Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Trip to Gort - Thoor Ballylee

And nearing Gort a visit to Thoor Ballylee is essential. Yeats' tower stands by the bridge in a dark hollow, surrounded by trees. My last few visits have all been off season when the tower is closed and has no other visitors - the best way to experience the place.

It's a wonderful cold, bleak, lonely place and you wonder how well Yeats and Georgina survived here. I'm not sure how long they actually spent here. A great place I suppose if you wanted to write then over to Lady Gregory's for afternoon tea.

Writing about the Civil War as I am at the moment I couldn't help but quote these pieces from Meditations in time of Civil War one of the great poetic sequences from Yeats' volume The Tower which was mostly written here:

An ancient bridge, and a more ancient tower,
A farmhouse that is sheltered by its wall,
An acre of stony ground,

Where the symbolic rose can break in flower,

Old ragged elms, old thorns innumerable,

The sound of the rain or sound

Of every wind that blows;

. . .
A winding stair, a chamber arched with stone,

A grey stone fireplace with an open hearth,

A candle and written page.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A barricade of stone or of wood;

Some fourteen days of civil war;

Last night they trundled down the road

That dead young soldier in his blood:

Come build in the empty house of the stare.

1 comment:

Aoife.Troxel said...

Thoor Ballylee is indeed a wonderful place, and I for one have never visited it in season, though I want to. I think the presence of other people rather ruins the experience.