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Artists who paints in oil en plein aire. Member of the three member Plein Aire Cottage Artists. Members: Mary Rose Holmes, Violetta Chandler and Helen Tilston

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ireland- Cast a Cold Eye on Life, on Death, Horseman, pass by!

Departing Galway City
The simple grave of my favourite poet WB Yeats
Following our visit with  Mise we travelled north to Sligo town, where we visited the grave of WB Yeats, which is under the shadow of Ben Bulben Mountain in the cemetary of St. Columba's Parish Church at Drumcliffe.   WB Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.   Millions of people are attracted to Yeat's poetry and one wonders why, perhaps his ability to convey to others the feelings he has experienced, we empathize with these feelings. "Tread softly because you tread on my dreams" we whisper in our mind when an insensitive person threatens to crash upon our space.  "I will arise and go now and go to Innisfree" we silently resolve when the madness of life is overwhelming.
Rest in Peace Mr WB Yeats

Cast a Cold Eye on Life, on Death, Horseman, pass by  - One may interpret this to mean  that he is saying 'if you are looking for answers as to what lies beyond life and death, I can't help you you must look elsewhere Horseman, pass by'.

The grave is but yards from the open door of St. Columba's Parish Church, I enter.  It is a place of quiet intimacy and while sitting in the pew I am reminded that people have worshipped at this site since 574AD.  Noticing a copy of the Book of Common Prayer I am  also reminded that Yeats had a Church of Ireland burial service when his remains were finally laid to rest.   (Yeats remains were brought back to Ireland from Roquebrune, France by sea in a corvette of the Irish navy, the Macha in 1948)

Celtic Cross at Drumcliffe graveyard

I leave you with a reading of "The Lake Isle of Innisfree"

Are you familiar with the poetry of WB Yeats?  Who is your favourite poet?


  1. What an amazing trip--you can feel the weight of the history in these photos. I have no favorite poet--I like Neruda to Whitman to Shel Silverstein. I'm a fickle Aquarius, I can pick no one love :)

  2. What a lovely post Helen. I visited Keat's grave when in Rome and the atmosphere of that grave yard moved me. I do love W.B. Yeat's poetry but my favourite poet is Edward Thomas, especially his actutely observed nature poems. Jane x

  3. Hello Helen:
    What a marvellous time you seem to have had in Ireland. Such a wonderful country where we had often toyed to live in a crumbling Georgian mansion......!!!

    Yeats is a favourite poet of ours too, in particular we are very fond of 'Coole Park' and 'The Wild Swans at Coole'. And, from Easter 1916 we recall that haunting repeated line..."A terrible beauty is born".

  4. Hello Julie fedderson-
    Good Morning Julie and thank you for your visit. That you love poetry is what is important and there are so many great writers like you mentioned.
    Is Aquarius the only fickle sign who loves more than one? :) Helen xx

  5. Jane the Booklady - Good Morning and how fabulous you paid Keat's respect when in Rome. I am off to read some of Edward Thomas's poetry, thank you for the reminder
    Helen xx

  6. Good Morning Jane and Lance Hattatt

    Did you really consider living in a crumbling Georgian home in Ireland? I can just imagine you living there and making the most of what life offers and bringing bundles of joy to it.

    I remember your love for Yeats and Coole Park and I also remembered you when we visited this time. The swans still sail by two by two. I found some radio recordings from 1932 of Yeats reading his poetry,I had difficulty lifting the link,however, you might consider listening (you tube - WB Yeats reading Lake Isle of Innisfree or similar) There is so much passion in a poet reading their own work!
    You also, no doubt, are familiar with W.H Auden's memorial poem to Yeats, there is also a recording of his reading this on you tube, which is very moving.
    We have just returned home.
    Helen xx

  7. There was I telling someone only the other day that my favourite Yeats poem is 'An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, for its simple, pragmatic romanticism. Many of his poems certainly have a very appealing lyrical certainty, and in his more modern moments he's quite an Ezra Pound.

    Glad to see you are safely back, Helen, and had such a good time - the photo of you with the injuction to the Horseman is lovely!

