28 Best Sights in The Northwest, Ireland

Glenveagh National Park

Fodor's choice

Bordered by the Derryveagh Mountains (Derryveagh means "forest of oak and birch"), Glenveagh National Park encompasses 40,000 acres of wilderness—mountain, moorland, lakes, and woods—that has been called the largest and most dramatic tract in the wildest part of Donegal. Within its borders, a thick carpet of russet-color heath and dense woodland rolls down the Derryveagh slopes into the broad open valley of the River Veagh (or Owenbeagh), which opens out into Glenveagh's spine: the long and narrow, dark and clear Lough Beagh.

The lands of Glenveagh (pronounced "glen-vay") have long been recognized as a remote and beautiful region. Between 1857 and 1859, John George Adair, a ruthless gentleman farmer, assembled the estate that now makes up the park. In 1861, he evicted the estate's hundreds of poor tenants without compensation and destroyed their cottages. From 1867, Adair began to build Glenveagh Castle on the eastern shore of Lough Veagh, but he soon departed for Texas. He died in 1885 without returning to Ireland, but his widow, Cornelia, moved back to make Glenveagh her home. She created four gardens, covering 27 acres; planted luxuriant rhododendrons; and began the job of making this turret-and-battlement-laden 19th-century folly livable. The castle gardens in particular— known as "Genius Loci Glenveaghensis"—are regarded as one of Ireland's outstanding horticultural masterpieces. At the end of a dramatic 3-km-long (2-mile-long) entryway, perched over the lake waters, this is a true fairy-tale castle. Like a dollhouse Balmoral, its castellated, rectangular keep, battlemented ramparts, and a Round Tower enchantingly conjure up all the Victorian fantasies of a medieval redoubt. The castle was closed during the Covid-19 pandemic; it is best to check the website before visiting.

Beyond the castle, footpaths lead into more remote sections of the park, including the Derrylahan Nature Trail, a 1½-km (1-mile) signposted trail where you may suddenly catch sight of a soaring golden eagle or chance upon a shy red deer. More than 400 deer are spread out around the moorland and mountains. Take time to visit the 2½-acre Pleasure Grounds, a sunken garden at the heart of the estate with a sinuous lawn and Japanese maples.

A shuttle bus runs from the visitor center to the castle, and on weekends a bus service drops you off at the start of a 90-minute walking route. One of the highlights for hikers is the Lough Inshagh Path, a quiet stony dirt track (not a looped walk), which will take 1½ hours to walk one way.

Keep your eyes peeled and you may see a wheatear or meadow pipits in the summer.

Lissadell House and Gardens

Fodor's choice

Standing beside the Atlantic waters of Drumcliff Bay, on the peninsula that juts out between Donegal and Sligo bays, Lissadell is an austere but classical residence built in the 1830s by Sir Robert Gore-Booth. Lavishly restored to the tune of €9 million, the house, designed by the London architect Francis Goodwin, is regarded as the leading attraction in the Northwest and highlight of the Wild Atlantic Way coastal driving route. Two of its most notable features are a dramatic 65-foot-long gallery, with 24-foot-tall Doric columns, clerestory windows, and skylights. Lissadell was the ancestral home of the Gore-Booth family, whose members Eva and Constance were close friends of W. B. Yeats. The house became a holiday retreat for the poet, and a copy of his poem "In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markievicz" is on display. Constance Gore-Booth, who later became Countess Markievicz, fought in the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. She was the first woman to be elected to the House of Commons (although she did not take her seat) and later became the first female member of the Dáil (Irish Parliament). A fascinating exhibition features her paintings and letters. The Yeats Gallery contains first editions, letters, paintings, drawings, and photographs relating to the work of W. B., his brother Jack, father John, and sisters Lily and Lolly. Among the recent acquisitions is a table from Coole Park in County Galway where W. B. dined with Lady Gregory. The "March of a Nation" exhibition features artifacts from the Lissadell Collection from 1798 up to the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922. Dating from 1740, the Alpine Garden, which had been neglected for 60 years, has been restored with thousands of bulbs planted to add to the natural beauty of the woodland walk and the 18th-century ponds. The walled Victorian kitchen garden, created in 1840, now showcases heritage vegetables and fruit similar to those grown in its heyday. A staggering 180 varieties of potatoes—one was first grown here in the 19th century—are lovingly tended, and the garden is a work in progress.

