Sligo to Ballinrobe

Samuel Gamble Bayne
Sligo to Ballinrobe

WE finally reached Sligo; and Sligo is quite a place, both historically and commercially. It has a population of 10,274, and is an important seaport town in close neighborhood to scenery such as falls to the lot of very few business towns. It is remarkably well situated in the centre of a richly wooded plain, encircled on all sides, save that of the sea, by high mountains, the ascent of which commences within three to four miles of the town, while on one side of it is Lough Gill, almost equal in beauty to any lake in Ireland, and on the other a wide and sheltered bay. Connection between the two is maintained by the broad river Garrogue, which issues from Lough Gill and empties itself, after a course of nearly three miles, into Sligo Bay. It is crossed by two bridges, joining the parish of St. John with that of Calry on the north bank. Steamers ply regularly between this town and Glasgow and Liverpool.

Sligo attained some importance as early as 1245 as the residence of Maurice Fitz-Gerald, Earl of Kildare, who there founded a castle and monastery. The castle played an important part in the struggles of the English against the Irish chiefs in the thirteenth century and subsequently, in which the rival O'Conors and O'Donnells were mainly concerned. Sligo suffered in the massacres of 1641, when it was taken by Sir Frederick Hamilton and the abbey burned. The Parliamentary troops, under Sir Charles Coote, took it in 1645 after a battle in which the Irish were defeated and the warlike Archbishop of Tuam, Malachy O'Kelly, was killed. In the great abbey, which is now a fine ruin, is the grave of Patrick Beolan, who did not "give in," as they say in Ireland, till he had reached the age of one hundred and forty-four.

While at Sligo we met the brother of Lieutenant Henn (owner of the Galatea, and who tried to lift the cup with her some years ago). This man is a local judge and a very pleasant and entertaining gentleman, reminding us greatly of his late brother, whose estate he inherited.

Read "On an Irish Jaunting Car through Donegal and Connemara" at your leisure

On an Irish jaunting Car through Donegal and Connemara

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Samuel Gamble Bayne was born in Ramelton, County Donegal, and educated at Queen's University in Belfast. At the age of twenty-five he left for America with a view to making his fortune. He invested in an oil well in Pennsylvania and later founded a bank which subsequently came to be the JP Morgan Chase bank in New York. By the time this book was written he was wealthy enough to be referred to as a billionaire. His account of the tour through the north, west and south of Ireland is a pleasant snapshot of how that part of the country was in the early part of the 20th century. He describes what is to be seen, gives some background history and, through the illustrations especially, provides wonderful glimpses of the area's social history.

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