Streets of Sligo then-and-now archive photos

Inspired by a post on the Daily Edge, I’ve taken several old photographs of Sligo street scenes from the National Library of Ireland’s archive, and matched them with the same scenes today thanks to Google Street View.


Then: Queen Victoria Bridge and the Belfast Banking – Royal Bank of Ireland building, Lower Knox, Street, Sligo

Victoria bridge over the Garavogue river, which was built in 1846 by the local architect and engineer Sir John Benson, it was originally dedicated and called after Queen Victoria but was renamed in honour of Ireland’s first President Dr Douglas Hyde.

The Yeats Memorial building built in about 1895, was originally  part of Belfast bank, called the Royal Bank of Ireland, which later become Allied Irish Bank, who donated it to the Yeats Society in 1973.

Hyde Bridge Sligo
Hyde Bridge and Yeats Memorial Building, Sligo

Source: National Library of Ireland on the Commons

Now: Douglas Hyde Bridge and Yeats Memorial building, Lower Knox, Street, Sligo

Hyde Bridge Sligo Now
Hyde Bridge Sligo Now

This is still one of the main road bridges used today in Sligo Town, the bridge is made of cut limestone and has a 5 archway design, the last bridge archway is now partially obscured by the footbridge leading across to the Glasshouse hotel.  The river rapids can still be as high as the original photo  but it depends on the tide, weather and season, also there was originally a weir on the other side of the bridge to supply water to a flour mill.


Then: Walsh’s Royal Mail and Day Car office and Imperial Hotel on Corkran’s Mall (Corcoran Mall)

Victorian tourists pictured on Corkran’s Mall on Walsh’s horse drawn car service. Walsh’s car service went daily from Ballina, Sligo, Bundoran, Ballyshannon and Enniskillen.

Walsh's Horse drawn Coach service Sligo
Walsh Coach business on Corkran’s Mall, Sligo

Source: National Library of Ireland on the Commons

Now:  Toffs Nightclub and Embassy Bar & Grill Restaurant on Kennedy Parade

Kennedy Parade - Embassy Toffs


Walsh’s horse drawn car service and the Imperial hotel are no more but the businesses that replaced them are in the same entertainment and hospitality industry.  Walsh’s office, the smaller 3 storey building in the photo, are now Toffs nightclub.

The main 3 storey 7 bay window building was the Imperial Hotel, its now the Embassy bar and restaurant.  The stable’s cart entrance in the old photo is now the entrance to the Embassy bar.

The main yellow building is still recognisable with its distinct 6 window arches on the ground floor.  In the old photo the building is rendered with plaster all over.  It is only in the last 10 years, the current building owners renovated it to reveal the original brickwork around the arches, when this building was originally built in the late 18th century it was a Linen Hall.  As this photo of the building circa 2000 shows the original plaster work is still intact.

Imperial Hotel Sligo Embassy
Embassy Nightclub

Source: Irish Showbands

This stretch of road was originally called Corkran’s Mall after a local merchant and builder.   It runs along the east side of the Garavogue river, to the back of the Abbey monastery and ruins up to Bridge Street and the bridge. It was renamed John F. Kennedy parade in the late 1960’s.


Then: Sligo Court House, Teeling Street – Photo circa: 1879

Gothic architecture Sligo Court

Source: National Library of Ireland on the Commons

Now: Sligo Court House on Teeling Street, circa 2011

Sligo Court House and Antiques shop

Sligo court house Garda station

The Gothic style architect of Sligo Court House.


Then: Wood’s Store, Castle Street circa 1910

Castle Street 1910

Source: National Library of Ireland on the Commons

The Wood’s hardware store front in 1910, Wood’s remained in business upto 2008 in Sligo.

Irish department store Heatons now occupy the building on Castle Street.

Now: Heatons department store, Castle Street, Sligo, 2011

Castle Street 2011

Castle street has improved since the google car last drove through Sligo in 2011, most of the shops are now occupied in 2015.

 Lady of Erin Statue Sligo TownThen: Lady of Erin Statue, Market Street, Sligo – 1900s

Source: National Library of Ireland on the Commons

Now: Lady of Erin Statue, Market Street, Sligo – 2011

Lady Erin Statue 2011

Now: Lady of Erin Statue, Market Street, Sligo – 2014

Statue of Liberty, Sligo Town, Ireland
The Lady of Erin statue was erected for the 1898 centenary commemoration of the 1798 Rebellion.

It’s great to see the latest re-development on Market Street, has helped improve the streets appearance and given the Lady of Erin statue back some of its prestige, as the last few years, it looked like no more than a traffic island.  The photo below, is how I remember it, growing up in the 1980s and 1990s in Sligo with the telephone box behind it.  I’ve always loved the old photo of the Lady Erin statue and I’d love if the statue was restored like the original with the railings and street lamps.  Unfortunately, the Lady Erin monument has been vandalised several times down through the years and town drunks feeling emboldened have tried climbing it, I think with the guard rails around it again, it would act as a deterrent, well that and a few well placed spikes!

Lady Erin Statue 1990s
Photo credit: Facebook/Sligo Photographs


Then: Sligo Weir on the Garavogue River – 1900’s

Sligo Weir on Garavogue River

Source: National Library of Ireland on the Commons

Now: Sligo Weir on the Garavogue River – 2015

Sligo Weir Garavogue River

In the early 1900’s, water from the Garavogue river is diverted for a mill in the old photo.  Today, in 2015, where the Garavogue bar and restaurant is, they now have a replica of the original mill wheel.



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