The Tea Rooms serve wholesome fare including Lissadell's own apple and mint jelly, other produce from the kitchen garden, and oysters from their own beds.

Lissadell was closed to visitors during the Covid-19 pandemic, instead hosting a drive-in movie theater on the grounds. Be sure to phone or view the website prior to organizing a visit to check that the house and gardens are open.

Slieve League Mountains

Fodor's choice

The dramatic Slieve League cliffs and mountains have become the starting point for the Irish leg of the International Applachian Trail, an extension to the original route stretching from Georgia to Maine and then on to Newfoundland. And what more spectacular setting could you have for such a renowned trail linking two pieces of land separated by thousands of kilometers of ocean?

Make no mistake, the landscape hereabouts is awe-inspiring. The narrows and twists of the R263 afford terrific views of Donegal Bay before descending into pretty Cill Chartaigh (Kilcar), a traditional center of tweed making. Signposted by its Irish name, the next village, An Charraig (Carrick), clings to the foot of the Slieve League Mountains, whose color-streaked ocean cliffs are, at 2,000 feet, among the highest in Ireland. Slieve League (Sliabh Liag in Irish) is a ragged, razor-back rise bordered by the River Glen. To see the cliffs, follow the little road to the Irish-speaking village of Teileann, 1½ km (1 mile) south from Carrick. Then take the narrow lane (signposted "Bunglass Cliffs") and park your car at the newly opened Sliabh Liag Visitor Centre where you will find route details and safety advice. The mountain looks deceptively easy from the back (the inaccessible point borders the Atlantic), but once the fog rolls in, the footing can be perilous. A viewing point over the sea cliffs ensures visitors can appreciate one of the finest panoramas in Europe in safety. The designation of the Slieve League Cliffs as one of the leading Signature Discovery Points on the Wild Atlantic Way means you may have to share the stunning views.

If you've a mind for a hike, then follow the Appalachian Trail through County Donegal, head eastwards along the Bluestacks Way, cross the Irish border on to the Ulster Way and end up on the Causeway Coast Way, finishing your trek at Ballycastle in the far north of County Antrim. Now that's a walk that'll require a certain amount of advance training—never mind a little stamina and some planning. And, if you feel like an even grander challenge, then Scotland—just a few miles across the sea—has also signed up for the trail.

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St. George's Heritage & Visitor Centre

Fodor's choice

Restored by a local heritage group, St. George's Heritage & Visitor Centre occupies St. George's (Church of Ireland), built in 1827. The bright interior houses the Telford Organ (built in 1846), the magnificent altarpiece entitled The Adoration of the Shepherds (painted in 1831 by the Swedish artist Carl Gustave Plagemann), and dazzling displays of ecclesiastical silver. But many eyes will be focused on the array of motorized banners choreographed to rise and fall to classical organ music, as they unfurl the names of more than 270 Leitrim men killed during World War I. A central theme is "Twin Traditions," the mingling of Gaelic and Planter cultures entwined for the past 400 years. Next door, the story of Leitrim is told in a lyrical 10-minute film, Leitrim: Enduring and Enchanting, in the visitor center.

