In this series of blogs, we will tell you more about the OUTPACE project from a North West of Ireland perspective. In this post we are taking a look at some of the pop culture opportunities in County Sligo.


William Butler Yeats. The famous poet and writer has a worldwide following and people come from all over the world to visit Sligo and the places they have read about in his work. The Yeat’s Society of Ireland is a must visit to find out more about the poet. Lissadell House is another place of interest, Yeats stayed here on many occasions. There’s the Yeats statue in the town, and in many of the cafes there are murals dedicated to the poet. There is a stunning drive around Yeats County, as Sligo is also known, and a chance to visit various locations mentioned in the poems. The Rose of Innisfree tour boat is a must for fans of William Butler, as the boat sails around the Lake Isle of Innisfree and Captain George recites poetry. There’s also Yeats Day, an annual celebration that takes place in the town.

Bram Stoker. Did you know about the Dracula connection with Sligo? Bram Stoker’s mother was born in the town and grew up there during the cholera epidemic. It’s said that the stories she told Bram of those times inspired him to write Dracula.  There is a Stoker Society in Sligo and the Sligo Dracula Festival has been held on a number of occasions. There are information signs in various locations of interest throughout the town. There is also a Dracula Walking Tour where you hear more about the cholera epidemic and the destruction it caused the town, you can also see various locations associated with the Stoker family.

Spike Milligan. Another little-known fact is that Spike Milligan’s father and grandfather came from Sligo town.  The Bright Side of Life Festival was held on several occasions, and celebrated all things connected to Spike, including music, comedy, art, and more. There is a plaque on the building where Spike’s family lived and there is a Spike Milligan library in the Hearts Desire Café.


Westlife have been described as the Ireland’s answer to The Beatles. From small steps in Sligo, they quickly conquered the world and became the biggest boy band to come out of Ireland.

Fans travel from Europe and beyond to see landmarks associated with the band. There has been a lot of talk about creating a mecca for Westlife fans in Sligo and also talk of a museum:

Although the museum hasn’t happened yet there is a Westlife mural in the town and there is “The Footprints of Westlife in Sligo” Tour which is a walking tour created by a Sligo local.

Fans will visit pubs they played gigs in, the school where they used to go to school, the theatre where they first performed and more.

Michael Coleman was a legendary fiddle player born in South Sligo in 1891. He died in 1945  and remains universally acclaimed as one of the finest traditional fiddle players of his era. The Coleman Music Centre is located in Gurteen, Co. Sligo – where Michael Coleman was born. The centre celebrates Michael’s life and draws together the many strands of south Sligo’s rich musical heritage. The Coleman Music Centre was founded with the aim to preserve, promote and foster Irish traditional music, culture, heritage, the Irish language and to generate socio-economic activity in the local area. There are a regular shows and classes that take place in the centre, as well as a shop and an exhibition.

Film and Television

Normal People, television series Based on the best-selling book by Sally Rooney. Starring Daisy Edgar Jones (‘War of the Worlds’, ‘Cold Feet’) as Marianne who has an on/off relationship with actor Paul Mescal, who features in his first television role as Connell. Over 370,000 people tuned in to watch Normal People and The Irish Examiner reported that the TV series gave Sligo a boost:

It’s expected that many people will be visiting the county and all the stunning locations they saw on screen. The town of Tubbercurry has a billboard up mentioning the show, one of the local shops in selling memorabilia, and you can even take a virtual tour of the pub:

The Secret Scripture was filmed in 2016 across various locations in Ireland. Although the film didn’t get quite the great reviews it hoped to, the book is still rated as one of the best Sebastian Barry has ever written. Fans of the book and film can even stay in the asylum that Roseanne McNulty was incarcerated in as it is now a hotel:

Sligo Walking Tours take fans on The Sligo Secret Scripture tour, which is a local history and literary tour based in Sligo town. The tour takes you back to Sligo from the turn of the twentieth century to 1930s from the viewpoint of the semi-fictional family.

If you’d like to find out more about the Outpace project, there is a free resource pack over on the OUTPACE website which looks at the significance of pop culture tourism, and how to harness the power of it.  

If you’d like to find out more about the Outpace project, there is a free resource pack over on the OUTPACE website which looks at the significance of pop culture tourism, and how to harness the power of it.