Sligo’s roaring waves and bustling arts scene provides the perfect atmosphere to foster creativity. Strandhill is a particular hub given its surf-culture credentials. Ireland’s ‘Adventure Capital’ draws a dynamic mix of people escaping the city. Not content with waiting for the weekend, freelancers and professionals alike down tools when a good swell hits.
In terms of creative businesses, the largest numbers are in music, visual and performing arts, crafts, video, film and photography, design and architecture. Although fewer in number, Sligo has a strong creative technology ecosystem with lots of digital marketers, developers and designers.
Sligo’s Burgeoning Film Industry
The stunning Sligo landscape was the backdrop to two big-screen movies in 2014, John Michael McDonagh’s ‘Calvary’ starring Brendan Gleeson and Chris O’Dowd and Ken Loach’s long-awaited ‘Jimmy’s Hall’. It is of no surprise therefore that Sligo’s film industry is particularly busy with lots of small production companies and freelance film professionals.
Culture in Sligo is everywhere; it flows like blood through the lifestyle, heritage, arts and people. Whether it is the heritage of Lissadell House, the thriving arts scene at The Hawks Well Theatre, the Model arts centre or Blue Raincoat Theatre Company or the vibrant music scene evident in a pub in Sligo every night of the week.
This wonderful, thriving creative hub by the sea will be home to large-scale cultural happenings in 2015 including the return of the Fleadh Cheoil and Yeats 2015 a year-long programme celebrating the 150th anniversary of WB’s birthday.
Where To Hang Out?
There are loads of great networking events, creative get-togethers like Swell Sligo, Friday Night Social at The Model and it is alleged that there is festival somewhere in Sligo every weekend of the year.
To witness Sligo’s creative and marketing scene in action pop into Kate’s Kitchen, Lyons Cafe, Chapter’s Coffee House, The Model Café any weekday morning.
It’s the quirky things happening all around that keep you inspired: Vinyl Nights at Furey’s Pub, Supper Clubs in Shells Cafe or fancy dress surfing at Halloween.
Where to Connect:
- Swell Sligo is a network for the web, creative and start-up community in Sligo funded by Sligo LEADER Partnership. In January 2015 it will run the Swell Summit, a one-day event on Jan 31 2015 in Sligo airport inspired by the UK’s Do Lectures ideas conference.
- Rough Draft is a design conference that takes place each October. Organised by members of the local design community, the event brings inspirational stories from the county and country to the broad creative audience in Sligo.
- NW2 runs a series of regular talks and workshops for creatives at the Hawk’s Well.
- To compensate for the geographical limits, Sligo creatives are extremely virtually engaged and friendly. A quick way to connect is to join the #PositiveSligo and #SligoWhoKnew conversations.
Some Useful Resources
- LookWest.ie has lots of great info on living, working and setting-up a business in the West.
- SligoTourism.com is the go-to for what’s going on in Sligo.
- MyCreativeEdge.eu is a directory for creatives in the West.
A truncated version of this article appeared in today’s Irish Independent supplement on Sligo #SXNW, which was co-ordinated by the Storylab team Ciaran Byrne & Martha Kearns.
- Top: Tourism Ireland Imagery
- Middle: Brendan Gleeson in Calvary
- Bottom: Jane Chambers of Shells and writer Katie Winters at a Swell Sligo Supper Club