Inside information & tips on what to see, do, eat, & special places to stay; Ireland, London & beyond!
Vibrant Ireland

All posts in Sligo

Yeats statue Words detail, Sligo Town

Yeats statue detail, Sligo Town

Sligo! Who knew?

Yep, that’s one of Sligo’s hashtags, and it’s true– Sligo and Sligo town are full of delights, but they’re lesser known to folk who stick to the main tourist trails.

This colourful town will win you over– Sligo’s a perfect visit for lovers of outdoor beauty, adventure, arts, eats, culture, and craic! Located along the NorthWest section of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, Sligo resounds with the natural magic that inspired Yeats as well as an eclectic buzz in Sligo Town.

Over a series of posts I’ll give you a few tasters so you can see for yourself why you should visit Sligo. In this post I’ll give you 3 tidbits about where to stay, eat, &  what to do in Sligo Town

The Glasshouse Hotel, Sligo town, Ireland

The Glasshouse Hotel in Sligo town is pretty cool! Top left: view from my room & the swans, top right in the bar upstairs, under that is moi & the Glasshouse behind me. The groovy turquoise is in the lobby; the rest are of my room

1. Get Groovy in the Glasshouse Hotel!

Located right on the river in Sligo town, the Glasshouse has really fun decor, an award winning restaurant, and 2 bars. The rooms are in vibrant oranges or greens, and zingy colours are used throughout the modern building. I do see how an orange themed room could be a love-hate affair, but I’m firmly on the side of love!

I also enjoyed watching the numerous swans float along the river as I sat by my window. The wi-fi was strong, the slick telly had plenty of channels, and the bed was comfy. Happy days! No complaints at breakfast either, and I really enjoyed the fruit smoothie. The only slightly off thing was the little-bit-dim underground carpark– really handy, but creeped me out a wee bit. It’s probably just me being freaky, though!

I’d happily stay at the Glasshouse again, and in particular, their midweek Special Offer sounds good to me:

Midweek – 3 nights B&B and 1 Evening meal

Why not treat yourself to 3 Nights Bed & Breakfast and one Evening Meal in our Kitchen Restaurant on the night of your choice.
Min Stay: 3
From: €125 per person sharing

Having dinner at the Glasshouse would be nice, I believe, as Chef Alan Fitzmaurice seems on fire for good food. (I only had their So Sligo party tapas, but those made a dinner seem promising.) Sligo has plenty of tasty places to eat, so filling your tummy the other nights would be no problem!

Hargadon's traditional pub, Sligo Town, Ireland

Hargadon’s traditional pub is cozy, and even has a few snugs- you’d get your pint thru the wee opening as you conducted your ‘secret’ conversations. Try the Irish Stew, it’s ace!

2. Fill up with Fab Food!

In fact, Sligo has a whole festival based around food (which is why I was there,) and taking a look at what goes on will whet your appetite for Sligo and 2015’s So Sligo festival (which will incorporate Yeats Day-his 150th birthday!) Check out the Savory, and Sweet, tapas trails So Sligo ran! That’ll give you ideas for where you might want to eat.
Uh oh… looking at the listings again I realize I defo need to go eat more places in Sligo town… I’m totally dreaming of that Glasshouse Midweek Offer so I can check out the tasty places I missed. Writing this blog post is dangerous! 😀

Tip: Check out Osta cafe & wine bar, on the other side of the bridge from the Glasshouse. I sampled a few dishes and they were delish. (Osta stops serving at 7pm early week & 8pm later in the week, so just be mindful of that.) The whole area by Osta is rather lovely; sitting out having a glass of wine along the river would be quite romantic, and with the Glasshouse Hotel just across the way…

3. Suss Out Sligo Town!

Sligo Town collage, Yeats & more

Pub ‘Shoot The Crows’ was so called due to the gun shop across the street. To test a gun before buying, folk went outside & shot the crows hanging out on the pub roof!

Sligo town is an interesting place, and it’s not all due to Yeats. There’s the Dracula connection, modern film shoots, and lots more– the free guided tour will tell you all the best bits! When we did a truncated version the tour as we only had an hour free, but the tour is great like that– you can drop in & drop out as it suits you. The tour leaves Mon-Sat, 11am from in front of the Discover Ireland Tourist office, O’Connell St. The full tour’s 2 hours long, and believe me the time will fly by because you’ll be finding out so many interesting things.

The Model Arts Centre & Gallery is an grand place for all ages. As well as showing exciting contemporary art exhibitions, they also have Jack Yeats’ paintings, a myriad of events (not just ‘artsy;’ there’s a regular vintage flea market too!) and a cafe. The Model is a combination of an 1846 period building (built as a Model School,) and modern extensions. It is quite beautiful inside; light and airy. I certainly want to spend more time in here, and I bet many of you will too.

Right!– see you in Sligo, so! 😀

Check out my other posts on So Sligo Festival here and here.

AND, don’t miss another super Sligo festival- Tread Softly, on 27 July- 8 August 2014!

Dee of and Val of have also written about Sligo & So Sligo; have a read:

Ecotourism: 10 Fun Things You Can Do In Sligo – GreensideUp      Celebrating WB Yeats In Sligo – GreensideUp 

Só Sligo – so much fun (Part 2) – MagnumLady         Só Sligo – so much fun!!! – Part One – MagnumLady

Find out more about visiting Sligo &  driving the Wild Atlantic Way 

Transparency: I was kindly included on a 2 night So Sligo tour for bloggers, thanks to sponsorship by Connacht Gold butter. Of course, all my opinions are genuine as always, and certainly Connacht Gold didn’t influence me to eat more butter, because, c’mon, we all know how FAB Irish butter is, right? You can just have a look at my roundy frame & see I’ve been eating loads of Irish butter for YEARS. 😀 

Butter is good for you! Connacht Gold butter at breakfast Glasshouse Hotel Sligo town

Butter is good for you! Connacht Gold butter at breakfast, Glasshouse Hotel

Happily, butter is actually GOOD for you! OonaghEats has the scoop, and taste tasted some of the variations.