The Model: Home of the Niland Collection

Fodor's choice

The main attraction at the Model, housed in a school built in 1862, is one of Ireland's largest collections of works by 20th-century artists from home and abroad, as well as a stunning collection of artwork acquired by the gallery in 2018. Each year, the Model displays six curated exhibitions from its collection, frequently featuring work by famed Irish painter Jack B. Yeats, who once said, "I never did a painting without putting a thought of Sligo in it." At the heart of the collection is the work amassed by the woman whose name the gallery now bears, Nora Niland, who was the Sligo librarian from 1945 until the late 1970s, and who recognized the importance of Jack B.'s work. Only a small selection of this work is on display at any time, but you can view the whole collection on the Model's website. Paintings such as The Funeral of Harry Boland and A Political Meeting (In the West of Ireland) by John Yeats (father of Jack B. and W. B.), who had a considerable reputation as a portraitist, also hang here on a rotating basis, as does work by Sean Keating and Paul Henry. In 2018, a mystery donor, who bought items from a Yeats family collection auction in London, donated eight artworks—six paintings and two sketches—to the gallery. It includes what is regarded as John Yeats's masterpiece, his oil on canvas, Self-Portrait, New York, which at £87,500 was the most valuable item in the auction. The donation also included drawings and portraits by the artist of his children; William, Susan, Elizabeth, and Jack.

Paintings from the Niland collection are cherry-picked and previously unseen work turns up occasionally from elsewhere; visitors should phone to confirm any work in particular that they want to view. In 2019, the Model received The Race Card Seller, a characterful early work by Jack B. from the Office of the Taoiseach in Dublin. It is due to remain on loan to the gallery for several years and is expected to be on display until 2022 or beyond. The Model also has a 180-seat cinema with a program run in conjunction with the Sligo Film Society, and a good café. The Yeats Secret Garden, an enclosed wildflower area behind the gallery, is open to the public. It represents W. B. Yeats's vision in his poem Lake Isle of Innisfree of a secret hideaway and comes complete with a clay-plastered cabin, representing his dream of building a small cabin "of clay and wattles made".  

Attic Memorial at Carrick Workhouse

Follow the stylized footprints of a mother and child from St. George's Heritage Centre to the Attic Memorial at Carrick Workhouse to step back into tragic Leitrim. This workhouse opened in 1842 to accommodate hundreds who sought refuge here from the Great Famine. With bare floorboards and whitewashed walls, it looks pretty much as it did in the 1840s. Wexford artist Alanna O'Kelly's multimedia installation, No colouring can deepen the darkness of truth, brings a fresh dimension to this thought-provoking place, which also houses a reading room. You can also listen to audio transcripts of witness testimonies from the Famine period. Nearby is a Great Famine Commemoration Graveyard. To arrange a tour, contact the Heritage Centre directly.

Belleek Pottery Ltd.

For generations the name Belleek has been synonymous with much of Ireland's delicate ivory porcelain figurines and woven china baskets (sometimes painted with shamrocks). In 2017, Belleek celebrated its 160th anniversary, producing a limited range of products from each decade since it was established in 1857. The main factories are in Northern Ireland (which is why their prices are quoted in pounds sterling, not euros) just down the road from Ballyshannon. Watch the introductory film, take the 30-minute tour, stop by for refreshment in the tearoom, or just head to the on-site shop. The factory-museum-store is near the border with Northern Ireland. Company products can also be found in the shops of Donegal and Sligo.

3 Main St., Co. Donegal, Ireland
028-6865–8501-in Northern Ireland
sights Details
Rate Includes: £5, Closed Sun., closed Sat. Oct.--Dec.

Bundoran Waterworld

When the weather closes in, retreat indoors with the kids to Bundoran's Waterworld, with waterslides such as the 65-meter Whizzer, as well as the Tornado, Gravity, and Twister slides, and a pirate ship overlooking a wave pool. In July and August, a café serves hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, snacks, and ice cream.

Next to Waterworld, from March to October adults can visit Bundoran Seaweed Baths, with individual and dual bathing rooms. Individual seaweed baths, including face mask and seaweed serum, is €25 (www.bundoranseaweedbaths.com).

