Sligo is situated
on the Atlantic coast in the north west of Ireland and is the
gateway between Connaught and Ulster. The county has a magnificent
variety of mountain, lake, wood and coastline. County Sligo's
beautiful scenery was an inspiration for Yeats, who is buried
at Drumcliffe Churchyard, under loaf-shaped Benbulben Mountain.
The lakes of Sligo, with their still waters and wooded islands,
are truly spectacular, and form a striking contrast to the county's
William Butler Yeats is recognised as one of the greatest poets
of the English language; a prominence which was acknowledged
by his confirmation as Nobel Prize winner for literature in
1923. His continuing impact on literature can be evidenced
from his influence on subsequent poets which has guaranteed
Yeats an honoured place in the canon of English literature.
Yeats's works have always been associated closely with Sligo
county, the culture and landscape of which influenced him greatly
during his formative years. This influence is evident throughout
his career, providing a wealth of imagery, myth and folklore
to his works which conjure images and references to Sligo and
the surrounding region.
The following epitaph was written by Yeats himself :
Under bare Ben Bulben's head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago, a church stands near,
By the road an ancient cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase;
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!
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