A travel blog of Ireland, Europe, and New Zealand

Sligo Day 2

“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree…”

Sligo06Alright then, off you go. Are you sure you really want to? Just look at it! A bit of a let-down, really, after reading that evocative poem.

W B Yeats is one of Ireland’s favourite sons and deservedly so, as he wrote some memorable poetry. I remember the Lake Isle of Innisfree from schooldays and another quote, but I wouldn’t admit this to the Irish, from the Bremworth Carpet NZ TV ad that people of a certain age will remember: Tread softly, for you tread on my dreams. Yeats as a carpet salesman???

Yeats had a strong connection to Sligo and although he died in France he wished to be buried here within sight of Ben Bulben (“Plant me in Sligo” he said to his wife Georgie when he was dying in France) and so we were able to visit his grave at St Columba’s church in Drumcliff with Ben Bulben shining in the late afternoon sun.

Sligo08 Sligo09

We came to Drumcliff by way of a circumnavigation of Lough Gill, a pretty lake, with stops at the Tobernalt Holy Well, Dooney’s Rock and a point close to Innisfree. The Holy Well is one of dozens in Ireland but this one is a little different in that its history pre-dates Christian times, being a site for Celtic healing pilgrimage. Its deeply rural location was useful for secret Masses held at a time in the early 18th century when the English prohibited public displays of Catholicism.

Sligo10 It is places like this, and we have seen a number of them now, which communicate a tangible spirituality that makes it easy to believe that faeries and leprechauns are just out of sight and not far away. There is just something about parts of the Irish countryside, shamrocks in profusion, which turns fantasy into certain fact. As well, it could easily be Middle Earth, a thousand times more so than Matamata! (And we’ll have no unkind comments about Hobbits in this next photo, thank you very much.)


At Dooney’s Rock, Lough Gill

Sligo12Then, occasionally, we would come across a scene that made us think we should be setting up our easel and capturing it in oils.


A hypnotic country.

4 thoughts on “Sligo Day 2

  1. Moira Laidlaw

    Lovely, lovely photos and poetry, giving a real sense of where you are. Thanks for posting. LOTS of love and Happy Easter to you both.

    Love from, Moira xxxx

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks, Moira. That part of the country is quite inspiring and I’m very pleased to be able to get something of that across to you.

  2. MEL

    I am GUTTED ! Fancy Inisfree beng such a drab looking place !Now I can’t get the song out of my mind…at least I have one !

    Fantastic photos and great camera ,Bruce. What have you got? Wonderful definition . You have captured so many wonderfully evocative shots of Ireland so won’t have to go there myself ! Lotto?!

    I really love the photo of the old alter against the stone wall. Any idea how old it is?

    The hobbit is one of the shots doesn’t look old enough to be one ha ha. You are both looking great.

    Happy Easter and all that. We have a bride getting ready for her wedding today and they will spend their first night in the studio so will go in and sprinkle red rose petals on the bed later on.

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks Mel. The camera is a Sony RX10 Mk 1 and it does perform exceptionally well. I don’t know about the age of the altar – probably about 300 years I would guess, although the site itself was in use before St Patrick arrived there in the 5th century. So a bit older than anything we’re used to!

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