Costello Memorial Chapel

Ask at the tourist office for a copy of the signposted historical walking-town-trail booklet and accompanying map (€2). A top sight is one of Ireland's tiniest: the Costello Memorial Chapel, built in 1879, is the smallest church in Ireland and a testament to a man's love for his wife. Built by local businessman Edward Costello in memory of Mary Josephine, its tiny dimensions are a mere 16 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 30 feet high. The church is open during daytime hours and admission is free.

Creevelea Abbey

Founded by the Franciscans in 1508, Creevelea was the last community to be established before the suppression of the monasteries by England's King Henry VIII, and the abbey now lies in handsome ruins. Like many other decrepit abbeys, the place still holds religious significance for the locals, who revere it. One curiosity here is the especially large south transept; notice, too, its cloisters, with well-executed carvings on the pillars of St. Francis of Assisi. The abbey is located a 10-minute walk from Dromahair by following a flower-filled path alongside the Bonet River.


One of Ireland's best megalithic court-tombs, dating from 4-2,500 BC, Creevykeel contains a burial area and an enclosed open-air court. Bronze artifacts found here are now in the National Museum in Dublin. The site (signposted from the N15) lies off the road, just beyond the edge of the village of Cliffony.

Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Donegal Castle

Donegal Castle was built by clan leader, Hugh O'Donnell, in the 1470s. More than a century later, this structure was the home of his descendant, Hugh Roe O'Donnell, who faced the might of the invading English and was the last clan chief of Tyrconail. In 1602, he died on a trip to Spain while trying to rally reinforcements from his allies. Its new English owner, Sir Basil Brooke, modified the little castle after taking over in the 1610s, fitting Jacobean towers and turrets to the main fort and adding a Jacobean mansion (which is now a ruin). Inside, you can peer into the garderobe (the restroom) and the storeroom, and survey a great banquet hall with an exceptional vaulted wood-beam roof. Also of note is the gargantuan sandstone fireplace nicely wrought with minute details. Mind your head on the low doorways and be careful on the narrow trip stairwell. The small, enclosed grounds are pleasant. Guided tours are available, but not at set times.

Drumcliff Tea House and Craft Shop

A good place to buy local crafts, books of W. B. Yeats's poetry, and books about the poet's life, the Drumcliff Tea House and Craft Shop also sells light lunches and snacks, including soups, sandwiches, sausage rolls, and paninis, as well as baked goods.

Franciscan Abbey

The ruins of the Franciscan Abbey, founded in 1474 by Hugh O'Donnell, are a five-minute walk south of town at a spectacular site perched at the end of the quay above the Eske River, where it begins to open up into Donegal Bay. The complex was plundered by the English in 1588, and much of the abbey was destroyed in a gunpowder explosion during the siege of 1601; the ruins include the choir, south transept, and two sides of the cloisters, between which lie hundreds of graves dating to the 18th century. The abbey was probably where The Annals of the Four Masters, which chronicles the whole of Celtic history and mythology of Ireland from earliest times up to the year 1616, was written from 1632 to 1636. The Four Masters were monks who believed (correctly, as it turned out) that Celtic culture was doomed by the English conquest, and they wanted to preserve as much of it as they could. At the National Library in Dublin, you can see copies of the monks' work; the original is kept under lock and key.

Glebe House and Gallery

On the northwest shore of Gartan Lough just off R251 is Glebe House and Gallery, a sweetly elegant redbrick Regency manor with 25 acres of gardens. For 30 years, Glebe House was the home of the distinguished landscape and portrait artist Derek Hill, who furnished the house in a mix of styles with art from around the world and who died in 2000; in 1981 he gave the house and its contents, including his outstanding art collection, to the nation. Highlights of more than 300 works include paintings by Renoir and Bonnard, lithographs by Kokoschka, ceramics and etchings by Picasso, and the paintings Whippet Racing and The Ferry, Early Morning by Jack B. Yeats, as well as Donegal folk art produced by the Toraigh Islanders and paintings by Louis Le Brocquy. The decoration and furnishings of the house, including original William Morris wallpaper, are also worth a look. Everything Hill collected is still here, including his cobra-skin slippers on the wooden floor under his bed. The house is accessed only by guided tour ( 45 minutes) and it is advisable to book in advance as tours are currently limited due to Covid-19.

