Sligo Abbey, Sligo Town, County Sligo       1252

Sligo Abbey is located right in the middle of Sligo Town. It was built by Maurice Fitzgerald for the Dominicans in 1252 and includes a great wealth of carvings. These include Gothic and Renaissance tomb sculpture, well preserved cloisters and the only sculptured 15th century high altar to survive in the country. This is surprising as it was accidentally burnt down in 1414, ravaged during the Nine Years’ War in 1595 and was also pillaged by a Cromwellian army in 1641. The Dominican friars moved out of the Abbey during the 1700’s but Lord Palmerston restored it in the 1850’s. It appears in two short stories by William Butler Yeats: The Crucifixion of the Outcast, set in the Middle Ages, and The Curse of the Fires and of the Shadows describing its destruction in 1641. Legend says that worshipers saved the abbey’s silver bell which was thrown into Lough Gill and only those free from sin can hear it peal!