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 1895, was originally part of the Belfast bank, called the Royal Bank of Ireland. After Irish independence, it became the Allied Irish Bank, who donated the building to the Yeats Society in 1973.

Sligo Garavogue Salmon Weir
Victoria Bridge and the Belfast bank building in Sligo circa 1900’s from the Lawrence Collection

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

Sligo Garavogue River and yeats building
Hyde bridge, Garaovogue river with Yeats building and the Glasshouse hotel


This is still one of the main road bridges used today in Sligo Town. The bridge is made of cut limestone and has a five 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. The original weir was used to supply water to the Jackson flour mill which was located on the site of the Glasshouse hotel.


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

Now:  Toffs/Lola’s Nightclub and Embassy Bar & Grill Restaurant on Kennedy Parade

Kennedy Parade - Embassy Toffs
Today the building is Toffs/Lola’s nightclub and the Embassy bar.


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 three-storey building in the photo, are now Toffs/Lola’s nightclub.

The main three-storey seven bay window building was the Imperial Hotel, it is 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 six window arches on the ground floor.  In the old photo, the building is rendered with plaster all over.  It is only in the last ten years, the current building owners renovated it to reveal the original brickwork around the arches. When this building was originally built in the late eighteenth century it was a Linen Hall.  As this photo of the building circa 2000 shows the original plasterwork is still intact.

Imperial Hotel Sligo Embassy
Embassy Nightclub

Image 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, up to the junction of Bridge Street and the bridge. It was renamed John F. Kennedy parade in the late 1960’s.


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

Sligo Court House Lawrence Collection
Gothic architecture of the Sligo Court House from 1879

Now: Sligo Court House on Teeling Street

Sligo Court House and Antiques shop

Sligo court house Garda station

The gothic style architecture of the Sligo Court House built in 1879. The street has been renamed from Albert street to Teeling street.


Then: Wood’s Store, Castle Street circa 1910

Old sligo street
Edwardian streets of Sligo in 1910

The Woods hardware storefront in 1910, Woods store remained in business up to 2008 in Sligo.  Irish department store Heatons now occupy the building on Castle Street.

Now: Heatons department store, Castle Street, Sligo

Castle Street 2011

Castle Street has improved since the google car last drove through Sligo with most of the shops now occupied.

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

Sligo's statue of liberty
Lady of Erin statue erected to commemorate the centenary of the 1798 Irish Rebellion.


Now: Lady of Erin Statue, Market Street, Sligo 

Lady Erin Statue 2011

Now: Lady of Erin Statue, Market Street, Sligo 

Sligo liberty statue
Lady of Erin statue

The Lady of Erin statue was erected in honour of the 1898 centenary commemoration of the 1798 Rebellion.

It’s great to see the latest re-development on Market Street, has helped improve the appearance of the street 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.  I’ve always liked 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. I think with the guard rails around it again, it would act as a deterrent, well that and a few well-placed spikes!


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

Weir Garavogue River
Sligo weir on the Garavogue river from the National Library Lawrence collection

Now: Sligo Weir on the Garavogue River 

Sligo Weir Garavogue River
Weir on the Garavogue River

In the early 1900’s, water from the Garavogue river is diverted for a mill in the old photo. Today,  where the Garavogue bar and restaurant is sited they have created a replica of a nineteenth-century mill wheel.

Sligo garavogue bar replica mill wheel



Image sources:

National Library of Ireland –

Google street view –

Irish Showbands

Author’s own


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