Saturday, August 1, 2009

Thoor Ballylee, Yeats summer home, Gort, Co Galway

This is a 16th Century Norman Tower dating from the 1500's built by the De Burgo family.
It was also the summer home of William Butler Yeats for which he paid the sum of £35 back in 1916, probably as it is near Coole Park the home of Lady Gregory whom Yeats admired. It took him 2 years to restore it to make it livable for himself and his wife Miss George Hyde-Lees whom he married a year after buying it. He dedicated the restored building to his wife who was half his age.
The tower was the inspiration for the collection of poems called 'The Tower' and featured Thoor Ballylee on its cover. The house fell into disrepair in 1929, after the couple moved out and was purchased and restored in 1965 as a Yeats Museum. While the Tower appealed to his aristocratic notions, Yeats apparently loved the relationship that the two parts of the building represented.
I the poet William Yeats
With old millboards and sea green slates.
And smithy work from the great forge,
Restored this tower for my wife George.
And may these characters remain
When all is ruin once again.
From across the little river
I pace upon the battlements and stare
On the foundations of a house, or where
Tree, like a sooty finger, starts from the earth;
And send imagination forth
Under the day’s declining beam, and call
Images and memories
From ruin or from ancient trees,
For I would ask a question of them all.
The Tower W.B Yeats


Hilðe said...

Wow - just WOW! Love the first picture and the inscription! :D

Paz said...

I thought so too :), nice building, a pity that it was closed when we got there.

Leisha Camden said...

That's fascinating, and wow, gorgeous pictures of a beautiful place. I hope you will be able to go back some time when it's open.

Paz said...

Again its only about 30km from where I live so I will be back there