Halloween in Sligo in times past

In October 1909, Robert Coulter’s on Thomas Street in Sligo town was the place to shop for all your Halloweve treats, with Nuts, Apples, Grapes, Figs, Bananas and Cakes.

Robert Coulters shop Halloween Sligo
Source: Sligo Champion 1909


Thomas Street Tadgh kilgannon Sligo
Thomas Street in Sligo circa 1911 where Robert Coulter’s shop was located – Tadhg Kilgannon Collection

In 1904 Sligonians could join the Sligo Musical Society and take part in their Samhain musical, described as a romantic Irish Cantata. It was written by Dr Annie Patterson and won first prize at the Dublin Feis Ceoil in 1902.

Samhain Musical in Sligo 1904
Source: Sligo Champion 1904



Apples for Halloween

At the monthly meeting at the Sligo District Asylum on October 20th 1906, the management committee voted to award Mrs Fox the tender for home-grown Halloween apples!

Apples Sligo District Lunatic asylum 20 Oct 1906


Halloween merrymaking leads to assault

Teenagers today are in danger of losing an eye from fireworks at Halloween but back in 1893, Michael Leonard nearly lost an eye for playing a game of knick knocking!

In October 1893, John Burrows of Armstrong Row appeared at the Sligo Borough Petty Sessions charged with assaulting Michael Leonard on October 9th.

Riverside Sligo Armstrongs Row 1890s NLI Lawrence collection

Armstrong’s Row – Riverside circa 1890’s – NLI.ie – Lawrence Collection

Leonard was on Armstrong’s Row at about 9 o’clock at night with Patrick Harte and Thomas Connolly, both of Cranmore, also John Keighron. There were another twelve individuals in the group on the street.
Leonard had a thin stick in his hand and the group were rapping at doors and warning for Halloweve (an old custom in Ireland). They ran up and down the street a couple of times.

John Burrows of Armstrong’s Row, the defendant in the case, was standing at his own door. When Leonard was running up towards the corner he came out on the street, pulled the stick from Leonard’s hand and struck him on the back, and a second time on the eye. Leonard shouted out that his eye was broken, and sat down on the doorstep, as he was getting weak. John Keighron came out of his house and took him in. He then went to Dr Whyte to have his eye dressed, and afterwards, as there was nobody there, to Dr Murray and Dr Boyers. Dr Boyers put two leeches to his eye and kept them on it for half an hour. He was not able to leave his bed and felt his head was very sore. Dr Murray was treating him. The case was adjoined for a week in order for Leonard to recover from his injuries.






Newspaper Archives – The British Library Board

Sligo Champion, October 1893

Sligo Champion, October 1904

Sligo Champion, October 1909

Sligo Champion, October 1906

Image: NLI.ie, Lawrence Collection

Image: Tadhg Kilgannon Collection

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