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01/03/2012 -

‘Team work’ at the heart of Sligo Atlas Project

Co-author of the newly published and much acclaimed ‘Sligo Atlas’ Fiona Gallagher has remarked on the ‘Team nature’ of the project. ‘It’s a symbiotic relationship between the authors, editors (who are all experts at the top of their relevant historic fields), and the in-house staff who are the nuts and bolts of the entire project.’

Fiona outlined the background to the project:

‘The Sligo atlas was first conceived as long ago as 1994 when the Irish Historic town atlas project was in its early days. The project relies greatly on funding and local support, as each town is an expensive undertaking.  1994 was the year in which Sligo celebrated the 750 anniversary of the founding of the town and the building of the Castle by Maurice Fitzgerald, so it would have been an appropriate publication. However, it unfortunately didn’t materialise at that time.

A decade later, with numerous town atlases produced by the Academy, the issue of Sligo came up again, particularly as no western towns had been examined, (including Galway, which is scheduled for completion soon).  There was a large concentration of completed towns in the east and south east of the country, so therefore the Academy was anxious to re-dress this balance, and approaches were made to the Sligo Borough council in 2006 for funding, which was secured the following year.’

Fiona recalled her first encounter with co-author Marie Louise Legg:

I first met with Marie-Lou on a very wet night, (the type of rain you only get in Sligo!), in the City Hotel beside us here, just before the publication of my own book, ‘The Streets of Sligo’, and we chatted about relevant sources and local collections.  That meeting marked the beginning of a very fruitful relationship which culminated with the publication of the Atlas.’

Howard Clarke, Emeritus Professor of Medieval Socio-economic History at UCD, said the launch of the Atlas ‘is a landmark day, and exciting event and one that we have been eagerly anticipating for many weeks. I should like to pay particular tribute to Siobhán Ryan, the Heritage Officer of Sligo County Council who has been supportive throughout this project and has helped us in any way that she could. In addition Donal Tinney, the County Librarian, has been most supportive.’

Professor Clarke highlighted  the ‘special importance’ of Sligo Field Club. ‘It represents a long and continuing tradition of being aware of, and of being involved in, the history of Sligo and its region.’

‘I hope this production entertains and informs inhabitants of, and visitors to, Sligo into an indefinite future. May they enjoy more intensively the cultural heritage of the Yeats Country. May this fascicle live long in the hearts and minds of everyone who has any connection with Sligo as the capital of the north-west of the Republic, situated at the ‘shelly place’ (Sligeach) by the strategic crossing of the Garvoge River.’

Group assembling on steps of City Hall for the start of the ‘Historic Sligo Walking Tour’
- Group assembling on steps of City Hall for the start of the ‘Historic Sligo Walking Tour’


Visitors to Sligo Abbey as part of the  ‘Sligo Historic Tour’
- Visitors to Sligo Abbey as part of the  ‘Sligo Historic Tour’