Church Hill, Co. Donegal, Ireland
sights Details
Rate Includes: €5 house tour; gallery free, Closed Nov.–May, (apart from Easter week) and Fri. in June, Sept., and Oct.

Glencolmcille Folk Village Museum

Walk through the beachfront Folk Village Museum to explore rural life. This clachan, or tiny village, comprises eight cottages, all of which are whitewashed, thatch-roofed, and extremely modest in appearance. Three showcase particular years in Irish culture: 1720, 1820, and 1920; pride of place goes to the 1881 schoolhouse and the re-created shebeen (pub). You'll also find an interpretive center, tea shop, regular demonstrations of hand weaving (there is a newly installed working loom), and crafts shop selling local handmade products. Three small cottages, with bare-earth floors, represent the basic living conditions over three centuries. The signposted circular nature and history trail is a tranquil and reflective place that includes a sweathouse (early Irish sauna), replica lime kilns, and mass rocks. Standing in the car park at 15 feet tall is a unique stone map of Ireland, Clocha na hEireann, which is made up of a stone from all 32 counties. It was erected in 2016 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in 1916.

Glencolumbkille, Co. Donegal, Ireland
sights Details
Rate Includes: €6, Closed Nov.--Easter

Lough Derg

From Whitsunday to the Feast of the Assumption (June to mid-August), tens of thousands beat a path to the shores of Lough Derg, ringed by heather-clad slopes. In the center of the lake, Station Island—known as St. Patrick's Purgatory (the saint is said to have fasted here for 40 days and nights)—is one of Ireland's most popular pilgrimage sites and a haven for those seeking spiritual renewal. It's also the most rigorous and austere of such sites in the country. Pilgrims stay on the island for three days with restricted sleeping, and ingest only black tea and dry toast. They pay €75 to walk barefoot around the island, on its flinty stones, and pray at a succession of shrines. Nonpilgrims may not visit the island from June to mid-August. Outside this period you can also visit the island for a "Quiet Day" trip (9:30 am–4:30 pm) that costs €45 including the boat journey and lunch. In the Basilica of St. Patrick's Purgatory look out for the astonishing work of the Irish stained-glass artist Harry Clarke, whose 14 windows feature the apostles, St. Paul, and the Virgin Mary. To find out how to become a pilgrim, phone or visit the website for more details. To reach the shores of Lough Derg, turn off the main N15 Sligo–Donegal road in the village of Laghy on to the minor R232 Pettigo road, which hauls itself over the Black Gap and descends sharply into the border village of Pettigo, about 21 km (13 miles) from the N15. From here, take the Lough Derg access road for 8 km (5 miles). During pilgrim season, buses connect to Pettigo, but it is best to phone or check the website before the new season starts in May, as details can vary from year to year.

Oideas Gael: Sport & Culture

If you fancy expanding your mind and horizons, both from a sporting and cultural point of view, then Oideas Gael has an excellent selection of courses—both weekend and weeklong—for the culturally curious holidaymaker. Since it was formed in 1984, Oideas Gael has run acclaimed Irish-language classes, as well as programs on hill walking, archaeology, landscape, and the environment. Other activities include painting, traditional music, playing the harp---and even tapestry hand weaving—one of Donegal's renowned crafts. The courses, which attract thousands of participants from all over the world, run from March to October. Accommodations are based in self-catering hostels or with local families. For a rundown on the schedule and prices, check the website.

