County Sligo is Yeats' Country in Ireland. It is a place of epic legends and landscapes that inspired the Irish poet W.B. Yeats. In Sligo you will find many places that feature in the poetry of Yeats including Dooney Rock Forest Park which we just happened upon while driving a ring around Lough Gill where you'll also find Benbulben and Glencar Waterfall. Dooney Rock features in Yeats' poem "The Fiddler of Dooney" and Dooney Rock is an elevated part of the wood from which you can see sweeping views of Lough Gill, the Ox Mountains and Knocknarea Mountain. Look carefully atop Knocknarea and you can see "a huge flat-topped cairn called Maeve's Cairn (Miosgan Meadhbha). The cairn is 55m in diameter and is 10m high. It was supposed to have been built for Queen Maeve, the Iron Age Queen of Connaught (source)." You can see why Sligo and this atmospheric woodland inspired Yeats and I always find it quite special to find places that connect to history in such a way. The woodland itself was stunning. Occasional trees were labeled with their species. The forest was mainly one species of coniferous tree (though I cannot recall which) which made for a striking fairy tale atmosphere, with moss creeping up each tree and a lovely filtered light. There were benches around to sit a spell and soak in the forest.
FIDDLER OF DOONEY
W.B. Yeats - 1889
WHEN I play on my fiddle in Dooney.
Folk dance like a wave of the sea;
My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet,
My brother in Mocharabuiee.
I passed my brother and cousin:
They read in their books of prayer;
I read in my book of songs
I bought at the Sligo fair.
When we come at the end of time
To Peter sitting in state,
He will smile on the three old spirits,
But call me first through the gate;
For the good are always the merry,
Save by an evil chance,
And the merry love the fiddle,
And the merry love to dance:
And when the folk there spy me,
They will all come up to me,
With "Here is the fiddler of Dooney!"
And dance like a wave of the sea.
|What appeared to be an old stone foundation or rock wall.|
|Queen Maeve's Cairn atop the flat topped Knocknarea in the distance.|