These phoinstagram-travel-linky-rulestos are almost all Instagram photos, and I’m sharing them as part of #IGTravelThursday. You can join in,too! See the rules to the left, and find out more on this post from Skimbaco.

[inlinkz_linkup id=415277 mode=1]

Blue Raincoat Theatre Co_ A Brief Taste of Lightening at Tread Softly festival

Blue Raincoat Theatre Co A Brief Taste of Lightening. On at Tread Softly festival, Sligo

Wondering what’s on?

Flea markets, battle reenactment, art exhibits, paint-outs, craft talks, music, fashion & family fun–it’s all happening!

I’ve had some interesting events notices land in my email from all over Ireland, & I figured I better pass ’em on so you can sort out your calendars before its too late. Whether you’re looking for things to do when visiting Ireland over the next few weeks or are looking for a local day out, peruse & choose! 😀


To start off with, in Kilkenny you can enjoy exhibits of craft, and art:


EXHIBITION: Up From Earth Show NCG Grads 2014 'Up from Earth'

18July–3 August

An exhibition of ceramics from the students of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramics Skills & Design Course, curated by Gus Mabelson. Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramics Skills & Design Course is a unique two-year intensive programme designed to equip graduates with the practical skills to
 develop careers in the ceramics industry.

Located at the beautiful Island Mill, Thomastown, this extremely successful course has established an excellent reputation in the industry both nationally and internationally, and many of its graduates have gone on to establish international careers. The biennial graduation exhibition is an opportunity to spot stars of the future. Up From Earth will be launched by Jack Doherty, internationally renowned ceramicist, at 6.30pm on Friday 18 July.

LATE DATE: Meet the Makers

DCCoI Ceramics Course 2014 graduates with Tutor Gus Mableson

Thurs 24 July, 6.30pm

An informal evening of discussion and sharing with the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramics Course Graduates, class of 2014. Each maker will chat through their practices and processes focusing on the works in the exhibition. Meet the makers and have a glass of wine.

National Craft Gallery, Castle Yard, Kilkenny FREE

Felicity Clear

Drawings Plans Projections

June 14 – July 27, 2014

The Butler Gallery is delighted to present Drawings Plans Projections, an exhibition by Felicity Clear, which includes wall drawings, structures and animation.

Clear’s earlier work included precise large-scale drawings using graphite and acrylic on paper of high-rise modernist building schemes, suburban parking lots, and ghost cranes hovering over building sites with wide empty skies. These drawings were occasionally populated by trees but rarely ever with people.

Clear has made a shift in her practice in the past few years,and broadened out into more abstract ideas of structure, stability and failure. The recent drawings describe structures that are untenable, and ambiguous as to their beginning, middle and end. The process begins with the making of small-scale simple wooden structures that are intuitive and quickly constructed and reference architectural models. Studio lights cast two-way shadows of the models back onto paper, which are then drawn in pencil. Clear expands upon her process:

Felicity Clear at Butler GalleryWhen the structures are taken away there is a gap in perspectival logic, which makes the drawings difficult for the eye to interpret.  There is also a good deal of repetition in the work; repetitive pencil marks and repetition in the making of the models, where there is a potentially infinite supply of different solutions in a never-ending pursuit of an impossible or undeclared goal.

Clear has become interested in the use of projection to generate large wall drawings. This led her in a whole new direction, involving screen and moving image, and ultimately towards the use of animation to fulfil new ideas.  In a work entitled ‘Blueprints’, three structures revolve through space in a stop-go animation. In its making each element has been drawn, rubbed out and drawn again, moving slightly each time. Eventually the drawings form a loop and appear to be revolving again and again, with each individual drawing leaving a trace, referencing the handmade.

A large-scale drawing, ‘here’s the thing,’ flows down the wall and out onto the gallery floor leading the viewer inwards to consider its multiple drawing propositions. The varied structures, which have become more complicated and self-contained over time, cast myriad shadows back onto the drawing, distorting our perceptions. It is not clear where light ends and wall begins.

In Drawings Plans Projections, we survey Clear’s ideas at work and at play, punctuating the galleries with experimentation, whimsy and skill.

Felicity Clear is from Greystones, Co. Wicklow but lives and works in Dublin. After receiving a degree in Natural Science from Trinity College Dublin, she went on to study Fine Art at the National College of Art and Design from which she graduated in 1991. She received an MA in Visual Arts Practice in 2007 from Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design. Clear has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally and has had solo exhibitions at the Rubicon Gallery and The Lab in Dublin, the Mermaid Arts Centre in Wicklow, the Galway Arts Centre, and The Drawing Project, Dún Laoghaire. She has also been included in group exhibitions at Limerick City Gallery, Crawford Art Gallery, Irish Museum Of Modern Art, National Gallery Of Ireland, Contemporary Arts Society London and the Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum.Her work appears in many private and public collections including, the Arts Council Of Ireland, Goldman Sachs UK, KPMG, Office Of Public Works, Dublin Institute Of Technology, RTÈ, Tralee RTC, Allied Irish Bank, Irish Contemporary Arts Society and private collections.

Butler Gallery at The Castle, Kilkenny, Ireland

t: + 353 56 7761106  e:

flower carlow garden festival

Don’t forget to check out Kilkenny Arts festival, 8-17 August, too!

Staying in the sunny southeast, in county Carlow you can feed your flower fetish and enjoy gorgeous gardens at the Carlow Garden Festival– I’ve a whole post on it, with how to win tickets & other prizes, here.

And in county Wexford, there’s tons on too:


Art in the Open Festival  2014

Wexford will host Europe’s largest outdoor Art Festival as ‘Art in the Open’ takes place from July 28 until Aug 4.

Six spectacular ‘Paint-outs’ are the core of Art in the Open Festival where artists will take to some of the Southeasts most stunning scenery, charming villages and historic towns including Courtown, Graignamanagh, Enniscorthy, Ballyhack, Clonegal, and Wexford Town, where they will create a masterpiece of the vista.

