Day 5 2016 – Thoor Ballylee and Coole Park
Day 5 – We moved from Sligo to Ennis, but we weren’t finished with Yeats Country yet.
Along the way we visited Thoor Ballylee – a well-preserved fourteenth-century Norman tower. But it is best known because of its close association with Yeats who spent summers here with his family and wrote some of his finest poetry here.
Our guide was young and informative. There’s a large room with a short movie and a number of displays devoted to Yeats’ “Muses” – the series of mostly physically unfulfilling relationships he had with women over the years. The most celebrated is, of course, Maude Gonne, but there were several others. He lived at Thoor Ballylee with his (eventual) wife George and their children.
Yeats’ writing room.
The view from the top.
Group photo in the wild wind at the top.
Later in the day we went to Coole Park.
The Yeats’ poem “The Wild Swans at Coole” was inspired by the beauty of the swans in the turlough at Coole Park. Yeats’ home at Thoor Ballylee is just 3 miles away; he also wrote “Coole Park, 1929”, a poem that describes the park as a symbol for the revival of Irish literature.
Here is the lake and (although it’s too small to see here) there are swans on it.
The walled garden contains an autograph tree, a copper beech that is engraved with initials of many of the leading figures of the Irish Literary Revival who were personal friends of Lady Gregory.
The autographs include William Butler Yeats, Edward Martyn, George Bernard Shaw, John Millington Synge and Seán O’Casey.