History & Heritage Ballinafad Sligo

Ballinafad is situated about 20 miles southeast of Sligo Town. A picturesque village at the foot of the Curlew Mountains it lies on the shore of Lough Arrow. There is a small castle of the Curlieus which can be found in the village. One of the few limestone lakes in Connaught, measuring 3,123 acres, Lough Arrow contains four main islands named Anaghgonda, Inismore, Inisbeg and Much Island.


Known as the Castle of the Curlews, this castle was built around 1Ballinafad castle sligo590 to protect the pass over the Curlew Hills. It was garrisoned by a Constable and ten wardens from 1610 to 1626 and, after a stout resistance, had to surrender in 1641 due to lack of water.

The plan of the castle is modelled on those of 13th century castles, with a small central square block dwarfed by four massive towers at the corners which are round outside and square inside.

Ballinafad Castle is located on the edge of the village of Ballinafad, just off the main Dublin to Sligo road. It was built at the time of the plantations in the later 16th century, but resembles a 13th century castle rather than the type of castles that were usually built at the time of the plantations.


Hollybrook House 1938

Located on the banks of Lough Arrow



Carrowkeel cemetery

Carrowkeel is situated close to here and it is amazing to think that it pre-dates the pyramids of Egypt.


Carrowkeel is a beautifully situated megalithic hill top passage tomb cemetery, Consisting of 14 passage cairns identified with letters, most of the cairns are round in shape except cairn E, which is a long oval shape and consists of a Court tomb forecourt and cruciform passage grave. If you climb up from the top car-park the first tomb you will see is Cairn G shown above, this is a classic irish passage tomb, consisting of a short passage leading to a central chamber with three equally spaced side chambers. But the most interesting feature of this tomb is the roofbox situated above the entrance the only other known roofbox is the one at Newgrange, but unlike Newgrange this one is aligned to the midsummer sunset.