Sligo Town Hall (co-ordinates 54.27288 -8.47638) must certainly rank as one of the most stunning buildings in Sligo Town.

The siting of Sligo Town Hall at its present location was suggested by F.M. Olpherts, agent for John Wynne of Hazelwood House, on April 10th 1861.

This was to be on the site of a Cromwellian Stone Fort which dated back to 1646 and was the last Western Garrison to surrender when William and Mary finally defeated the Jacobites in 1690. Part of these lands, which were known locally as the ‘Old Fort Plot’ was owned by Mr Owen Wynne of Hazelwood.

The lease for the building of Sligo Town Hall was signed in May 1864 and the foundation stone was laid by the then Mayor of SligoWilliam Abbott Woods on 12th October 1865

Sligo Town Hall was designed by the Dublin architect William Hague and was built by the Dublin firm OF Crowe and Brothers for the sum of £5,000. Crowe and Brothers were no strangers to Sligo Town, having just finished construction of Sligo Railway Station.

The foundation stone of Sligo Town Hall was laid by Sligo‘s Mayor William Abbott Woods in 1865, in front of a large crowd and with the band of the Sligo Rifles playing to the crowds.

The building is desribed as Italian Renaissance in style, and has a double faced frontage with dressings of Limestone and with Freestone which came from Mountcharles, County Donegal, which contrasts well with the colour of the masonry. The caps of the shafts and the spandrels of the window arches are of Portland stone.

The Harbour Commissioners had the Clock Tower erected at a cost of £975 pounds by local builder Patrick Morris. The Clock Tower afforded the Harbour Master an impressive view of the harbour so as to monitor the progress of shipping entering and leaving the harbour, whilst housing a bell provided by Council member Charles Anderson.

The bell, Anderson’s Bell as it became known, weighed 812 kg, is 1050mm in diameter and is engraved with the harp, shamrock and crown insignia and bears the inscription “Charles Anderson presents this bell to the people of his native town A.D. 1877.” The clock makers were Gillet and Johnson and the clock itself was supplied by local ironmongers Nelson Brothers, while the clock tower was built by local builder Patrick Morris.

Construction of this fine building took almost seven years to complete, being hampered from time-to-time by lack of money, mainly due to the building costs exceeding the the original contract amount by about £6,000.

Sligo Town Hall has been described as “a beautiful building”, regarded by people qualified to judge as the most graceful hall devoted to municipal purposes in Ireland. by the historian Tadhg Kilgannonby some 75 years ago.

In the Town Hall Assembly Rooms, there was, at one time, a theatre, where William Butler Yeats and his brother Jack B Yeats performed plays to enthralled audiences.

Sligo Town Hall would also have conferred The Freedom of the Borough, its greatest honour, on cardinals, bishops, professors, and on Countess Contrance Markievicz who has honoured here in 1917.

Today it is much improved, thanks to a multi-million Euro refurbishment which was completed in 2000 and which renewed the Town Hall to its former glory, thus restoring its rightful place as the civic centre of Sligo Town.

The future use of Sligo Town Hall is now guaranteed after the abolishion in May 2014 of Sligo Borough Council, with its continued use by Sligo County Council.

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