Art In The Open. The festival culminates in a giant exhibition of all the pieces created, featuring 2,500 paintings exhibited in Wexford town. Festivalgoers can join the artists or observe the creative process, enjoy workshops, a quickdraw or a painter’s pint.

For further details see



Vinegar Hill Battle ReEnactment, Aug 1- 3

Witness history unfold this August Bank Holiday weekend and make tracks for Enniscorthy as the town hosts Ireland’s largest Battle Reenactment. Vinegar Hill is the venue for a free re-creation of the 1798 Battle of Vinegar Hill.

Experience life as an 18th Century redcoat, learn about the heroic pikemen of ’98, or see blacksmiths preparing for battle. Why not even enlist to take part and re-live a momentous scene from Irelands’ history books.Battle Vinegar Hill Battle Reenactment


Gorey Market House Festival – August Bank Holiday Weekend 2014 – July 31 to August 3.

The very best in music, fashion and family fun. North Wexford’s premier open air Festival is even bigger and better this year with Live outdoor music from Jack L, Corner Boy, White Chalk and Riptide Movement. Plus, exhibitions, tons of kids fun, market day, Ireland’s only open air street fashion extravaganza with Brendan Courtney and lots more.

It’s a festival for all the family over the August Bank Holiday Weekend. Check out the fun Jam ‘N’ Jam competition featuring three categories ‘Best Strawberry’, ‘Best Raspberry’ and ‘Best Unusual Combination.’ Irish food writer Biddy White Lennon will award a prize of €100 for the 1st place entries, €50 for 2nd place and a Jam making kit for 3rd place. The pot of jam dubbed ‘Best in Show’ will win the overall prize of €200.


Head to the wild & beautiful northwest and you can Tread Softly at the fabulous Yeats festival (dedicated post here,) or find some vintage treasures at the Sligo Flea Market:

Sligo Flea Market, 19 July

Are you hunting for something unique? A special dress for your upcoming Debs, or have a summer event coming up? Look no further as Sligo’s only indoor vintage, vinyl and craft market returns to The Model on 19 July for the second of a trio of markets taking place throughout the summer. Stallholders will be selling one of a kind vintage dresses from the 1950s to the 1970s, with costume jewellery to match!

sligo flea market 2The spacious, cool interior of the historic Model building is perfectly suited for comfortably browsing the stalls of vinyl records, local crafts and illustrators, bric a brac, costume jewellery and vintage clothing.

The market will be open to the public between 12-5pm, there is free Wi-Fi in the building, and after an afternoon of browsing and buying, visitors can unwind at The Model Café, located in the bright central atrium of The Model.

If you’d like to apply for a stall, we are currently accepting applications for our final summer market (23 August). Visit our Facebook page at

You can follow the activity of the Sligo Flea, from stallholders, live updates and all the latest news, on Facebook, instagram and twitter, and by using the hashtag #SligoFlea


In the lake studded county of Cavan, you can catch the Cavan Theatre Festival:

Cavan Theatre Festival will host a four day theatre festival from 17th to 20th July 2014. Officially launched at the Abbey Theatre, during the celebrations of World Theatre Day on 27th March, it will provide a new and ambitious platform for theatre artists both local and national to perform and network. Some Flood at Cavan Theatre festival

Cavan is a county buzzing with arts and culture, the Cavan Theatre Festival’s Kieron Smith (Artistic Director) and the Cavan Theatre Festival team are aiming to showcase some of the best plays produced nationwide.

Kilkenny’s Devious Theatre Company will be opening the festival with Some Flood. Terry and I saw this in Kilkenny and we quite enjoyed it– do go! You can download the full theatre festival program over on This is Cavan and check out the Cavan Theatre Festival’s Facebook page, too. (I found their website didn’t work well for me..)

And if all these fab events leave you in need of a refreshing break, well, I can tell you from experience that Cavan’s historic hotel & spa gem, Farnham Estate, will see you right! Enjoy filling your calendar with fun 😀

treatment room, Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Cavan

One of the treatment rooms, pic via Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Cavan.

Yeats statue, Sligo, Ireland

WB Yeats statue, Sligo Town

Another super Sligo fest! Tread Softly Festival

Sligo’s Festival in Celebration of the Yeats Family

27th July – 8th August

The third Tread Softly festival, celebrating the link between Sligo and the Yeats family will take place 27 July – 8 August 2014.

The many dimensions of this family of famous artists –

Nobel Prize winning poet William Butler,

Painter Jack B,

Embroiderer Susan

Fine press printer Elizabeth

will be brought to life over two weeks of theatre, exhibitions, cinema, music, literary events, talks and tours, alongside a programme of children’s events.

The Yeats Experience menu, host, silverware

The Yeats Experience

W. B. Yeats is considered by many to be the greatest English language poet of the 20th Century. Throughout his life he wrote about Sligo and the beauty, folklore and spirituality of the surrounding landscape. His brother Jack once said he never created a painting ‘without at least a thought of Sligo in it’. Sisters Susan and Elizabeth Yeats ran the Cuala Press which printed the work of W. B. Yeats and many other well-known writers including Ezra Pound, Douglas Hyde, Rabindranath Tagore and Elizabeth Bowen.

You all may remember that I was in Sligo in June for the So Sligo food & culture festival, and that I was mighty impressed with all that Sligo Town & countryside has to offer. You’ll see that for yourself in Tread Softly’s many events. I’ll just point out 3 which I’ve taken part in myself.

The Yeats Experience

This is a unique and beautiful experience of Irish hospitality, history, and of course, Yeats. I was lucky enough to attend the dinner with the other So Sligo visiting bloggers, one of whom is Dee Sewell, who wrote this post about  the evening. (Yeats &  Sligo worked their magic on us, and the wonderful So Sligo tour inspired us to create Green & Vibrant...more on that another time!)

