County Sligo may not be a big county but it is
blessed with such unique and inspirational scenery
that it looms large in defining the character and
mythology of the Irish landscape.
The name Sligo is thought to come from the Irish
Sligeach meaning “shelly place”, and was first
attributed to a small settlement established at the
mouth of the Garavogue River in the thirteenth
century. As its importance as a port grew, so too
did the town, and during the Tudor period the
town’s name was given to the newly created county.
The Norman influence can be seen throughout Sligo
in the many castles and abbeys they left behind.
Modern Sligo is a thriving, multi-cultural town, which
boasts a vibrant cultural life and successfully mixes
historic buildings with bold, new architectural styles.
Although mountains are at the county’s heart,
Sligo wraps both arms around the Atlantic. Its
coastline is world-famous for the quality of its surfing,
a happy by-product of the flat limestone reefs that
predominate. Although the county has no great sea
cliffs to rival those of other counties on Ireland’s
west coast, it does have some spectacular coastal
landscapes like Mullaghmore Head, and it also
boasts some of the prettiest beaches and harbours
anywhere on the Irish coast.
The photographs in this book are an attempt to
convey a sense of the grandeur of the county’s
landscapes and the mystery of its historic sites and
ruins. Even today many will be surprised to discover
wonderful and unexpected secrets: like the ruins of
the old ice house on the banks of the Moy, or the
little village of Banada with its ruined abbey. It is
these hidden corners, as much as Benbulbin or
Classiebawn Castle, that make Sligo so special and
which are captured in superb detail by the lens
of expert photographer Gareth McCormack.
Gareth McCormack is a photographer
and writer who specialises in landscape
and travel imagery. His photographs
have appeared in many books and
publications worldwide. He lives with
his wife Helen, and two children Erin
and Geordan, near Enniscrone in west
To see more of his work visit
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 1 84114 849 6, hardback, 238x258mm, 144 pages. Published April 2010.