Calry Church (Anglican), The Mall

O’Rorke in covering the history of St John’s Church, Sligo remarks:

We learn, from various advertisements and news paragraphs, which appeared in the Sligo Journal, in the year 1819, that St. John’s Church was then too small to contain the number of Church Protestants in the benefice. To supply the accommodation wanted, the church of Calry was built in 1823; and its first incumbent was Reverend James Armstrong, who was succeeded by Rev. Messrs. Todd, Shone (the present bishop), Dowden, Heany, and Berry, the actual incumbent.

Calry Church on the Mall was built in 1823, to serve the substantial Anglican population on the north side of Sligo. The tall graceful spire has been a prominent Sligo landmark ever since the Church opened in 1824.


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Proposals to build a chapel for the growing protestant population were first put forward in March 1817, and the construction of The Calry Church and a Glebe House was carried out by the local building contractor John Lynn.

The Calry Church was constructed to a plain Gothic style with a tower and a lovely spire commands a demanding position on a height overlooking the flowing waters of the nearby Garavogue River.

20160816_172757.jpgThe stones used in the construction of the church was quarried on the spot, which would explain the somewhat low cost of £5,246.15s for the building works, of which £823.00 was raised by subscription and by the sale of pews.

After the church was consecrated in June 1824, its first Curate was the Rev William Armstrong, who ministered until his death in March 1840 at the age of 46.

There are a number of vaults beneath the church which had remained virtually unused since the construction in 1824, until renovation works were carried out in recent years, when the vaults were finally put to use.

Independent Church, Stephen St.

TheIndependent Church on Stephen St. (now the County Library) was designed and built by architects Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon in 1851.

This small Gothic Revival Church was converted in 1954 into the Sligo Town Library.

The Manse, situated beside the Library, was built in 1867, and was converted into the Sligo County Museum in 1955.

Ulster Bank

The Ulster Bank (co-ordinates 54.27250 -8.47400) is a fine detached five-bay two-storey sandstone ashlar classically-styled bank, was designed by James Hamilton architects of Belfast and Glasgow and was built in 1863.

One of the more notable features of this building, which occupies its commanding position at this busy junction in Stephen Street is its rich ashlar Scottish sandstone.

The appearance of the building is enlivened by the high quality stone masonry which has decorative artistic detailing. The bank is significant, attesting to the prosperity of Sligo town in the late nineteenth century.

the Ulster Bank building was ‘bombed to ruins’ during the Irish Civil War but was rebuilt soon after.

In front of the Ulster Bank stands Sligo‘s most popular, and most photographed tourist attraction. A statue depicting the world-renowned poet William Butler Yeats ‘wrapt in his words’.

This much-loved statue, built by artist Rowan Gillespie was erected in this “most obvious place” in 1989, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of William Butler Yeats by the people of Sligo Town.

When receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature from the King of Sweden in 1924, William Butler Yeats commented that the Stockholm Royal Palace reminded him of the Ulster Bank in Sligo Town.

The Model

The Model, home of The Niland Collection, is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary arts centres. Built in 1862 as a Model School, the present building has been extended twice. The first extension was in 2000 when it was completely refurbished and extended by McCullough Mulvin Architects. The building was redeveloped again by architects Sheridan Woods in 2010, whose extension to The Model has increased the building by a third in size to create a world-class visitor centre. The building boasts a restaurant and coffee dock, a bookshop, a wonderful gallery circuit, a purpose built performance space, and a suite of impressive artist studios on the top floor with enviable views of Sligo town and County.


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Masonic Lodge

The Freemasons Society, which originated in the medieval craft guilds of the stone masons, built their first Lodge (No 355) in County Sligo in December 1760, though it was not until 1856 that a purpose built meeting place, or lodge, was proposed in Sligo Town.

39 years later in 1895, after countless fund-raising events and bazaars, The Masonic Lodge (co-ordinates 54.27260 -8.46765) was built at the cost of £1,525 on The Mall in Sligo Town.


The Masonic Lodge was designed by the architect Mr Henry Seaver from Belfast and was built by Sligoman Mr George Kerr, described as being the Old English style, with the outer walls being faced with red perforated bricks, the upper storey being roughcast and the roofing being of green slates (the green slates are no longer on the building).

There is a lovely tower with bell shaped eaves rising over the main entrance to the building, which consisted internally of the principal lodge room (40ft X 20ft) a dining hall (40ft X 20ft) and a number of smaller rooms which were used for craft purposes, joined onto the two large rooms.

Successive members of the Dodd family lived in The Masonic Lodge as caretakers from the opening of the building in 1895 until 1951.

St Columba’s Hospital (now Clayton Hotel)

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Construction of this exceedingly beautiful, Elizabethan style building commenced on November 7th 1847, with the first sod believed to have been turned by the buildings architect William Deane Butler.

St Columba’s, (co-ordinates 54.28100 -8.45920) being such a large building, took over six years to complete, officially opening its doors in 1855 at a cost of £53,199 and was described by Sir John Forbes in his journal as “one of the finest public charities I have ever seen”.

The opening of St Columba’s Hospital meant that psychiatric patients from counties Sligo and Leitrim no longer had to travel to Ballinasloe ‘to be confined’

The mental hospital introduced radical new treatment methods in 1883, by abolishing patient restraints where possible, and demolished some of the hospital walls, allowing the patients to roam freely through the grounds, giving the patients who were usually confined, locked-up or even bound to feel free.

Saint Columba’s Hospital, kept up to 1,100 patients, and was amongst the most popular places to work during the early to mid 1900’s in Sligo, according to Gerry Lyons who spent 43 years working in the hospital, and “although many days were happy enough, there were also days so sad”.

“Some patients were never visited, some stayed there for over 40 years, others died there, some committed suicide, but thankfully they were few.”

Following years of declining patient numbers and worsening conditions, St Columbas Hospital finally closed its doors in 1992, where it lay derelict and in dire need of repair for 10 years, after which time it was purchased by The Clarion Hotel, a member of the Choice Hotels of Europe group, who have completely rebuilt the building. In fact all that remains of the original structure is the building’s façade and an interior wall.

The Clarion Hotel, which opened on April 22nd 2005 at a cost 45 million Euro, has 167 bedrooms, a 20-metre swimming pool, sauna and treatment rooms, a 60-piece gym and a conference / banqueting hall which can cater for up to 400 guests.

The original church and chapel which stand outside, have also been renovated and the hotel hope to use the chapel to host banquets, unique events and occasionally for wedding ceremonies.

The Clarion Hotel was put into receivership by KBC Bank and the AIB Bank in 2012, subsequently being bought by the Dalata Group , Ireland’s largest hotel group, for  11 million, though it remains to be seen whether the road running parallel to the hotel frontage, Clarion Road, will retain its name. The Clayton group has now bought the Clarion.

Birthplace of Spike Milligan’s father

Holborn Street, is one of Sligo‘s oldest streets, where we can see on Number 5 (on the right hand side of the road) a plaque remembering another very different famous figure, this house has very strong connections with the formative years of the world famous comedian Spike Milligan. Although Spike was born in India, his father was lived in Sligo and was attached to the British army then billeted in Barrack St.