In Pennsylvania’s Clarion County, there is a borough called Sligo, named by its early residents after County Sligo and the town of Sligo in Ireland.
The name Sligo comes from the Irish Sligeach, which means "abounding in shells" or "shelly place," likely a reference to the shellfish found in the Garravogue River and its estuary.
Sligo, Pennsylvania was officially organized in 1878 but settled 50 years earlier in 1828. The names of the first Sligo families included Lyon, Reynolds, Coulter, Craig and McAuley, indicating a Scots-Irish influence.
A brief history of the town written in 1887 recounts that the first oil furnace was built in 1845, the first Western Union Telegraph office was established in 1860, and in 1873 the Sligo Branch Railroad was built.
It concludes, “As a rule, the citizens of the town are industrious and intelligent, and much more attention is given to education than was formerly done. The town is pleasantly located on the Licking Creek, and embraces quite a large area. Its possibilities are good for a first class town.”
By 1880, Sligo had a population of 543. The greatest leap occurred between 1900 and 1910, when the number of residents jumped from 505 to 754. Sligo reached its peak population in the 1940 Census, with 948 residents. As of the 2010 Census, there were 720 people living in Sligo.
Despite the relatively small population, there is a demonstrated interest in Sligo’s history and culture. A Facebook page dedicated to historic photos of Sligo, PA has almost 600 fans.
The town has embraced its Irish connection. Its welcome sign features a cute leprechaun waving out of an upturned top hat, and the slogan is “A Touch O’ Ireland.” Its street names harken back to its Irish roots, with Shamrock Drive, Tyrone Street, Coleraine Street and Lyon Street.
If you live in or know of a city, town, or even a street with a distinctly Irish name and history, let us know in the comment section! There's so much Irish influence to be explored.