Posted by: mdmusingsie | May 21, 2023

Yeats Country

My vacations these days are primarily writing escapes. A chance to get outside my four walls, where I don’t have to listen to the chatter of the dust bunnies or the sighing of the dirty dishes in the sink. 

Sometimes I rent a self-catering house and other times I book a hotel when I don’t want to cook.

The only drawback to most of these adventures is the furniture.  Hotels may have a desk and a chair at said desk, but it is certainly NOT a desk chair.  The padded ones have seen a few too many bums and you sink into the wooden frame, while others are rock hard; neither conducive to a comfortable writing space.  Homes don’t generally have a desk and the furniture is very hit and miss as to whether you sink to a point where a crane could be required to pull you out, or they sit so low it’s a strain on my aging knees to sit down and get up.  But I carry on, as I can always use pen and paper, lying on the bed.

My most recent trip had me arriving at the Radisson Hotel in Sligo. I’d been to this particular hotel over a decade ago, and it was just as nice as I remember.  Close to Rosses Point with beaches and ocean views and also near Benbulben mountain.

It’s also Yeats Country.  When I awoke the first morning and immediately had a poem pop into my brain, I decided to (re-)visit W.B. Yeats’ grave at Drumcliffe church.  The last time I was there was on a bus tour and all I really remembered were the swans on the doors to the church.

Outside the church’s walled enclosure is a new (to me) sculpture representing the poem He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven. The statue had been stolen in 2018 and only replaced in 2022.

The church and grave are free to visit, though they do have several spots requesting donations. Most were the standard box/barrel for cash donations, but they even had one electronic machine where you could tap your debit/credit card to give a €5 donation to allow for our increasingly cashless society.

A new addition is an audio guide that you can rent which has the history of the area spoken by local people. It contains things like how Yeats came to be buried there, his self-written epitaph, the mural that was less expensive to put in than a stained glass window, and the stables turned tea room.

There’s also a small art gallery where I purchased a print of a felting painting. I had only ever seen felting made into stuffed animals, puppets, or Christmas decorations. This was the first time I’d seen it made into wall art. I would have bought the original, except it had already been sold. The print is clear enough that you can see that the original was 3-D felting. The woman minding the gallery was the artist and she gave me a brief demonstration of the technique.

It was a short stay in Sligo, but in addition to the editing existing work I had brought with me, two new poems came out of it, so these are always worthwhile adventures to help advance my budding writing career (and something to blog about, as well).


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