European Literary Trails: Study  Abroad  Program
Director: Professor Jolanta W. Wawrzycka

Coole Park

Back to Sligo  Yeats' Tour 1  Yeats' Tour 2

One of the great literary attractions in the West of Ireland is County Sligo, with Sligo town at its heart.  This page offers an overview of the Yeats' sites that my students visit every year--be sure to explore the "Yeats Tour Day 1" as well.

Yeats Tour "Day 2"

Depending where we stay in Sligo, our second day of Yeats Tour begins either with a drive through the Gleniff Horseshoe Valley or at the Rosses Point.

The north-facing Gleniff Horseshoe Valley is a beautifully austere, scarcely populated valley with about 25 residents now, (compared to at least 100 people in the 1800s). The mines once sustained a whole community here--entrances to the mines are still visible. The valley hosts some rare Alpine flora, but, most importantly, there is a cave called Diarmuid and Gráinne's bed, "the legendary lovers' final resting place" (Discover Sligo Brochure), pictured on the left.

One of the few households in the valley featured  this sign Day two..  Only after we saw a film "The Field" later that night at the house of our Discover Sligo hosts, Keith and Debbie, did we understand the IMPORT of its message. Well, you've been forewarned!

 On the left of the first photograph--and in the middle of the second--there are black spots: click for enlargement to view the entrances to the old mines that once supported the inhabitants of Gleniff Horseshoe Valley.
 The lovers' cave  with the dark entrance to the Diarmuid and Gráinne's bed.
  Directly under the cave there are the ruins of the old school--a proof of once a vibrant community.
A picturesque drive along the coast takes us to Rosses Point 104_0409 , mentioned in Yeats' poem, "The Stolen Child:" Far off to farthest Rosses we foot it all the night"... 
        Right in the middle of this photo, framed    by woods, is a gray rectangular spot: it indicates
the Lissadell House to be visited next, after a stop at the Yeats' grave
(see below)
Before we tour the Lissadell House, we stop by  Drumcliffe (or Drumcliff), to pay our respects to W. B. Yeats. Both my 2003 and 2004 students do their best to look pensive .




  104_04142003          2004
 Two attempts to capture both the Yeats's grave and Ben Bulben in the same shot: a matter of luck in terms of weather AND trimmed branches.

The final resting place of William Butler Yeats  as of 1948, nine years after his death in Roqueburn, France.  However, the final chapters of Brenda Maddox's biography, Yeats's Ghosts, cast a shadow of a doubt as to whether it is, indeed, Yeats who in buried here on...

104_0421 My favourite sight during Study Abroad programs--students plunging into books.  In this case, since we were on our way to the Lissadell House, Bliss and Lindsey didn't want be caught off guard: they were reading about the Gore-Boothe family. Lissadell was once the house of the Gore-Booth family. The Gore-Booth sisters, Eva and Constance, became famous for their political involvement in struggle for Ireland's independence. Constance, later Countess Constance Markievicz, is remembered and revered by the Irish as "The People's Countess."

104_0423   The Lissadell mansion with a view   from the "great windows open to the south."  The photo on the right looks out to the Rosses Point, with one's back to the bay windows.  Yeats frequented this house in the 1890s, admiring the young sisters and, years later, in 1933, he paid tribute to the acquaintances of his youth, in the poem "In Memory of Constance Markievicz" and their home: “The light of evening, Lissadell, great windows open to the south, two girls in silk kimonos, both beautiful, one a gazelle…”

    Glencar, a spectacular waterfall from Yeats's poem, "The Stolen Child," where the poet refers to the "wandering water" that "gushes from the hills above Glen-Car," whose pools "could scarcely bathe a star..."
104_0438104_0441 Another beautiful drive takes us to a house tucked among the hills, a house that offers this view  from its living room--a house that is a gracious home of our hosts, Keith and Debbie McNair of Discover Sligo: Thank you so much!

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