and outdoor music sessions.

4. The Model Gallery 

As Ireland’s leading contemporary art spaces, The Model has held exhibitions by Irish and interantional art stars like: Paul Chan, Anri Sala, Harun Farocki, Omer Fast, Gregor Schneider, Kendell Geers, Johan Grimonprez, Dorothy Cross, and the inimitable Andy Warhol. There’s nothing quite like a stroll around the expos and a quick latte (glass of wine) in the Gallery Cafe.   

5. The Mountains

The majestic Benbulben is visible all along Sligo’s Northern coast, standing at 525m tall. ‘Ben’s’ limestone top is uncommonly flat, but once you get to the top, you’ll get the most beautiful views of the county ever! It’s seriously breathtaking. A hop, skip and a jump sits the 325m high Knocknarea home to Queen Meabh’s Cairn. Knocknarea is another hill-walkers dream, with spectacular views of the Atlantic.

6. Retail Therapy 

Although it’s a fairly small town, by comparison, Sligo hosts some really great shops for all tastes and budgets. They’ve got the run-of-mill, old-reliable River Island, Penneys, TK Maxx, and Next; but sonder off the beaten track and you’ll find a whole lot of quirk: The Cat & The Moon – selling handcrafted Irish loveliness; The Record Room – a vintage style music shop stocking vinyl, guitars and sheet music; The Vintage Loft – located in Johnston’s Court, where stylish bargain hunters are sure to find something one-of-a-kind; and Cross sections – a treasure trove of homely delights.

7. The Tunes

Sligo has long been associated with great music, and continues to be. It’s the birthplace of Mary O’Hara, Michael Coleman, Ireland’s most famous boy-band Westlife, X-Factor’s Tabby Callaghan, The Quakers, and Rackhouse Pilfer, to name but a few. They’ve hosted the world-renowned Fleadh Cheoil, and annual folk-roots and indie music festival, Sligo Live. We’ll have the full line-up for the festival very soon.

8. The Grub

On a visit to the coastal town, one thing’s for sure – you’ll never go hungry! A wide-range of palette pleasers are on offer around every single corner. If you fancy steak, seafood, or a humble ham and cheese then pop into one of the many local eateries: Eala Bhan, Montemartre, Bistro Bianconi, Silver Apple, and the award winning Coach Lane @ Donaghys. Nom Nom Nom!   

   9. The Hawkswell Theatre 

This 340-seat theatre is the North-West’s most notable spot for it’s wide-reaching programme of events. They’ve got more entertainment than you can shake a stick at: comedy, drama (both pro and amateur), trad music, jazz, opera, panto, dance and if that wasn’t enough, the Hawkswell has a lovely bar too!

10. The Nightlife

Ya can’t beat Sligo for the craic; they’ve got it in spades! Let us tell you, boredom is never an issue in this quirky little town. If good tunes and a spot of dancing is needed, head along to late-night spots like, 5th on Teeling, The Velvet Rooms, Toffs, Bourbon, Lillie’s and McGarrigles – just don’t forget a trip out to Strandhill the next day to blow away the cobwebs!

If we’ve missed anything in our ‘Reasons’ list, just pop it in the comments below; or tweet our Editors – @dazalooly/@aisdee.