Poetry in Sligo

By 26th September 2016Travel

Poetry in Sligo

I went off to Sligo for the day with the intention of enjoying the beaches there and then heading up to Mullaghmore which is supposed to be the capital for surfers which means huge waves, just thought I wouldn’t mind watching these guys.


Pic borrowed from Stradbrook.com

I stopped off on the way at Strandhill beach which is part of the Wild Atlantic Way and is another beautiful beach, it was a bit of a dull day though so far, so I didn’t stay long, I had my lunch on the beach and moved on toward Mullaghmore, stopping at W B Yeats’s grave on the way.


Drumcliff, a beautiful church stands beneath the mountain Benbulbin which apparently was Yeats’s favourite mountain, hence also his final resting place.  I met a lovely lady from Belgium who had been over to Ireland 10 times and was thinking of moving here as she loved it so much, she was a poet and writer also and had a huge interest in W B Yeats.


I have to say I wasn’t very good at English Literature in school but then I wasn’t very good at much, it’s only after leaving school and especially during my travels that I am developing more interest in history, geography, geology and now poetry.  There is a sculpture of Yeats just outside the church under the big yew tree with one of his poems etched into the ground beneath the squatting poet.


He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven by William Butler Yeats

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams


William Butler Yeats is considered to be one of the greatest poets of the 20th century.  He was born in Ireland and was very proud to call himself Irish, he lived in London for a short time during his life but when he came back to Ireland he focused most of his poems on Irish legends, Irish people and the wonderful countryside surrounding him.  He especially loved Benbulbin, the largest mountain in Co Sligo and wrote a very long poem about it which I won’t quote here.  If anyone wants to read it, it can be found on many poetry sites online.


Whenever I go to a place, I try to find out more about it so I have been reading poetry since I came back, lol, anyway I’m no poetry aficianado but there is one poem of his that I really like because I can imagine myself in it.

 The Lake Isle Of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

 I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

 I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.


pic borrowed from Sligotours

I really feel like I know what he means in this poem, Ireland has really captured my heart and soul in many ways.  I feel at home here, not sure why, maybe it’s the diversity of all things natural, the wonderful seashores with crashing waves, the high cliffs, beaches, mountains, general windswept, rugged landscape, it’s just wild and wonderful and I love it.  And I can just see myself living on his island with just the bees for company! Happy days!