If you’re visiting Sligo with kids and are on the lookout for things to do, here are our favourite things to do in Sligo as a family, from getting out in nature to experiencing local history.
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Take a look through our suggestions for fun places to visit and things to do in Sligo. Pick a different town or village or area to explore, compile a list of interesting places to visit beforehand and then have fun – and don’t forget to let us know your favourites!
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Family-Friendly Things To Do in Sligo
#1. Sathya Sai Sanctuary (Donkey Sanctuary)
The Sathya Sai Sanctuary Trust for Nature was founded in 1991 primarily to offer a place of peace and refuge for old, injured, unwanted, abandoned, neglected and abused donkeys.
Situated in truly magnificent surroundings adjacent to the Carrowkeel Megalithic Site (which is also worth a visit!) at Castlebaldwin, only 5 kms off the main N4 Sligo to Dublin road.
Bring waterproof boots, enjoy your visit and give these humble animals the love they deserve.
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#2. Waterpoint Aqua Park
Waterpoint Aqua Park in Enniscrone is a great spot with fun for all the family. Facilities include an indoor heated pool with 65-metre flume water slide, separate children’s pool and Kids Funzone water inflatables every Friday evening.
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#3. Gleniff Horseshoe
Go for a nature walk at the Gleniff Horseshoe, a hidden valley with totally stunning scenery, located in North County Sligo.
At the base of the Horseshoe route there is a renovated Millsite, with a lovely nature walk and sculpture trail. Picnic tables are there just waiting to be used!
This is also where you’ll find the ‘Magic Road’ in Sligo, where your car will roll back up the hill…!
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#4. Eagles Flying
Situated amid the beautiful landscape of Ballymote, Eagles Flying is Ireland’s largest sanctuary for birds of prey and owls. During the highly entertaining and interactive Bird Shows you can experience Eagles, Hawks, Falcons, Vultures and Owls flying right over your head or landing next to you.
Some of them can even be touched – but ask one of the birds trainers before you do! Watch different species of eagles hunting on prey-dummies in their natural environment and be astonished about the arrow like flight of the falcons and the high intelligence of the vultures.
There is also a children’s pet zoo with goats, lambs, donkeys, horses, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, pot-bellied pigs.
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It is said that Queen Maeve is buried on Knocknarea mountain and that the mound on the top is her cairn. According to local folklore, she was getting away from an enemy army that were trying to kill her.
There are beautiful views of both Ballisodare Bay and Culleenamore on one side and Sligo Bay and Benbulben on the other.
To climb Knocknarea, follow signs for Strandhill/Knocknarea and it will take approximately 25 mins to climb to the top from the car park. It is one of the most striking landmarks in the country.
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#6. Hazelwood Sculpture Trail
Only 3km from Sligo town, at Half Moon Bay on the shores of Lough Gill, is the Hazelwood Demesne.
Well known locally, Hazelwood has interesting forest trails where you will find a unique series of outdoor sculptures from Irish and international artists, a quiet picnic area and beautiful lakeside views.
The nature trail forms a loop of about 3km, with two shorter alternatives available. All are clearly marked and begin and end at the car park.
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#7. Sligo Folk Park
Sligo Folk Park is located in the beautiful village of Riverstown. This community based attraction gives a true experience of rural life and Irish heritage at the turn of the late 19th Century.
This trip down Memory Lane in the heart of County Sligo brings the cultural history and heritage of the whole region to life. Children can discover how their great grandparents used to live and, those who are still young at heart, can rediscover how life used to be in days gone by.
#8. Sligo Beaches
You are spoilt for choice as Sligo beaches are havens for most water sports, including surfing, body boarding, kayaking and surf kayaking. They are also very clean!
- Enniscrone prides itself on its 5km of sandy beach and it is a pleasant seaside town with lots to see and do with all of the family.
- Easky is a surfing mecca but for experienced surfers only. It is still great fun to take the kids to watch the surfers and they will inspire you to try some of the easier beaches such as Enniscrone nearby where you can get lesson and hire boards and suits.
- Strandhill is roughly 10km from Sligo town. With its wild Atlantic waves is another popular spot for surfers but swimming is forbidden at Strandhill beach due to the very strong currents.
- Mullaghmore Beach is another stunning beach in North County Sligo, 25km from Sligo town via the N15 and beside the town of Mullaghmore. This is a great sandy beach, backed by an extensive dune system and with views of Ben Bulben – kids will love that the water is so shallow! Beach guards on duty daily from June to September.
- Dunmoran Strand is a sheltered beach break that has quite reliable surf and can work at any time of the year.
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#9. Gillighan’s World
A stone tunnel entrance, with dolmen and amphitheatre rising out of lush green lawns commences your escape into Gillighan’s World. In the botanical gardens, natural flora and fauna blend together, enhanced by “faeries” in miniature models villages and “enchanted” glades.
Streams and secluded seating areas create a magical atmosphere, whilst a visit to the faerie fort offers spectacular panoramic views.
There’s also a wild-life pond and aquatic cove, plus an informal guided tour round the Pet Village.
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#10. The Model Sligo
The Model, home of The Niland Collection, is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary arts centres. It is a bright open airy space, very welcoming to children.
They run frequent workshops and programmes for all ages. They also show family films and have activity sheets to help younger visitors get the most from their visit.
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Lead image photographed by Alison Crummy