Celebrating WB Yeats In Sligo

June 13, 2014

This is the first of two or three posts I’m looking forward to sharing with you about my recent short trip to County Sligo, one of many destinations here in Ireland that are perfect for Eco tourists looking to take a more natural, responsible approach to holidays. With images and poetry, this post may help to give you an idea for a destination to visit that apart from offering the usual festival, fun, celebrates the life of a celebrated Nobel Laureate, William Butler Yeats.

WB Yeats Statue, Sligo

William Butler Yeats ~ Statue in Sligo Town

Yeats Day

June 13th is Yeats Day, a celebration of a time in 1865 when WB Yeats was born in Ireland. I’ve always been attracted to the poetry of WB Yeats and the evocative and accessible way he weaves our language, helping us to smell the apple blossom, or picture an island full of growth and wildlife that he longs to be close to. It was a delight therefore, to find Yeats celebrated in so many places in and around Sligo, the county he spent his formative years.

Painting by Jack Yeats

Painting by Jack Yeats

There are several ongoing exhibitions in Sligo of Yeats’ life, family and poetry. Amongst others, the Sligo Museum houses a small exhibition about Yeats which includes his Nobel Prize Medal and The Model Gallery is hosting an art exhibition of his brother Jack’s work.

From statues and museums, to recitals and trails there are lots to keep Yeats fans happy indoors and out.

Rumour has it that during 2015 everyone in Ireland will be able to share a national celebration of Yeats life, with festivals and events being arranged around the country.

The Yeats Experience

The Yeats Experience

In the meantime however, if you’re planning to visit Sligo or even if you live there and are looking for an evening or lunch with a difference, I’d highly recommend a visit to the home of Damian and Paula of The Yeats Experience, located near Carraroe, where you can wine, dine, listen to the history and poems of Yeats in a casual environment of mixed and friendly company.

Good conversation at The Yeats Experience

Good Company at The Yeats Experience

This is a unique experience where dinner parties take place in the couple’s private dinning room, overlooking breathtaking views that those familiar with Yeats work will recognise.

Catering for around twenty-five on the evening we arrived at Broc house (but can cater from 10 to 50 people), Damien talked us through Yeats lifetime, which took place in some very turbulent times of Irish history, transfixing us with tales and love poems he recited to us between dinner courses.

SorbetAs a rural vegetable grower who’s new to bee keeping, this is a particular favourite Yeats poem…

The Lake Isle of Innisfree by WB 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.

A spellbound Guest at The Yeats Experience

A spellbound Guest

If you’re even remotely interested in poetry, film, art, music, good food or history, the 11th to the 15th June for the Só Sligo Food & Cultural Festival is the place to be as they celebrate with a packed and varied programme catering for all tastes and ages (see Vibrant Ireland’s blog for more details).

However, if you’ve missed the festival or have never been to Sligo and are thinking of doing so, you won’t be disappointed… Within a very short space of time, we fell in love with this beautiful county that has more than it’s fair share of unspoiled beaches and hill climbs, lakes, cliffs and forests. There’s so much to do I can’t wait to return with Mr G and spend longer exploring it.

Tourist Tip: Do pack midge/mosquito repellent as the lake water attracts these irritating little pests. I’ve found Dr Vogel’s Herbal Insect Repellent to be very effective once I remember to pack it!

Over the coming days I’ll be sharing our bloggers tasty seaweed experience as well giving some tips on how you might like to spend a couple of days as an eco/responsible tourist in Sligo.

With thanks to Connacht Gold and the organisers of the  Sligo Food Cultural & Food Festival that’s taking place in Sligo right now, some fellow Irish bloggers and I were able to experience a snippet of some of the cultural, food, sporting and natural attractions that Sligo has to offer this week and beyond. Keep an eye out for posts from Vibrant Ireland, The Burlesque Chef, Irish Food Guide, Isle Magazine, Magnum Lady and Oonagh Eats, bloggers covering several areas of interest, for more information about the Festival.


  • Reply Susan June 13, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    What a bril evening the Yeats Experience was, and the So Sligo events in general! Sligo is pretty special

    • Reply greensideupveg June 13, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      So looking forward to going again Susan, maybe next year we can stay for the main festival as it looked a blast.

  • Reply Marie Ennis-O'Connor (@JBBC) June 14, 2014 at 12:13 am

    I have some friends visiting Ireland this August from America for the first time. This is great information for them – going to share it straight away.

    • Reply greensideupveg June 14, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      Thanks Marie, there’ll be a couple more posts they might be interested in coming up soon too. I’m sure they’ll have a lovely time up there, so glad I was invited 🙂

  • Reply ayearinredwood June 14, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Just knew you’d love Sligo 🙂

    • Reply greensideupveg June 14, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      Margaret you were so right, it has so much going for it. Can’t wait to return with my family 🙂

  • Reply Lorna June 15, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    a long time since I’ve been to Sligo and I enjoyed reading this – great photos shared on Facebook last week too. Looking forward to hearing more about Yeats festivals next year too.

    • Reply greensideupveg June 15, 2014 at 11:28 pm

      Thanks Lorna, hopefully you’ll get to visit again soon – great place to take the children with something to interest everyone. Good to hear you spotted the facebook pics too 🙂

  • Reply Ecotourism: 10 Fun Things You Can Do in Sligo June 16, 2014 at 9:15 pm

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  • Reply Another super Sligo fest! Tread Softly Festival - Vibrant Ireland July 15, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    […] to attend the dinner with the other So Sligo visiting bloggers, one of whom is Dee Sewell, who wrote this post about  the evening. (Yeats &  Sligo worked their magic on us, and the wonderful So Sligo […]

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