On a beautiful, sunny, September Wednesday morning we headed by bus to Sligo Abbey. We were greeted by our fantastic guide Emma who told us the history of Sligo Abbey from its foundation in 1253 to the current day. Emma described the changes to the layout of the Abbey as it evolved over time and she explained in detail the symbolic carvings visible on the side and high altars. We heard about the daily life of the friars from their prayer routines, to their food, their sleeping arrangements and the outbreak of Cholera which devastated Sligo. We noticed all the burial headstones scattered around the Abbey and we even heard about Sligo’s own “Dracula Connection!
Our next stop was Carrowmore and once again we were fortunate to have a super tour guide called Martin. Martin began in the exhibition area with a short talk about Ireland, in particular the Coolera Peninsula around five thousand years ago. He spoke of the farmers who arrived here from France who changed the way people lived in the area from hunter gathers to farmers and who began to bury their dead in the passage tombs which they constructed using boulders left from glacial times.
Martin told us stories of queens, princesses, and even a witch as we walked around the site viewing the various tombs. He entertained us with a couple of tunes on his fiddle in the large reconstructed tomb which predates Newgrange. He recommended a visit to this tomb on the 31st of October to view the sunlight streaming in that day. Although many of the tombs have been destroyed over the centuries, it is still the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland and we are lucky to have this great tourist attraction so close to our school.
We finished our day out with lunch and some play time in the playground at Mitchell Curley Park. We had a great day out!