W.B. Yeats' influence on travelling in Ireland

Posted by Neil Hand on the 21st of March 2016 at 16:52:32

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During living in Ireland for nearly seven month now there is one name that came across a LOT of times: W.B. Yeats.
That is mainly because I stayed in Sligo in the North West of Ireland for five month. Sligo is called ‘Yeats country’ because the poet grew up there, returned frequently and – of course – he is buried there. But also now - in Dublin - he is crossing my paths quite often because the National Museum has a special exhibition about his life and work and he is one of the names that are often used to promote Irish culture and Sligo in particular in tourism.
At first I thought ‘Well, he is just another poet’ and I decided to ignore him (as good as you can ignore something when it is present every day and everywhere you go in Sligo). That was until I discovered that I have actually read something written by him.
It was just a short text and it was at the beginning of a book that I read but it stayed in my mind and was part of my decision of wanting to come to Ireland:
There where the course is,
Delight makes all of the one mind,
The riders upon the galloping horses,
The crowd that closes in behind
At Galway Races (William Butler Yeats)
This is a part of his poem ‘At Galway Races’, which apparently is a love letter to the famous Galway horse races but continues really profound about the British suppression and the hope of Irish independence.
William Butler Yeats loved Ireland and expressed his love for the country and culture in every poem he wrote. For me Yeats was a contribution to my wonderful stay in Sligo because he made me experience County Sligo in many different but equally beautiful ways.
I wouldn’t have seen the ‘Lake Isle of Innisfree’ the same way, wouldn’t have made a trip to the stunning Glencar Waterfall or wouldn’t have climbed Knocknarea mountain without Yeats’ poems.
And I wouldn’t have stopped at Drumcliffe Churchyard and have a beautiful view of Ben Bulben mountain if I didn’t know that W.B. Yeats is buried there!
When I came to Dublin I was astonished that even here Yeats is known and loved for his work. This rounds off my personal experience of living and travelling in Ireland.
If you are passionate about literature and you do not (yet) know W.B. Yeats, you should definitely check him and his work out.
But if you are passionate about Yeats and you haven’t seen Ireland and Sligo, you should definitely come here!
There are exhibitions about Yeats in Dublin National Library, Yeats’ Memorial Building Sligo and Sligo County Museum as well as Walking trails to discover Yeats’ life and work and also ‘Yeats’ country’, Sligo.
If you are interested in travelling to Ireland to explore Yeats’ legacy, contact Tour Ireland and let us help you creating a personalised trip to the Emerald Isle.

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