When you go and enjoy this special experience, keep a look out for the  lovely cows there in the yard 😀

“The Yeats Experience is situated overlooking Lough Gill providing magnificent views over landscapes described in four of Yeats’ earlier poems for your group (10 to 50 people). A unique Sligo experience. Dine at Lunch or dinner on the finest contemporary Irish cuisine, locally sourced and/or grown in our own garden. As you dine you and your guests learn of the early life of William Butler Yeats, the Sligo of his youth and the wonderful poetry he wrote out of his experience in the Land of Heart’s desire. Enjoy it all in the style and comfort of a private home.”

calf dinnertime at Yeats Experience

Calf dinnertime at the Yeats Experience!

Booking: Booking Essential to Damien Brennan (10 person minimum) at 087 2320820

Streedagh Seaweed Walk

Try this guided exploration of the beautiful beach near the famous mount Benbulben. There you’ll be amazed at the truly tasty seaweeds you can nibble straight from the ocean, and Prannie’s knowledge and recipes are top class. This walk is another fab activity I took part in during So Sligo, and it totally inspired me! You can read more about it, & try Terry’s Easy Seaside Summer Bean Salad recipe here.

“Guided walk by author, chef and seaweed expert Dr Prannie Rhatigan on the rich and varied seaweed growing in the backdrop of bare Benbulben. Walkers will learn about harvesting and using this natural resource.”

Start time: 11am
Degree of difficulty: Easy, looped walk
Duration: 2 hours
Start Point: Streedagh Beach Car Park
Tickets: FREE

Walking Tours of Sligo Town with Yeats Family Points of Interest

Sligo Town, Ireland

Walking tours with a great guide are one of the very best ways to get under the skin of a place whilst having a bit of craic. We certainly did just that when we did the Sligo Town tour with Niamh! Best FREE you’ll ever spend 😀

Start time: 11.00am
Days: Monday – Saturday
Duration: 2 hours
Tickets: FREE
Booking: Booking, pick up and return at 1.00pm from Tourist Information Office

Here are a few more tidbits on the Tread Softly festival:

This year’s festival’s theatrical highlights include performances of The Man in the Woman’s Shoes by Mikel Murfi and A Brief Taste of Lightening performed by Blue Raincoat Theatre Company.

An exhibition entitled Jack B Yeats The Music Has Come at the Model will look at his interest in song.  The venue is also presenting a display of Norah McGuinness’s illustrations of William Butler Yeats, The Stories of Red Hanrahan and the Secret Rose, and the first comprehensive solo exhibition of work by Susan Hiller.

The Hamilton Gallery will be home to Confluence: A Merging by Janet Pearse, reflecting on her experiences in Ireland and India in recent years, and The Factory Foyer to Wandering Shades by Katie McDonagh, inspired by the ‘dance plays’ of W. B. Yeats, which were in turn influenced by Japanese Noh Theatre.

The Factory will also be the venue for one of the films featuring in the programme, Sanctuary by Blue Raincoat co-founder Malcolm Hamilton, based on the stage play of the same name.

Speaker’s Corner is a new departure for the festival programme this year; an informal gathering of politicians to discuss their visions for Ireland as the centenary of 1916 approaches. Such a discussion seems a fitting element in any celebrations of Yeats’ life and work.

Out and about, the festival will offer a programme of walking tours Yeats and the landscape – Walking in the Footsteps of Yeats. 

The festival runs alongside the 55th annual Yeats International Summer School, Ireland’s longest running summer school, which will be opened this year by Alan Gilsenan at the Hawk’s Well on 27th July. The Summer School continues until 8thAugust.

Have a gander of the full list of Tread Softly events here.

For full information and programme details: or contact Sligo Tourist Office O’Connell Street Sligo on Tel: 071 91 61201

Ticket Booking: The Hawk’s Well, Temple Street, Sligo Tel: 071 9161526

For more posts on Sligo, have a look here.

Seaweeds in a strainer & Guide to Edible Seaweeds by Prannie Rhatigan

Seriously, this stuff is fantastic!

Pepper dulse is like a delicious seaweed garlic. You can nibble it straight from your seaweed foraging as a snack! Also, Terry’s created a tasty recipe for you.

dog reads Irish Seaweed Kitchen cookbook

Petal considers reading Irish Seaweed Kitchen recipes

Inspired by So Sligo Festival and the beautiful book Irish Seaweed Kitchen by Prannie Rhatigan, on the sunny Summer Solstice Terry & I drove to the seaside in Wexford to forage seaweed.

As well as seaweed, we got seaside photos from both Wexford & Sligo for you to enjoy, even if you remain unconvinced about the seaweed 😉

Summer Solstice was a stunner of a day, hardly a cloud in Ireland’s skies. To tell the truth, this foraging seaweed lark was a bit of an adventure for us– we’d never even tried cooking with seaweed, much less hunting for it!

Doing so was all down to Prannie’s enthusiasm, knowledge, and tasty samples during the seaweed excursion she led at So Sligo. She had passed her excitement on to me, so I got her book, showed it to Terry, and he got the seaweed bug as well.

If YOU are curious about seaweeds, and fancy a special weekend on the Wild Atlantic Way in Sligo, I’ve cool trip info to pass on to you in a minute.

blue sky & beach grasses  co Wexford Ireland

Blue sky & beach grasses, Summer Solstice. co Wexford, Ireland

Sea Spaghetti and Pepper Dulse (the garlic seaweed) were top of our seaweed foraging list. Both are tasty nibbled straight from the sea, the sea spaghetti nutty/salty/crunchy; its long strands fun to eat. I was armed to hunt with my laminated font of knowledge: Prannie’s identification Guide To Edible Seaweeds, a handy beachside companion to the Irish Seaweed Kitchen.

Forage for seaweed at low tide, as many interesting varieties are to be found at the farthest receding of the sea. Always be aware of when the tide will turn, aware of your surroundings, and go with a friend. Never forage alone with your back to the sea; freak waves are not unknown, so always have someone with you facing out towards the sea. Don’t go too far out that you can’t easily get back in– tides can come in quickly! Find out the quirks of the area you are foraging.

You can get phone apps that track the tides, and have a look around online (and talk to locals!) for tide times & local sea / beach information before you go.


