Kilkenny Castle: A Regal Encounter with History
- Ireland's Ancient East, Kilkenny, Things to do
- 22 March 2023
Drumcliffe Church is a small, historic church located in the village of Drumcliffe, County Sligo, in the northwest of Ireland. The church is most famous for being the final resting place of William Butler Yeats, one of Ireland's most celebrated poets. The village is situated amidst the stunning Benbulben Mountains, adding to its picturesque charm.
W.B. Yeats' Grave is located in the village's churchyard, and it is marked with a simple headstone inscribed with his self-penned epitaph: "cast a cold eye on life, on death, horseman, pass by." The poet's instructions were that his grave should be adorned with "no marble, no conventional phrase." Additionally, the churchyard contains a high cross, further adding to its historical significance.
Yeats was born in Dublin in 1865 but spent much of his childhood in County Sligo, where his family had a summer home. Yeats was deeply influenced by the landscape and folklore of the region, and many of his poems reflect his love of the Irish countryside.
Yeats died in 1939 and was buried in the graveyard at Drumcliffe Church, in accordance with his wishes. His simple headstone bears the inscription "Cast a cold eye / On life, on death. / Horseman, pass by!"
The church itself is also of historical significance, dating back to the 11th century. It is built on the site of a former monastery founded by Saint Columba, an early Christian saint who is also known as Columba of Iona. The church has undergone several renovations over the centuries but retains many original features, including a 9th-century High Cross and a 12th-century Round Tower.
Today, Drumcliffe Church and Yeats' grave are popular tourist attractions, drawing visitors from around the world who come to pay their respects to the poet and explore the rich history of the region.
Visitors to the village can also explore the site of a 6th Century Columbian monastery, adding to the village's historical importance. A coffee shop and craft shop are also present on site, offering a range of quality crafts and homemade baked goods.