The Drumcliffe area of Sligo has long been associated with the Colmcille story due to the Battle of the Books having occurred in the area and the tradition that the monastery there was founded by the saint following his return from exile in Iona. Please click on the individual tabs below to learn more about the history and attractions of this area, which is rich in social, cultural, natural, and built heritage.

See full screen

Cooldrumman Battlefield

The Battle of Cúl Dreimhne (Cooldrumman), more popularly referred to as the “Battle of the Books”, took place in or about 560CE on the lower slopes of Benbulben, near present day Drumcliffe, County Sligo. Associated in legend with the High King’s … Read More

Drumcliffe Estuary

A fearsat, or strand pass, is a manmade route across a body of water easily passable at low tide. They were constructed by overlaying branches, bushes, stones, seaweed, and wood to create a raised causeway. From ancient times, and up … Read More

Drumcliffe and William Butler Yeats

Irish poet and Nobel Laureate William Butler Yeats, whose had close associations with Sligo, chose the peaceful churchyard at Drumcliffe, where his great grandfather was once rector, as his final resting place. Following his death in France in 1939, and due to … Read More

Drumcliffe Monastery – Rev. Stella Durand

St. Columba (Colmcille) founded the monastery at Drumcliffe in the year 575CE. He travelled over to Ireland from Iona with the intention of attending the Synod of Drumceatt, where the agenda included the banishment of the poets of Ireland, and … Read More

St. Columba’s (Drumcliffe) Church

St. Columba’s Church, Drumcliffe (Drumcliff) stands on the site of the monastery said to have been founded in 574CE by St. Colmcille (Columba), reputedly in atonement for the Battle of the Books which occurred nearby at Cooldrumman (Cúl Dreimhne) in … Read More

St. Colmcille’s (Rathcormac) Church

Built on the site of an earlier church, Rathcormac Roman Catholic Church is dedicated to St. Colmcille (Columba), founder of nearby Drumcliffe monastery in the 6th century. The present church was built in 1833 with contributions from local residents, including … Read More

Rathcormac Village

The village of Rathcormac (Rathcormcack) is dominated by the limestone cliffs of Benbulben and King’s Mountain, part of the Dartry Mountain range. More than 320 million years old, the range is home to a variety of alpine plants including some … Read More

Colmcille’s Well, Doonierin

Located on the seabed at Doonierin, just off the southern shoreline of Drumcliff Estuary, is St. Colmcille’s Well, named for the saint associated with Drumcliffe Monastery which was located nearby. One of several such holy wells in the locality, this … Read More

Countess Markievicz Statue

Located in Rathcormac park is a statue of Countess Constance Markievicz (1868-1927), Irish nationalist, suffragette, politician, and champion of the poor. Born Constance Gore-Booth, the daughter of local land owner Sir Henry Gore-Booth, she spent her childhood living in nearby Lissadell House, … Read More

Coolbeg Wedge Tomb

Megalithic tomb known locally as the ‘Giants Grave’

At the end of a short trail (at the rear of Yeats’ Tavern carpark), on privately owned land, is Coolbeg wedge tomb, a National Monument known locally as the ‘Giants Grave’. Dating from approximately 3,000-4,000 years ago, the tomb consists … Read More

Possible Boulder Burial Stones, Kintogher

Four possible boulder burial stones were identified on a north-facing slope west of the village in Kintogher townland in 2008 by archaeologist Faith Bailey. Possibly dating to the middle to late Bronze Age, boulder burials consist of megalithic size stones … Read More

Rathcormac Fort

Situated on private land on a ridgeline overlooking Rathcormac is a large rath from which the village takes its name. Local folklore links this ringfort (ráth) to Cormac, a descendent of the legendary lovers Diarmuid and Gráinne who are associated … Read More