The ‘spring tides’ are ace times to forage for seaweed; the sea goes out farthest then.

Never pick the whole plant of any seaweed. A good general rule is to only snip off the top third. This ensures it can continue to grow sustainably.

Only take what you’ll use. Legally, removing things from the seaside in Ireland is prohibited.

Many seaweeds need gentle handling. They can become unrooted by human clumsiness & tugs.

Avoid places where you can see lots of bright green seaweed & seepage/runoff from land, as there could be pollution here. Same for marinas & ports.

Don’t forget your plastic bag to carry your seaweeds, and boots or a towel to dry you bare feet. (Yes, when we went the water was warm enough for a very enjoyable wade!)

Pepper Dulse & other seaweeds

Pepper Dulse is the golden one here. The strands are Sea Spaghetti, and the discs are the beginnings of Sea Spaghetti

In the crevices of rocks at Baginbun, Wexford we found our gold– the Pepper Dulse! When it is not growing at the lowest reaches of the shore it is quite tiny, so you must be careful to only snip off the tips of this flavoursome seaweed. The easiest way to harvest most any seaweed is just go armed with scissors & snip, but with these tiny Pepper Dulse I found fingertips easiest– next time I’ll also bring quite small scissors.

Our seaweed harvest had a pleasing variety, but we only found a tiny bit of sea spaghetti. Terry could see some more farther out; maybe we’ll look up the date of the next Spring Tide & try again then.

I really want to find some because in the Irish Seaweed Kitchen there’s a yummy recipe for Sea Spaghetti & Cheese Straws. I sampled them on the So Sligo seaweed walk. Apparently kids love ’em, but any kids around that day missed out cuz us (supposed) adults gobbled the straws all up!

Irish Seaweed Kitchen cookbookby Prannie Rhatigan

Irish Seaweed Kitchen cookbook by Prannie Rhatigan. Beautiful to look at, tempting to read, and a helpful bookmark too!

Prannie Rhatigan’s cookbook is fantastic, and the descriptions & photos will make you want to try some recipes. These are of a great variety, and plenty that aren’t seaweed based; you won’t feel like you’ve a mouthful of ocean 😉 The thing about seaweeds is that they have so many healthful nutrients, so adding just a touch here in there can be beneficial.

Terry loves to use cookbooks as a jumping-off point to create something himself. What he did with the garlic-y Pepper Dillisk was to bring it into a summery bean salad:

Easy Seaside Summer Bean Salad

tin of sweetcorn, drained
tin of chickpeas, drained
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot
hot sauce, to taste (Terry likes Franks Original Hot sauce for this recipe)
juice of 1/2 lime
tablespoon or more of shredded Pepper Dulse, to taste
chopped/ snipped sea spaghetti (we had about  2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon of Shoyu sauce, OR 1 teaspoon of dark soya sauce
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
black pepper, to taste

Peel your carrot, using the peeler to make wide ribbons of carrot. Chop them roughly. Into a good sized bowl add all of your ingredients, stirring well to mix them up. Let it settle and serve. A tasty source of protein as well as part of your 5-a-day veg, with the bonus of seaweed nutrients!

It’s delish, do try it! I even shared it on Twitter’s #SundayCookoff. It got a good response from the Cookoff Chef 

Another interesting thing you can do with Pepper Dulse is to dry it in the sun & then grind it up to use as a seasoning, like pepper. This was a traditional way of using it. I’m curious as to whether it will lose some of its garlic flavour when dried. I will try this and let you know!

If you’ve been tempted to learn more about foraging and cooking with seaweeds with Prannie Rhatigan and you’d like to enjoy a fantastic weekend on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way in county Sligo, this weekend break may fit the bill!

Sligo Seaweed Days 30th and 31st July, 2014

Day 1:  You will enjoy brunch at Lang’s Bar before joining us on a seaweed identification walk on Streedagh beach. A dolphin spotting trip around Sligo/Donegal Bay will be followed by an aperitif and dinner at Eithna’s By the Sea.

Day 2:  You will begin with a visit to Creevykeel court cairn with local archaeologist. Then a cookery demo and hands on workshop with Prannie rounded off with a leisurely lunch at Eithna’s.

Full details and to book, here.

Prannie Rhatigan is a medical doctor with a lifetime experience of harvesting, cooking and gardening organically with sea vegetables. Born and raised in the North West of Ireland where she still lives, she has a lifelong interest in the connections between food and health. Hailed as “Ireland’s leading seaweed expert” in Food and Wine in June 2012  she has represented Ireland’s finest food abroad on many occasions and has given workshops and lectures on sea vegetables and cooking. Amongst other awards, in May 2012 she was awarded Special Acknowledgement for her Outstanding Contribution to Irish Food by Euro-Toques 2012.

I ate at Eithna’s By the Sea as part of my So Sligo visit, and certainly recommend it. De-lish! Amazingly fresh seafood and a charming, lovingly run restaurant. The harbour setting is lovely, too. I’ll tell you more about Eithna’s & how you can do some beach horseriding in the area in an upcoming post.

You can also learn plenty from Prannie’s the Guide to Edible Seaweeds, too. Each seaweed even has a QR code you can scan to watch a video with more information! You can purchase it, and/or the cookbook, from the Irish Seaweed Kitchen website, in bookshops or on Amazon.

When I was having a look around online to see if many other folk found Pepper Dulse garlic-y, I found this on Wikipedia:

Sligo beach

Sligo is special!  This is the beach where we seaweed walked with Prannie

“Osmundea pinnatifida is a species of red alga known by the common name Pepper Dulse.

It is a small seaweed widely found with the tidal zone of moderately sheltered rocky shores around Britain and Europe. Although technically a red seaweed, it can show a wide range of colouring from yellow-buff to a red so dark as to be almost black. Reference is made to its being harvested and dried in Scotland and in the Channel Islands for use as a curry-flavoured spice.”

