Last summer after our Cork trip we spent a few days staying in Sligo with Granny. We decided to continue the holiday vibe and visit some tourist attractions. One unlikely hit was the Arigna Mining Experience in Co. Roscommon, 40km from Sligo Town.
Arigna was a working mine until 1990, and the tour of the mine explains how it worked. You can see exactly how the coal was extracted and the working conditions for the miners. It’s a real eye-opener and very difficult to imagine still working in those conditions in such recent times.
Health and Safety dictates that visitors must wear hard hats and hairnets, but it really adds to the atmosphere getting dressed up to go down the mine.
Access to the mine is only by guided tour, and we were very lucky to have a man who had actually worked the mines as our tour guide. His telling of his own experience was fascinating and he was very generous with his time when we asked (many) questions.
Tours run every 30 minutes or so, and you can wait in the interpretative area or the small café.
It’s suitable for all ages, our kids were aged between four and eight and all were interested in the tour and asked questions as were their parents and granny.
The tour lasts about 50 minutes.
What’s to See and Do?
Apart from the tour of the mine there’s a small interpretative area outside where the kids spent a while listening to audio recordings of local people talking about the mines.
What’s the best bit?
The simulated explosion to show how coal was extracted from the seams was deemed pretty cool by our party, as was the demo of the coal carts.
Where is it?
It’s 40 km from Sligo or 18km from Carrick-on-Shannon, in a beautifully scenic part of County Roscommon.
Entry is €10 per adult and €6 for the first child. There are a variety of family tickets available, for example 2 adults and 2 children is €28. We weren’t charged for our 4 year old.
What if it’s raining?
It’s all indoors so a perfect rainy day activity.
Is it buggy/wheelchair friendly?
Anything else we need to know?
The ground is wet, and the tour is on relatively flat ground so while you don’t need any special footwear my white runners got pretty black. It’s also cold underground so make sure to have at least a hoody with you. There’s no very restricted spaces but there is one point where the lights are turned out (for a reenactment of an explosion to show how the coal was extracted, definitely a highlight of the tour.)
There’s a small café on site that serves soup, sandwiches, chicken goujons and chips, teas, coffees and cake and there are picnic tables outside.
Bring a hoody and don’t wear white shoes.
Need more info?
Their website is https://www.arignaminingexperience.ie