21:37 Tuesday, 20 August 2019
Sligo is criminally underrated – By Dave Duke.
I’ll be totally honest with you, before last week, I never considered Sligo to be interesting, or worthy of much attention.
I was wrong.
To understand this you have to consider geography, I hail from rural Leitrim which borders with Sligo, only 35 minutes away.
Sligo to me was for unreal college house parties and shopping for Christmas, perhaps Strandhill for some Mama Johnsons Ice Cream and The Venue chicken wings…
But beyond parties and culinary delights, I asked myself, what’s in Sligo?
As part of our Summer promotion –iGoHome with Clayton Hotels, my co-host Fionnuala Corbett and myself decided to find out…
And so we began a two day odyssey dedicated to Sligo discovery (and a couple of radio shows of course).
Two of the first people who kicked off our journey through Sligo were Independent Cllr Marie Casserly and Anthony Gray – Both of whom show unapologetic passion for their corner of the world.
Cllr Casserly is one of the spearheads of the Sligo Food Trail.
What is the Sligo Food trail you ask? Well, their own description can’t be topped ‘A food lovers’ paradise, abundant in delicious local delicacies yielded from the magnificent Atlantic landscape, served to you with pride.
We spoke about how the town, villages and the county of Sligo are pulling together, how many businesses no longer see each other as solely competitors but as accompaniments and by working together they can deliver a greater product for all those who want to explore Sligo.
Our guide through the Sligo Food Trail was Anthony Gray, a man so passionate about Sligo and food that it’s infectious (in the best way possible).
Anthony Gray Interview.
Our first stop was Eala Bhan to meet Head Chef Marcin Szczodrowski who has won both the Yes Chef Rising Star and Best Chef in Connaught awards.
Aisling is so passionate about oysters that she married an oyster farmer (true story)
We were also treated to a fully plant-based menu in Sweet As Diner.
This is the newest venture from award-winning Sweet Beat Cafe founder Carolanne Rushe.
Our final stop was at Hooked for their now-famous fish and chips.
Looking for an adventure?
It’s always good to work up an appetite for all this food, and there are plenty of people to help with the adventure side of things. including North West Adventure Tours.
Introducing SUP to SIP where you go from stand up paddleboarding to sipping on some beverages.
We were treated to some weird and wonderful creations from Lough Gill brewery.
One of these is Chuckee Larmz which can only be described as mad, made with breakfast cereals and marshmallows it packs some kick at 9.7%.
William Britton – North West Adventure Tours interview
NWAT offers everything from mountain biking to hiking, overnight camping to rewilding trips, Stand Up Paddle Boarding to Free-Diving, Camping, Fire Lighting, Star Gazing and MORE.
Another person who might finally put me on a health-kick is Blaithin Sweeny AKA yourwellbeingwarrior.com.
Blaithin is trained in the arts of Yoga, Reiki and Massage and offers everything from seven-week yoga classes to excursions that involves hiking and performing yoga at the mountain top beach!
Blaithin Sweeny Interview.
And now for something completely different!
Introducing to you German-born zoologist Lothar Muschketat, who set up home near Ballymote in 1999 alongside his wife.
It was meant to be a retirement plan nestled in the green hills of south Sligo it has now become Ireland’s largest sanctuary for raptors and owls.
The Irish Raptor Research Centre / Eagles Flying is situated on more than 27 ha of mature parklands near Ballymote.
Currently, it is the home of more than 100 eagles, hawks, owls, falcons and vultures. Altogether there are more than 450 birds and animals, encompassing nearly 100 different species, in the centre.
What a spectacle!
Every day at 11am and 3pm Lothar and his team put on a spectacular interactive show that could see an eagle landing on your head, literally!
But the most fascinating thing on the bill is Lothar himself.
He is charismatic, funny and shows total respect towards the animals that call his farm their home.
Consistently, it tops the list of attractions in Sligo and it is easy to see why. But this is not a for-profit venture as they care for many unwanted birds of prey and other creatures that have been handed into them over the years. They rely on footfall and kind donations to keep the place running.
Eagles Flying is a member of the South and West Sligo Tourism network.
A community network consisting of 44 members which won National Best Tourism at the LAMA awards in 2019
Lothar Muschketat interview
Sligo’s Hip Hop Scene – on the rise.
2-20 seems to be putting Sligo on the hip-hop scene.
This young up and coming rapper from Sligo could have played football professionally but he says music found him and as they say the rest is history.
We were also paid a visit by Cllr Thomas Walsh who is a proud Sligo man who informed us on all the wonderful things that happen in Yeats County.
We have had food, we have done our activities, how about a drink?
Well look no further than the Garavouge and Blind Tiger.
If, like me, you like to pretend that you wouldn’t enjoy a cocktail because you are so manly then think again, and FAST.
On Leaving cert results night, in a bustling little venue right on the Garavouge river we were treated to divine creations served up by Mixologist Josh and in the delightful company of Sinead Canning (Garavouge/BT).
The Blind Tiger is a little gem in Sligo’s crown where you can relax with a drink that reminds you of a Solero ice-cream while chomping down on some pizza made right behind the bar in front of your very eyes.
If they weren’t busy enough The Blind Tiger is a rotating bar, coffee and treats by day, party by night.
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The team also got to experience what it is like to be a Hen or Stag group in Sligo by taking on Garavouge’s Bush Tucker Trial.
Garavoguehenstag.ie offer over 120 packages to accommodate all tastes, no matter how wild or tame you want it.
So are you convinced by Sligo yet?
Here are some helpful websites you should check out.
We would like to extend special thanks to Caroline at The Clayton Hotel Sligo for accommodating us over our two-day stay. (We are very demanding when we are doing radio shows and Caroline is an absolute lady)
We also want to thank Marie Brouder of Brouder Marketing who worked tirelessly arranging our activities and putting us in contact with the great people of Sligo.
And finally, a thank you to the people of Sligo, keep doing what you do best.
The Lift on iRadio with Dave Duke & Fionnuala Corbett broadcasts weekdays from 2:50 pm
Check out where else we have visited on iGoHome