Curry flavoured? Interesting! I’d love to hear what you all think Pepper Dulse tastes like! If you’ve had Pepper Dulse, let us know–what did it taste like to you? Or if you’ve had another unusual tasting seaweed, have a great recipe or other tip, let us know, too! I’d love for you to share. Leave your comment below, or tweet me at @VibrantIreland or tell me over on the Vibrant Ireland Facebook page.

Enjoy the Irish Seaweeds 😀

Seaweed Bubbly! drink

Seaweed Bubbly!

A feast of food and fun–So Sligo Festival!

Don’t miss out on the fun for all ages.

I’m just back from a taster of the So Sligo food & culture which is on through Sunday 16 June 2014. I’m sorry I couldn’t stay for all the fab things happening, but I’ll give you some of my top picks here: Please excuse typos, rushin off & wanted to get this out to ye 1st 🙂

Want TIPS on visiting Sligo town? Click!

Wild Food Experiences 13 – 15 June 2014

 Friday 13th

6.30pm – 8pm Fermentation workshop in Chapters (upstairs)  Probiotic proseccos, kombuchas, kefir and surprises! With Fermentistas Hans and Gaby Wieland from Neantog, Cliffony, Sligo Cost: €12 
location: Chapters Coffee House – Bridge St. I’ve met Hans & he’s lovely! should be a fab workshop

8pm : Aniar @ The Model – Chef JP McMahon’s PopUp of his Michelin Starred Galway Restaurant Aniar is a terroir based restaurant located in Galway’s West End. Cost €40 OMG I’d love to go to this. Anair has a Michelin star!
Location: The Model – The Mall.  Book by ringing 0719141405

Saturday 14th June
11am – 3pm Meet your guide Joerg Mueller who will lead you around Doorly Park just on the outskirts of Sligo identifying a wide range of plants which could change your life and introduce you to their many benefits – From Nettles to Plantain, from Coltsfoot to Sorrel. Bring a notebook for collection of species. Gaby Wieland will then show you how to use the foods (including some medicinal uses) which were found en route. Cost €40
Meet at Sligo Tourist Office – O’Connell St. Book ticket below

8.30pm An entertaining and exceptional feast of wild and fermented foods in Osta Cafe and Wine Bar prepared by Catherine Byrne and Brid Torrades Cost €25  I ate at Osta & it was delish, Nice location on the river, too!
LocationOsta Café & Wine Bar, Garavogue Weir  Book by ringing 0719144639

Sunday 15th June 

11am Enjoy an introduction to seaweeds with Dr Prannie Rhatigan in the form of a seaweed Taste and Talk – as part of a relaxed 3 course seafood brunch prepared by Eithna O Sullivan. Vegetarian option available.
Departure is at 1pm to catch the low tide for an educational walk along the shoreline to identify and harvest seaweeds in season. Along the walk Prannie will discuss the many uses of seaweed. Cost €40  I did this & it is so interesting! TASTY, TOO! I extra- recommend it 😀
Location: Eithna’s By The Sea, Mullaghmore
Book ticket below

desserts at Ethnas By The Sea, Sligo.

desserts at Eithnas By The Sea.

1.40pm Talk and Demonstration on Wild Irish Mushrooms and how to use them from Louis Smith author and GMIT chef lecturer speaks about this precious resource

Go to the bottom of this page to book these events

If you’ve got children, definitely check out these 2 So Sligo events

The Family Cook Off 14 June 2014, & Pizza making workshop for children

Saturday, 14 June 2014

This fun competition brings families together to show off their culinary skills.

Family teams must create, cook and prepare TWO portions of a TWO course meal. Two people per family team, one under 18 and over 18 member each. (However, if there are two children under 10, they may enter with one over 18 team member).
This year the Cook Off takes place in the St Angela’s College on Lough Gill, on Saturday 14th June. Competitors must be present at St Angela’s College Sligo at 10am. Time given to complete your dish is one and a half hours, and judge’s decision is final

Competitors will be fighting for the wonderful prize of a family booking for dinner, Bed and Breakfast and use of the leisure centre at Radisson Blu Hotel. Winners will also have the opportunity to cook with celebrity and head chef of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Joe Shannon. Go HERE for entry form & booking

Children’s Pizza Making Workshops on Sat 14th  from 10am. 
Venue: Sligo CRC Cleaveragh
Price:  €5   Book online at this page

Bring your stew and your appetites!

Irish stew from Hargadons, So Sligo Festival tapas trail

Irish stew from Hargadons, So Sligo Festival tapas trail

World Irish Stew Championship, & Street Feast

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The fifth World Irish Stew Championship will take place on 15th June in Sligo from 12 midday.  Everybody is invited to bring along two portions of their Irish Stew – facilities for heating and serving will be provided.  The international team of judges will decide which cook is worthy of the title of World Irish Stew Champion.  On the So Sligo Tapas Trail, I had the Irish Stew at Hargadon’s. Yum! Wonder if they’ll enter the comp? 

Street Feast 15th June 4-6 PM at the Food Village, Stephen Street Car Park. Street Feasts have such a great vibe. Go be part of it!

And not by no means least, So Sligo’s fantastic Tapas Trail!

SO Sligo Food Trail, 11 – 15 June 2014

Sample some of Sligo’s best food in handy and tasty tapas portions of house specialities from some of our celebrated restaurants, including Osta Cafe, Hargadons, Cafe Fleur, Kates Kitchen and Raffertys.

Follow the Food Trail Map and get delicious dishes for €5 from participating cafes, restaurants and bars. *** I did some of the trail, and it was super-yummy! LOVE the fact that there is a Savoury and a Sweet trail. Get yourselves to So Sligo & spends the next 3 days grazing your heart out! Big thumbs up to this, wish I was there still!***

Download Savoury Food Trail Programme here 

Download Sweet Food Trail Programme here 

So Sligo festival flash mob heading off to the Tapas Trail

so sligo festival- heading off to Tapas Trail- flash mob

WHAT a fab festival! I couldn’t list everything, so do have a look at all events here.

Here is a post on the run up to So Sligo 2014.

Enjoy the So Sligo Festival this weekend 🙂




So Sligo festival

So Sligo festival- even the veggies are good 😉

Get off the totally trodden tourist track for a special taste of Ireland!

