Sligo Abbey

Where friars’ prayers echo among the ruins.

The Dominican priory known as Sligo Abbey has dominated Sligo’s eastern district since the town was founded in the mid-thirteenth century. Large parts of the church, sacristy and chapterhouse are preserved from this period, alongside the beautiful fifteenth century cloister and associated buildings.

The Abbey has endured many calamities, including an accidental fire in 1414, the dismantling of a substantial wooden cross for use a battering ram during a siege at the town’s castle, and violent destruction at the hands of Plantation landlord Sir Frederic Hamilton in 1642. During the eighteenth century, the now abandoned Abbey functioned as the town’s main burial ground, becoming overwhelmed by the influx of victims of cholera in the summer of 1832.

Despite the ravages of history, the Abbey retains a great wealth of carvings, including Gothic and Renaissance monumental sculpture, the well-preserved cloister arcade, and the sculptured fifteenth-century high altar – one of the very few to survive in an Irish monastic church. Visitors can also explore the remains of the dining hall and dormitories on the upper floor, as well as the graveyard, which surrounds the complex.