Re-opened in 2014 following a five year closure, Lissadell is the brightest historical and cultural gem of the north-west and a must-see destination for anyone visiting Sligo or planning a trip along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Former home of the Gore-Booths, of whom the best known was Constance Gore-Booth who, as Countess Markievicz, was closely involved with the Easter Rising of 1916.
Following the sale of Lissadell to Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy in 2003, the stated aim of the new owners was 'the restoration of this national treasure as a family home open to visitors, and the regeneration of the flower and pleasure gardens'.
Remarkably soon - due to their total dedication, military planning of the work schedule and the hard physical work put in by the couple and their seven children - tthey had 'reversed the decline and neglect of the previous seventy years' and opened both the house and gardens to the public.
It is an extraordinary place, and of interest at so many levels. Its generosity of spirit strikes the visitor immediately on arrival – passing by the lovely 2 acre seashore Alpine Rockery Garden, which is easily accessible from the road, with no entrance charge.
And Eddie and Constance planned well when they placed the tea rooms so near the entrance, as it must be obvious to even the most casual visitor that sustenance will be needed ahead of any visit here, there is just so much to see.
The Tea Rooms serve wholesome country fare – quiches, scones, salads, fruit and vegetables (fresh produce comes from the Kitchen Gardens), and also oysters from their own oyster beds. As well as the tables indoors, there are seats for visitors around the courtyard – and the gift shop is well worth visiting, for Lissadell organic fruit and vegetables, their own homemade chutneys and jams, a range of French wines (by bottle or case) and many other quality gifts.
It's a wonderful place and it is a joy for all to see it open once again – if you have to choose just one visitor attraction in Ireland to visit, make it Lissadell. And allow plenty of time.