Só Sligo Festival of Food and Culture in Ireland’s FABULOUS northwest is on 11 – 15 June 2014 

So Sligo irish stew

So Sligo’s Irish stew photo

Friends, I can’t urge you enough to include the northwest in your Irish holiday vacation plans! This corner of Ireland is stunning, friendly, and not at all crowded. A great time to go is during the So Sligo festival, and Sligo’s on the coast so you can explore this part of the Wild Atlantic Way!

Read TIPS on visiting Sligo town!

Read this for recommendations on events from So Sligo 2014.

To get you started there will be a pre-festival pop-up restaurant on 7 June where you can take your tastebuds on a trip to Brazil. Also before the main festival arrives you may want to perfect your recipes, because during the festival there’s a Family Cook Off 14 June, and The Irish Stew championships on June15th. To enter the Stew Championships just bring along two portions of your stew to the Festival, as they’ve facilities on-site so you can heat & serve.

So Sligo Brazil pop-up restaurant 7 June

So Sligo Brazil pop-up restaurant 7 June

There is something for everybody at this years’ Food Festival in Sligo. It starts on Wednesday 11th June and continues until Sunday evening with things happening all over the county! In Sligo town, the Só Sligo Food Trail has over 30 tapas sized house specialities available for €5 each – grab a map and follow it!

There will be urban foraging,  seaweed walks, fermentation and cheese making workshops, plus demonstrations and talks! Local and celebrity chefs & experts will include Rachel Allen, JP McMahon, Prannie Rhatigan, Silke Croppe and many more!

The award winning Aniar Restaurant  will be a very special pop up in The Model on Friday, and an exceptional Yeats Nobel Dinner by Alan Fitzmaurice will be had on Thursday 12th (the eve of Yeats Day, also celebrating in Sligo).

Lots of events are on for children too; like workshops, free entertainment and family cookery competitions.

Save room in you belly  for delights from the Food Village on from 1pm on Friday through to Sunday evening, and before wrapping this up, there’s also a Street Feast! Bring your own food – or buy it from the stalls and food outlets; everyone will enjoy together!

There are other events taking place then in Sligo, too! Yeats Day – Fri 13th, a Craft Fest, and The Sea Shanty Festival in Rosses Point! 


so sligo food

Mouth watering food for you via So Sligo

Here is the full listing of So Sligo events

You can also keep up to date via the So Sligo Festival Facebook page

I’m really excited to tell you that I’ll be going to So Sligo as part of the Bloggers’ trip! Do keep an eye on the different bloggers’ tweets and posts about the festival & Sligo, as we’ve all a bit different angles. For example, Dee of is very interested in local food and eco tourism, and Val of & is a Sligo local and a very popular photographer. Chef Zach of IrishFoodGuide is a fab source of Irish food news & recipes, and Lisa of Isle Magazine focuses on Irish style, living, and enterprise. Once I find out who else is going, I’ll add them to this list. Addition: Sean from A Taste Of Ireland is coming too! He’s a foodie photographer & author of A Taste of Cork. Yum! Check out their sites for their Twitter, Facebook & Instagram links to follow so you’ll be able to see their real-time So Sligo updates 🙂

Here’s some of what we’ll get up to:

Bloggers Day 10th June

Só Sligo will be celebrating its 5th year in June 2014 and as part of festival, we have invited 10 trendsetting Bloggers to come and experience some of the delights which Sligo has to offer.

The Bloggers will be welcomed to Sligo with an enjoyable dinner where after they will be escorted to their respective hotels. Wednesday, they will enjoy breakfast at their hotel, they will then be whisked off to join in the “Seaweed Harvesting Walk” with Prannie Rhatigan, Eithne’s in Mullaghmore will serve a super locally sourced lunch.

After lunch the Bloggers will be able to choose from a selection of treats on offer in Sligo, whether it’s being pampered or something a bit more adventurous. (I plan on horseriding on the beach! I’ll be the one lagging behind as due to my back I can only have the horse walk, but I just couldn’t miss this fun excursion. Hope to get some photos for you!)

They will end off their day with a walk in Sligo town enjoying a selection of tapas sized portions meals from some of our best restaurants and finishing at The Glasshouse Hotel for dessert and the official opening of the festival! ( Myself and Dee are also staying at the Glasshouse Hotel, so I’ll let you know the scoop & any tips on staying there.)

Have YOU been to Sligo? I don’t yet have any Sligo photos of my own to include in this post– if you have a fab photo or two that shows off some area highlights and you’d like me to share it here, let me know in the comments section below, or on Vibrant Ireland’s Facebook or Twitter. You’ll get full credit, of course. Cheers!

People shopping at Sligo Flea Market. Photo: Val Robus

Sligo Flea Market. Photo: Val Robus

Is that a Spring in your step? Bet I know why:

Sligo Flea Market is back!

So many of Vibrant Ireland’s readers love vintage, unique, local & handmade items. And you love a bargain! You’ll love this:


The Sligo Flea returns to The Model on February 22nd for its Spring market.


After a popular series of Christmas markets, The Model arts centre once again plays host to 15 stalls of French baking, local crafts and illustrators, craftspeople, bric-a-brac, collectible vinyl, costume jewelry and vintage clothing.

The market will be open to the public between 12-5pm, there is free Wi-Fi in the building, and after an afternoon of browsing and buying, visitors can unwind at The Model café located in the bright central atrium of The Model.

You can follow the activity of the Sligo Flea, live updates and all the latest news, on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and by following the hashtag #SligoFlea.


Sligo is a beautiful county in Ireland’s Northwest, and is a mecca for surfers as well as lovers of Yeats. I’m sorry to say I’ve not been for several years, but hope to visit again soon.  If you’d like to see more of Sligo, Val Robus has lots of  photos on her MagnumLady blog, and she has a post featuring the surfers at Mullaghmore in thew wild waves just after Storm Christine this winter. Val has also started a brand new site; Sligo-Secrets which she’ll be updating with Sligo events during the year.

