Grange is a modern village that has expanded in recent years while still retaining its original streetscape of traditional houses, shop fronts and listed buildings. It is situated between the iconic Northern face of Benbulben and the lovely beach of Streedagh which is just 3km from the village. Streedagh is a Green Coast award winning beach, very popular with swimmers and surfers and with three km of sandy beach it is a great place for walkers. A number of surfing schools operate here during the summer months. While the waves at Streedagh are suitable for beginners, three km to the west is Lislary where the experienced surfers enjoy more challenging conditions. Streedagh beach is also the site of the shipwreck of three ships of The Spanish Armada of 1588. A memorial park stands at the entrance to the beach which gives a view of the site; there is a plaque at the park giving information to the visitor about this event.
In the village park there is a replica statue of St. Molaise of Innishmurry. The art piece in the park depicts the Bootree (elderberry) as one of the entrances to the park was known as “Bootree Lane”. With its new playground, seating area and riverside walks the park is a wonderful amenity for young and old. Failte Ireland have an information board in the park with a map of “The North West Trail” of 326km covering Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal for cycling or driving. There are several shorter tours around the area that the tourist can take, such as Gleniff Horseshoe, Mullaghmore, Benbulben and Lissadell.
The village offers a mix of restaurants, deli’s and takeaways and has two lively pubs, Lang’s and Moran’s making it an attractive stopping off point on the Wild Atlantic Way.
The Celtic Fringe Festival takes place in September and provides an eclectic mix of Irish and Spanish music and culture, centred around the Armada story. The old courthouse building will shortly be transformed into an Armada Interpretive and Visitor Centre. The other annual event in the village is the North Sligo Agricultural Show now in its sixth decade. It takes place on the holiday weekend in August. In the morning the judging of the competitions take place and in the afternoon activities include sheep shearing, a dog show, trade stands and a live band with open air dancing.
The village has both a primary and secondary school. The sports complex has indoor and outdoor soccer facilities, an outdoor running track, and a recently refurbished gym. It provides a base for a wide variety of clubs including badminton, racketball, rounders, rugby and circuit training. Sports clubs in the locality cater for all needs, tastes and ages and include Naomh Molaise Gaels GAA, North Sligo Athletics Club, and Benbulben FC Soccer Club.
Grange has many active community organisations and committees: Tidy Towns Committee, Grange and Armada Development Association, Grange Church and Parish, Grange Church Choir, Grange Hall Committee, Celtic Fringe Festival, Grange Players Drama Group, Active Age Group, various Residents’ Associations, North Sligo Agricultural Show, Community Alert, Girl Guides and Brownies. The village also has a small art studio. The many businesses in the area provide valuable employment and services and give generous support to all the voluntary clubs and charities.
Article based on information and text contributed by Patsy Barry and others.