This sunday (7th June) at 4pm at a number of archaeolgoists will give a talk about how the latest technologies are being used to survey and collate data for modern archaeological research.

A midden located close to Culleenamore beach has been known about for many years but this recent find in Shelly Valley hasĀ been supported by National Geographic with Archaeolgists from The University of Georgia and IT Sligo.
More details can be found on IT Sligo website



Over the years, the cairn at the top of Knocknarea has suffered a fair amout of abuse – mainly from climbers removing rocks and making their own mini-“cairns”, building towers, spelling their names. The last time I climbed a few years ago it was bad – judging by comments over the past few months – not too good.

Local archaelogist Martin Timoney, and the Warriors festival committee have highlighted their concerns in the local media, and this weekend everyone gets a chance to help.

The annual climb in aid of the Sligo branch of the Diabetes Federation takes place this Sunday, June 10th at 2pm. All are encouraged to bring a stone to the top of the cairn to replaces the ones that have already been removed.

There will be refreshments and drinks at the car park after the climb – get climbing, get picking!



Sligo Field Club are planning an outing to Strandhill on 9th May, meeting @6.15 at St Ann’s Church. St. Ann’s itself and Rathcarrick House are the purpose of the visit – more details when they are available.

I’ve been to a number of Field Club events over the past number of years, and they are extremely good. Lots of interesting people, with a great depth of local knowledge.



Old Post Box

April 9, 2007 | 4 Comments

I took this photo back in 2005.

Slightly obscured by the ivy, you can just see the “R” and “VII” – Edward the Seventh – who reigned from 1901 to 1910.

Are there any more of these in Strandhill or Ransboro?



What with St Patrick’s Day almost upon us, it seems timely to mention the legend surrounding the founding of the early Christian Church at Killaspugbrone (the Church of Bishop Bronus).

The eponymous Bishop was the son a local chieftain, and a companion of St. Patrick. Patrick seemingly lost a tooth on the site, and Bronus took it upon himself to build a Church on the site.

Ask about Ireland have a good piece on this history, including the fact that the Shrine currently resides in the National Museum of Ireland. This description comments that the shrine is

“…a handsomely decorated shrine of wood, in the form of a horse shoe, satchel, or reticule, eleven and a quarter inches wide by nine wide, and somewhat wedge-shaped..

A reticule is a small bag for money or other small items, and it does seem like that Patricks teeth (when they fell out..) were prized.

Nice story – and a good illustration of the local heritage that is all around us.



Though born in Dublin, the Irish poet William Butler Yeats is most often associated with the West of Ireland, and specifically Sligo. Many of his poems refer to local landscapes and places – Lissadell, Benbulben, and Innisfree (Lough Gill) are immediately recognisable to even those briefly passing.

This early poem “Red Hanrahan’s Song about Ireland” is an early one from a collection entitled “In the Seven Woods” published in 1903 :

The old brown thorn-trees break in two high over Cummen strand,
Under a bitter black wind that blows from the left hand;
Our courage breaks like an old tree in a black wind and dies,
But we have hidden in our hearts the flame out of the eyes
Of Cathleen, the daughter of Houlihan.

The wind has bundled up the clouds high above Knocknarea,
And thrown the thunder on the stones for all that Maeve can say.
Angers that are like noisy clouds have set our hearts abeat;
But we have all bent low and low and kissed the quiet feet

Of Cathleen, the daughter of Houlihan.
The yellow pool has overflowed high up on Clooth-na-Bare,
For the wet winds are blowing out of the clinging air;
Like heavy flooded waters our bodies and our blood;
But purer than a tall candle before the Holy Rood
Is Cathleen, the daughter of Houlihan.

Cathleen Ni Houlihan of course is the heroine that has been repeatedly used through Irish literature to represent poor old Ireland. In this poem, a few obvious places on the peninsula are referenced – but where is “Clooth-na-Bare”?



This is the 100th anniversary of the Belfast poet Louis MacNiece; driving to Dublin early last sunday morning, I was listening to John Bowman and the recitation of the MacNiece poem Neutrality (37m 48 secs into the programme) – written in the late 1930’s, its specific reference to Knocknarea and Sligo and the Irish Free State during the Second World War.

The neutral island facing the Atlantic,
The neutral island in the heart of man,
Are bitterly soft reminders of the beginnings
That ended before the end began.

Look into your heart, you will find a county Sligo,
A Knocknarea with for navel a cairn of stones,
You find the shadow and sheen of a moleskin mountain
And a litter of chronicles and bones.

Look into your heart, you will find fermenting rivers,
Intricacies of gloom and glint,
You will find such ducats of dream and great
doubloons of ceremony
As nobody to-day would mint.

But then look eastward from your heart, there bulks
A continent, close, dark, as archetypal sin,
While to the west off your own shores the mackerel
Are fat on the flesh of your kin.

Here is some commentary and comments on the poem. It is Prayer Before Birth however that still sends shivers down me and probably countless other Leaving Cert students from the 1980’s.


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