Parke's Castle

This fortified house was built on the eastern shore of Lough Gill in the 17th century by an English Planter (a Protestant colonist settling on Irish lands confiscated from Catholic owners) who needed the strong fortifications to defend himself against a hostile populace. His relations with the people were made worse by the fact that he obtained his building materials mainly by dismantling a historic fortress on the site that had belonged to the clan leaders, the O'Rourkes of Breifne (once the name of the district). Don't miss the blacksmith's forge, which has been rebuilt, and the nearby tiny circular sweathouse (an early traditional sauna). New steel battlements have replaced wooden ones along the walkways of the Bawn area of the castle, improving visitor access. The entrance fee includes a short video on the castle and local history; guided tours are available on the hour and last 45 minutes. In summer, boat tours of the lough leave from here.

For a breathtaking view of the nearby Lough Colgagh, drive west from Parke's Castle keeping the lake on your left. You will find a small car park from where you can drink in the spectacular views.

Shannon Blueway

Developed by Waterways Ireland, the Shannon Blueway—the first recreational trails of its kind in Ireland—runs along the Lough Allen Canal and follows the river from Drumshanbo to Leitrim village and on to Carrick-on-Shannon. Cycle along the 16½ km (10 miles) of leafy trails, kayak on the lake, or walk along the newly opened boardwalk, known locally as the "snake in the lake" for the way it twists along the lakeside for 525 feet. Maps and details of the trails are available at the Sliabh an Iarainn visitor center in Drumshanbo (open seasonally, contact for opening hours). Electric bikes are available from Electric Bike Trails in Leitrim village ( www.electricbiketrails.com).

Silver Strand Beach

An Trá Bhán lives up to its name: it's a beautifully enclosed small silvery-white sandy beach, quiet and hidden from view and visitor traffic. Peaceful solitude is the name of the game here, but if your hair is standing on end it's because you're being watched; there are a few peeping sheep on the surrounding hillsides. Amenities: parking (no fee). Best for: swimming; walking.

When you've had your fill of sand and serenity, explore the ruined promontory fort, Dun Allt, directly above the beach. It was built around 300 BC, and archaeologists believe it was used as a defensive fortification when the community was in danger of attack.

Gleann Cholm Cille, Glencolumbkille, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Sliabh Liag Visitor Centre

As part of the drive to attract more visitors to sample this spectacular section of the Wild Atlantic Way, a €5 million visitor center opened just 3 km (2 miles) from the cliffs at Sliabh Liag (Slieve League in the English spelling) in 2019. Roads were also improved and a new 2½-km (1½-mile) stretch of upland path was put in place to allow walkers better access. Large stones for the path were taken from the scree slopes on the hillside and dropped into place by airlifts. Interpretative panels in the center, called "On the Edge" reflect the area's folklore, spotlighting its rich tapestry of flora, fauna, archaeology, and geology. There are maps of the routes, safety advice, a café, and tourist information point. After your strenuous uphill trek you will have earned a visit to the Rusty Mackerel bar in nearby Teelin where you can enjoy hearty food and drink, including locally caught fish, craft beers, and Silkie Irish whiskey beside the warmth of a glowing turf fire.

Sligo Abbey

A massive stone complex famed for its medieval tomb sculptures, Sligo Abbey is the town's only existing relic of the Middle Ages. Maurice FitzGerald erected the structure for the Dominicans in 1253. After a fire in 1414, it was extensively rebuilt, only to be destroyed again by Cromwell's Puritans under the command of Sir Frederick Hamilton, in 1642. Today the abbey consists of a ruined nave, aisle, transept, and tower. Some fine stonework remains, especially in the 15th-century cloisters. In the cloister east ambulatory, you'll find a love knot, which is said to represent the bond between earthly and spiritual love. Local custom holds that it is a wishing stone so be sure to touch it and make a wish as you pass. The visitor center is the base for 30-minute guided tours, which are included with admission.

