We decided to visit Sligo folk Park in Riverstown ( https://sligofolkpark.com ) which has gone recently through some major renovations and improvements . Having parked the car in the car park, we walked to the main reception building which has recently gone through an amazing transformation.
The beautiful wall murals in the lobby prepares you on what to expect within the park, a trip down memory lane. At the reception, we paid the entrance fee and received a handheld guide unit which guides you through the many displays and provide you with insight in the many items on display.
First stop was Shop Street, a nicely reconstructed shopping (village) street with goods displayed in the many shop windows of times gone by. From the Creamery store to the Riverbrooke Inn , it was very interesting to see all the products on display.
From shop street, we made our way over to the McGee building where old trades were on display. Historic videos educated us on how baskets or bee skeps were manufactured. Another video showcased how butter was churned in the old days, with churns on display right beside it. Further displays brought us closer to life in rural Ireland where travelling shops would have provided food to the many people living remotely in the countryside.
Tractors and farm machinery educated us on how life on the farm would have been back in the 1900s.
Nest stop was Mrs Buckley's tatched cottage, a 2 room cottage which would have been a common sight in rural Ireland. Life in these cottages would have been tough at times, sometimes providing home to families of 10 which were entirely dependant on the produce they grew in their own gardens.
Food was cooked above an open fire, light was provided by oil lamps where running water came from a well outside,...
Where the inside of these cottages would have had the bare minimum of furniture, smart furniture design would have allowed for multi-functional rooms which were necessary to provide accommodation to large families. For example, the bench located in the main living quarter doubled up as a bed and would be folded open to provide another bed when required.
Next stop was Irwin House where you can admire the old classroom, with slates on the desks and authentic maps on the walls. There is also a display on electrification of rural Ireland.
Just around the corner is Millview House which was built in 1873 by George Reid, a farmer, shoemaker and the local church sexton. The old farmhouse provides a great insight in a typical farmhouse of the period allowing you to walk around the entire house discovering each of the rooms which are all lovingly restored.
Downstairs, you can walk through the kitchen, washroom, music room, dining room and hobby room. Upstairs are the bedrooms and wash room.
Riverstown had a local creamery, and many of the artefacts on display in the Dairy House were used in the local creamery. Creameries were a lifeline in rural communities, and many farmers would queue early in the morning to deliver their farm's milk to the creamery. In the Dairy house, we admired the old milking machines, the pasteurisers, the churns, ...
The boys were intrigued in the cows head hanging on the wall, just asking if it was once a real cow or a brilliant made replica? Guess it is for you to find out when you visit Sligo Folk Park.
Next stop was the blacksmith's forge where all tools and equipment is available to repair and fabricate products. Walking through the grounds, we watched the chickens run around, we had a look at the Sligo to Limerick train carriage and took a quick gawk in then "repair" shed where many items are awaiting to be restored.
If you are interested, you can sponsor one of the items awaiting repair and see it lovingly being restored to its former glory.
Within the main Reception building, there is also a religious artefacts and military exhibition. The boys were especially intrigued by the military artefacts, especially the guns and gas masks.
All we can say is that Sligo folk Park is a must visit tourist attraction in County Sligo, one which will be enjoyed by young and old.