President’s Blog- Knight Out In a Castle

Hello Members,

as has been mentioned previously in the blog, Tourism is one of the cornerstones of the Sligo Chamber Vision, a vision that by 2040, 2 million visitors will be attracted annually to the Wild Atlantic Way’s outstanding Northwest coastline and to the wide variety of adventure, culture and food experiences in the region.  Important to the growth of Sligo Tourism is extending the stay of the visitor in the area for as long as possible, thus increasing the spend and spin off benefits to the overall hospitality sector.  Good accommodation and good food are essential to tourist enjoyment during their stay and we here in Sligo are fortunate to have a range of quality hotels to cater for the visitors’ needs.  I was delighted as President of Sligo Chamber to receive an invitation last week to a gala dinner and to a guided tour of one of our hotels, the recently refurbished Markree Castle.

Sited on 500 acres on rolling fields beside the River Unshin just outside Collooney, the lands at Markree were granted to Edward Cooper in 1663.  Markree Castle remained in the ownership of the Cooper family from the 17th Century until 2015 when it was purchased by the Corscadden family.  Hoteliers for three generations, the Corscaddens have invested 12 million euro in undertaking a sensitive restoration and refurbishment programme to return Markree Castle to its former glory.  Re-opened in 2017, the hotel with a choice of meeting rooms and dining rooms, also presents an option as a business destination for companies in Sligo and beyond.  Talking with our guide for the Castle tour, the engaging Les McCabe, Les was anxious to point out that Markree is very much open to school tours as well as to the casual visitor wishing to look around and explore the delightfully restored castle and gardens.  The seven-course gala dinner was preceded by musical entertainment from Sibeal Cassidy and after dinner there was an impromptu session with the ever-popular Sandy Kelly singing Johnny Cash and recalling stories from times when they sang together.  A most enjoyable evening, it was a pleasure to have been there.

We referred last week to the Chambers Ireland 2019 Awards Dinner which took place in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Dublin on Wednesday last and to Sligo Chamber having been shortlisted in the Best Marketing Category for our “Life is for Living – Life is Sligo” mini-film.  The Sligo Chamber Team CEO, Aidan, Mary Harty, Geraldine Courtney together with Past President Fiona travelled to Dublin with great hope and expectation.  Unfortunately, it was not to be Sligo’s day.  Still, we entered for the first time, we were shortlisted and we remain very proud of “Life is Sligo” and its catchy theme music which for those of you who may not know in what has been a topical week for soccer in Ireland is called “Roy Keane”. Yes, “Roy Keane”, the breakout hit of Sligo’s own Tiarnan Mc Morrow and Conor Hamilton who go under the name Brame & Hamo, and who are now living in Berlin forging a successful career making “anthemic house and gritty techno” music and who are delighted to be associated with the Sligo Chamber “Life is Sligo” mini-film, and needless to say our 200,000 hits!.

Next Monday is, of course, Easter Monday and being a Bank Holiday, the Blog will take the day off and return in two weeks.

So, Happy Easter to all our member firms and their staff.  Enjoy those Easter Eggs, I certainly will after my 46 days without chocolate!!

Until next time.

Life is for Living – #Life is Sligo


Conor Mc Carthy

President Sligo Chamber