Sligo County Museum

The showpiece of this museum is its Yeats Room, which houses a collection of W. B. Yeats's writings from 1889 to 1936, various editions of his plays and prose (make an appointment in advance to view these), and the Irish tricolor (flag) that draped his coffin when he was buried at nearby Drumcliff. Letters from his muse, the writer Ethel Manning, and from his brother Jack B. to his mother are on display. Three framed pieces of needlework by his sister Lily Yeats, who was an embroiderer associated with the Celtic Revival, can also be viewed. After Sligo Borough Council was dissolved in 2014, two solid silver maces, which were used to accompany the mayor during public ceremonies, were presented to the museum. Now on display in a glass cabinet, they bear the Irish hallmark for the years 1702–03 and depict the emblems of Ireland (harp), England (rose), Scotland (thistle), and France (fleur-de-lis).

3 Stephen St., Sligo, Co. Sligo, Ireland
sights Details
Rate Includes: Free, Closed Sun. and Mon.

St. Eunan's Cathedral

With its 212-foot-high spire St. Eunan's Cathedral is the most outstanding building in Letterkenny, dominating the town, especially when illuminated at night. This striking, ornate Gothic Revival structure was finally finished in 1901, and is the only cathedral in the county. Designed by William Hague of Dublin and built of white Donegal sandstone, the exterior of the building is said to be in perfect classical-rule proportion. Inside, the intricate decorative ceilings and ceramic floor mosaics are the work of Italian artist Signor Amici of Rome. The main and side altars are carved from the finest Italian marble, while the great nave arch depicts, in a series of panels in bas-relief, the lives of St. Eunan and St. Columba in meticulous detail.

Tropical World

Drama from the world of nature, in the form of an amazing butterfly house, is on display at Alcorn's Tropical World and minizoo, near Letterkenny. You will also find an eclectic collection of lizards, lemurs, geckos, squirrel monkeys, bearded dragons, and even snakes—who said St. Patrick banished them all from Ireland’s fair shores? The addition of a Jurassic Land and a Bug World, as well as toucans, rainbow lorikeets, and a pair of cockatiels has brought added dimensions of color. There's a covered play area for children as well as a café and garden center.

Turas Cholmcille

Atop the cliff rising north of the village, the Turas Cholmcille pilgrimage takes place at midnight on June 9 each year, traditionally in bare feet. The three-hour route consists of stone cross pillars, natural features, and megalithic tombs, associated with St. Columba. Details on the mysterious stone cairns and pillars are available in the Glencolmcille Folk Village museum.

Yeats Building

The Yeats Society made major updates to its imposing building on Hyde Bridge in 2018, reinventing the displays for a fresh new experience all carried out in time for the 60th-anniversary celebrations the following year. A stylish permanent exhibition, Yeats and the Western World, honors the poet, providing an insight into the influence that both the Irish West and North America played in W. B. Yeats's life and work. The poet visited Canada and the United States on five occasions, lunching with President Theodore Roosevelt in Washington and speaking to members of the Press Club, Authors' Club, and the Arts Club. The exhibition also features a mock-up of an Edwardian drawing room, including the desk owned by the Yeatses' sister Lily.

In 2019, the Society was gifted a significant acquisition of a previously unseen color film of Yeats's funeral in Sligo in 1948. Although the poet died in France in January 1939, his remains were repatriated nearly a decade later to their final resting place in Drumcliff churchyard. The amateur footage, filmed by musician Jimmy Garvey, who never published it, was discovered in a box and passed to his nephew who donated it to the Society. The three-minute film shows local dignitaries, clergymen, and members of the Yeats family (including W. B.'s brother Jack) at Drumcliff and is now a permanent and treasured part of the exhibition.

The society appointed Dan Mulhall, Irish ambassador to the United States, as its new honorary president in 2019. He has had a lifelong love of Yeats's poetry and has spoken at the summer school on several occasions. The building remains an active hub for lectures, poetry readings, discussion, and literary events, and is home to the Yeats International Summer School conducted here every August since 1959. On the first floor, a gallery hosts a rotating exhibition of contemporary art. Research scholars can explore the Yeats Reference Library, which has more than 3,000 titles. While the ground floor café is currently shut, the Yeats Building is within walking distance of cafés, pubs, and restaurants.