PS: Click the link ahead if you’d like to see photos of Storm Christine hitting Ireland.

Enjoy Sligo!

Spring Sligo Flea Market, Ireland

Christmas Sligo flea dates


 NEW! CHRISTMAS Sligo Flea at The Model Arts Centre!

I shared with you a few months ago about the Sligo Flea Market ( see farther down the post,)  and now they’re back for Christmas & bigger than ever!

Here’s what they’ve sent me:

‘Sligo Flea Market with bells on this Christmas at The Model!’


The Sligo Flea Market is back at The Model with bells on! For our Christmas markets on Saturday November 23rd, December 14th and 21st, we’re going to be TWICE the size, that means DOUBLE the stalls, and twice the choice! Want a one of a kind vintage dress for the office party? How about some vintage costume jewellery for the ladies in your life – or perhaps your fella collects vinyl! We’ve got your back! sligo flea vinyl

We’re going all festive,so as well as the usual favourites – vintage and pre-loved clothing, retro bric a brac, bohemian gifts and upcycled jewellery, our fabulous stallholders will be selling handcrafted Christmas decorations, artisan children’s toys, and retro bakes that will take you back to the Christmas’ of your own childhood!  

Joining us in December will be the designers from The Mall Studio, selling a range of exclusive illustrations, suitable for that special Christmas gift.

After you’ve made that list (and checked it twice!), put your feet up at our dedicated ‘Pamper Parlour’, and get a retro updo! After all that, unwind in the reopened The Model Café with its selection of cakes, teas and coffee.
Sligo Flea

Squee!! At the Sligo Flea 🙂

 Sligo is one gorgeous county, & as well as being closely associated with Yeats,  it is also home to  So Sligo food & Culture Festival in May, The Model Arts Centre, & lots more. I have a big love for Ireland’s northwest, and would encourage everyone to go spend some time in this unhurried, less touristy corner of Ireland. When I was sent  information on this Curated Flea Market held at The Model Arts Centre, I thought I’d share it with you– another reason to be tempted to Sligo!


Vinyl, vintage and good vibes all to be found this June at the Sligo Flea Market

Sligo’s one and only flea market makes a return to The Model arts centre on Saturday June 22nd, from 12-5pm. This curated flea market seeks to bring a pop-up boutique experience to visitors for the afternoon.
There will be tables and rails of colourful and wonderful vintage clothing and accessories, from all eras, for all tastes, shapes and sizes. Faughts Records, purveyors of rare and exclusive vinyl will be making a welcome return to The Model on the day.
Bohemian gifts, bric a brac, local crafts, and beautiful illustrations will be available for purchase in the elegant and spacious setting of The Model arts centre. 
Come along and see an alternative side to Sligo! Enjoy the atmosphere, have a browse, and enjoy a coffee at Slice Cafe. All in your own time! Don’t miss out!
Follow us on twitter and instagram @sligoflea,

Will you go to the Sligo Flea Market??  Tweet me @VibrantIreland photos of  your finds! 🙂


This week’s Sunday sampler is making me quite jealous of the folks who will get to go to these wonderful events, as barring a lotto win & bi or tri-location, we can’t go to everything!  Maybe those of you who do get to go will share what you enjoyed- perhaps over on our Facebook page? That would be really nice of you!
Burren wildflowers image from Google images:
One of our favorite places in Ireland is the Burren. If you need an excuse to go there, here you go: the Burren in Bloom festival on 29 April-29 May. There is so much on; something for everyone. I know I’d love to go on the butterfly walk- meeting near the fabulous sounding Burren Perfumery makes it even more tempting! Click on their link as well to see some of the Burren wildflowers you may encounter on the walks. Also the Burren Slow Food Festival week 2011 starts on May 14; they have events on for the Burren In Bloom festival foodie!


Another foodie-friendly event is on in just a few weeks time: the So Sligo Food and Culture Festival on 17-20 March. They are also hosting the World Irish Stew championships- YUM!- and you can work up an appetite with walking trails in town, or treks out in the spectacular countryside. Check Sligo’s lovely tourist website for more info. If you are interested in art even a little bit, you may want to check out The Model Arts Centre. They’ve a exhibit of Jack B. Yeats’ works on (Irish Times article here,) and I am very tempted to go to this festival & see the exhibit while we are there. I also want to eat at Source Sligo, whom I’m following on Twitter- their lunch menu tweets sound fab! The problem is that in my neck of the woods (Southeast Ireland) the St. Patricks Day Festival‘s national Skyfest fireworks are being held in Wexford town on March 19.

Skyfest fireworks last year in Limerick

As mentioned above, the Paddy’s Day Festival is going to be bigger than ever, and will run from the 16-20 March. There are a lot of literary connections in the fest, and you can down load Roddy Doyle’s new short story on their website, so do click their link above! Dublin is the UNESCO City of Literature 2011; click that link to see even more -whew!- literary events this year- some outside of Dublin.

One more bookish event in this week’s Sampler: starting on 2 March & running until Sunday the 6th, is the Dublin Book Festival. Whether you are a writer, a reader, or a publisher, there’s something for you- there are even walks on Sunday! Be sure to click on all the tabs & dropdown tabs on the website, because there’s loads going on & you don’t want to miss all the choices.Another writer’s event I’ve just found out about is the Waterford Writer’s weekend, 18-20 March. Click their link for more info, & have a look right here at their fun promo video!

Now, here are a few quick links to some other events that look interesting: 

image from
Great for kids (even over-grown ones like myself!) Crafted Creatures. Part of the Year Of Craft, at The Ark, 19 Feb-27 March, DublinBarrow River Arts Festival 4-6 March, Carlow (previous post including it here)

Vintage Fair 17 April, Dublin

Waterford Festival of Food, Dungarvan, 15-17 April

Vantastival, 29 April- 1 May, Louth

And last but not least; Tedfest, 24-27 Feb on Inis Mor. FYI if you’ve not booked accomodation yet, you’ll have to camp.
Have Fun & Be Careful!