Sligo, Sligo

Historical Description

SLIGO, a sea-port, assize, borough, market and post-town, in the barony of UPPER CARBERY, county of SLIGO, and province of CONNAUGHT, 20¾, miles (S. W.) from Ballyshannon, and 103¾ (N. W.) from Dublin; containing 15,152 inhabitants. This place, which is the chief town of the county, is indebted for its importance to one of the first English settlers in Ireland. So early as 1242 a castle was erected here by Maurice Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, and at that time Lord Justice of Ireland. The same Earl, in 1252, founded also a monastery, which he dedicated to the Holy Cross, for friars of the order of St. Dominick, the origin of which establishment has by some writers been erroneously ascribed to O'Conor Sligo. In 1270 the town and the castle were destroyed by O'Donell; but the monastery escaped the ravages of that chieftain, and the castle was afterwards rebuilt by Richard, Earl of Ulster, in 1310. In 1360 the town was again destroyed by fire, and in 1394 it was plundered and burnt by Mac William Burgh. In 1414 the monastery was wholly consumed by an accidental fire, and for its restoration Pope John XXII. granted indulgences to all who should visit it and contribute towards the expense of rebuilding it. In 1416 it was rebuilt by Bryan Mac Dermot Mac Donchaigh, or Mac Donagh: and in 1454 Bryan Mac Donagh, sole monarch of Toroilill (now the barony of Tiraghrill), was interred within its walls. It continued to flourish till the dissolution, when it was granted to Sir William Taaffe. At the commencement of the reign of Jas. I., a grant of a market and two annual fairs to be held here was made to Sir Jas. Fullerton; and in 1613 the town was made a parliamentary borough by charter of incorporation. In 1621, it received a charter of the staple, incorporating a mayor, two constables and merchants, with the same powers as those of Youghal. In 1627 Sir James Craig had a fresh grant of a market and two fairs, which in 1674 were granted to William, Earl of Stafford, and Thomas Radcliffe, Esq. In the war of 1641 the town was taken without opposition by Sir Chas. Coote, at the head of an army of 4000 infantry and 500 horse. By his occupation of this post, Sir Charles had the means of keeping a check upon the royalists of the neighbouring counties; but the R. C. Archbishop of Tuam with great zeal collected forces for the recovery of the town, in which attempt he was joined by Sir Jas. Dillon, who was sent by the confederates to Kilkenny with 800 men to his assistance, and having forced his way into the town was on the point of expelling the parliamentarians, when he was suddenly alarmed by the intelligence of an army being on its approach to their relief. Upon this the confederated forces retired, and in their retreat were attacked and routed by Sir Chas. Coote; the archbishop was killed in the action, and among his papers were found the important documents that exposed the connection of the King with the Catholic party. The parliamentarians afterwards abandoned the town, which, though threatened again by Sir Chas. Coote on his advance against Limerick, in 1651, was retained by the Catholics till the termination of the war. In the war of the revolution it was taken by the brave Enniskilleners, who also defeated a large body of James's forces that were advancing against it, and took from them a considerable booty; but the garrison was shortly after driven out by Gen. Sarsfield, and the place was finally reduced by the Earl of Granard.

Transcribed from Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1840

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Sligo is available to browse.