W. B. Yeats bought this 14th century Norman tower house in 1917. The tower was either named "Thoor Ballylee" before Yeats bought it, or else that is how Yeats named it. The tower is near Coole Park in County Galway, Ireland. Yeats traveled often to Lady Gregory's Coole Park and it was on one of those trips that Yeats discovered Ballylee. The small village was named in a number of Irish stories and faerie tales that fascinated Yeats. There is a photo of Yeats grave that I took in 2004 on another of our web pages.
There is a sign on the wall with Yeats words about the tower.
I, the poet William Yeats
With old millboards and sea-green slates
And smithy work from the Gort forge
Restored this tower for my wife George;
And may these characters remain
When all is ruin once again.
WHAT shall I do with this absurdity -
O heart, O troubled heart - this caricature,
Decrepit age that has been tied to me
As to a dog's tail?
Never had I more
Excited, passionate, fantastical
Imagination, nor an ear and eye
That more expected the impossible -
No, not in boyhood when with rod and fly,
Or the humbler worm, I climbed Ben Bulben's back
And had the livelong summer day to spend.
It seems that I must bid the Muse go pack,
Choose Plato and Plotinus for a friend
Until imagination, ear and eye,
Can be content with argument and deal
In abstract things; or be derided by
A sort of battered kettle at the heel.
I pace upon the battlements and stareThe above is an excerpt from "The Tower" by W. B. Yeats.
On the foundations of a house, or where
Tree, like a sooty finger, starts from the earth;
And send imagination forth
Under the day's declining beam, and call
Images and memories
From ruin or from ancient trees,
For I would ask a question of them all.
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