Old photograph Sligo Lough Gill

Old postcard from Sligo

The photograph on the postcard depicts rowing boats and the salmon weir on the Garavogue River with the Calry Church on The Mall in the background.

Edwardian friends G.B. and Harry on a visit to Sligo on the 30th July 1907 took a rowing boat out on the Garavogue River.

Later that day they sent a witty postcard to friends, it reads:

This view is where I sculled Harry up the lake, we were both nearly drowned in 10 inches of water.

Edwardian Sligo Postcard
Old Edwardian postcard sent from Sligo in 1907

Taking rowing boats out was a popular tourist attraction in Sligo, either rowing yourself or hiring a boatman to take you up the lake. Also, a large pleasure boat ferried passengers from Buckley’s Ford which was at the entrance to Colonel Wood-Martin’s Cleveragh estate now Doorly Park up Lough Gill to Hazelwood and to the islands.

Old Sligo Lough Gill photograph
Rowing boats on Lough Gill, Sligo in the 19th Century – Lawrence Collection NLI (1860 to 1914)

At the height of the Victorian age, William Whittaker Barry, an English Barrister, on a walking holiday around Ireland visited Sligo in 1865. Barry had this to say about the local tourist attractions:

Friday, September 1st, 1865:

This morning I joined a party of two Irish gentlemen and a Scotchman, in an excursion on Lough Gill. We hired a boat from two boatmen usually employed by persons staying at the Imperial (hotel), and started from the river close near, which, after two miles and a half, flows into the lake. Before leaving the river we stopped at Hazelwood Park, the residence of Mr. Wynne. We walked through the grounds and kitchen and other gardens. These are tastefully laid out. There are some fine trees about the grounds… There are no seats about. This is a great defect. There was one grotto prettily laid out, and another with seats of Irish bog-wood, and a pavement of small stones, intersected by horses’ teeth. 


The mansion is built of a kind of granite found in the neighbourhood. There is a fine view from the house through an avenue to the lake, beyond which there is a river leading up to Drumahaire. It was rather rough on the water, more so than I should have thought possible on a lake. We then returned and landed at a place called Dooney Rock, from which we ascended to the table-land above. From here a most charming and delightful view is obtained of the whole of Lough Gill and the islands in its midst, consisting principally of Cottage island and the largest, and Church island in the centre. …the view was almost equal to Killarney…


Old Sligo photograph of Lough gill at Hazelwood
Boatman on Lough Gill at the Hazelwood estate – Lawrence Collection NLI (1860 to 1914)



Postcard – Ebay.ie

Photographs: National Library of Ireland, Robert French, Lawrence Collection < http://catalogue.nli.ie >

William Whittaker Barry, A walking tour round Ireland in 1865. By an Englishman (London, 1867)


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