  8. Maidin Maith a Stoirin

    I am not surprised you like Yeat's work, he spent much time in Galway at Gort, Thoor Ballylea and Kiltartan.Thank you for reminding us of your favourite poem, I shall put it here for others to enjoy. Fondest wishes, my dear Mise.
    An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

    I know that I shall meet my fate
    Somewhere among the clouds above;
    Those that I fight I do not hate,
    Those that I guard I do not love;
    My country is Kiltartan Cross,
    My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
    No likely end could bring them loss
    Or leave them happier than before.
    Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
    Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
    A lonely impulse of delight
    Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
    I balanced all, brought all to mind,
    The years to come seemed waste of breath,
    A waste of breath the years behind
    In balance with this life, this death.
    (this is a tribute to Lady Gregory's son who was lost in battle)

  9. Helen the words you posted are so beautiful but i have to be honest - my knowledge of poetry extends to Pam Ayres - shocking i know and i dont even know how i know hers - must have been on the telly many moons ago - one day when work and all else calms i intend to indulge! x


  10. Fashion and Frank
    Hello Claire
    You are so creative in all you do and I know that you will continue to grow in your creativity and when the time is right for you you will appreciate poetry. I believe much was forced upon us at school that we rebelled. I know I did when it came to history.
    Pats to Frank

  11. What an incredible post...thank you for sharing...I truly wish to be able to visit there someday. xx

  12. Mrs. Little Jeans Hello

    Thank you for commenting and I hope you get the opportunity to visit Ireland one day
    Helen xx

  13. Dear Helen,

    I am glad to hear you are enjoying yourself in Ireland. I did read Yeats, but that was a long time ago when still at school. Nowadays I am more into fiction and historical books. At the moment I am reading The Absolutist by John Boyne. A simply beautiful book that I can recommend to you!

    Lieve groet,

    Madelief x

  14. What gorgeous scenery in these photos. It looks like you are having a wonderful trip. I have never visited Ireland before, I would be very interested to see it one day. I must admit to only having read a little poetry, but the few poems I have read by W.B. Yeats are beautiful. Thank you for this post!!

  15. Hello Madelief

    Did you study Yeats in Holland or was your schooling in another country. Thanks for the suggestion of the Absolutist by John Boyne. I will check it out.
    Have a lovely weekend
    Helen xx

  16. Hello Louise at Cosmetic Bee
    I hope your plans bring you to Ireland one day and I feel you would enjoy exploring and shopping too!
    I am happy to read you enjoyed the poems you read of WB Yeats. One friend emailed me that she always gets teary when reading Yeats.
    Have a lovely Autumnal weekend
    Helen xx

  17. I absolutely LOVE the first photograph here Helen. I picture it enlarged and hanging on a wall.

    I am so glad you are enjoying Ireland, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  18. Helen, what a gorgeous, inspiring post. I quite envy you all of your recent comings and goings.

    I would have slid open that Common Book of Prayer and feasted my eyes on words that have endured for centuries in a piece of architecture, likewise.

    My husband quoted a line from Yeats when we were courting and it further won my heart. I would have to say that I do not have a favorite poet but that I am very fond of much of T.S. Eliot's verse, as well as Emily Dickinson's.

  19. It's wonderful that you were able to visit Yeats' final resting place. It seems your trip has been filled with seeing very special places and meeting very special people...that's the best kind of holiday one could ask for.
    I do like Yeats very much...but my heart belongs to the Bronte sisters, especially when Autumn comes along, they just seem to go hand in hand with one another.
    Continued safe travels...
    xo J~

  20. What a wonderful post Helen. You make me proud to be Irish! I read poetry from time to time, but I have to be 'in the zone' or it just goes over my head. I have a lovely c.d. called 'Words', where actors and actresses recite various poems, it is really relaxing to listen to, and sometimes makes me cry. I studied Robert Browning at school and always loved the line from 'Fra Lippo Lippi' 'a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for.' My Dad loves Yeats and also Robbie Burns. Welcome back dear Helen, so glad you had a lovely time in Ireland. Next time you must come and have tea with me and my family. Isn't the church where Yeats is buried, in the most heavenly spot? Love Linda x p.s. many thanks for your visit and lovely comments. I do have a thirst for learning new skills and crafts, and feel that there are not enough hours in the day sometimes!

  21. Good Morning Lisa

    Wishing you a joyous day.
    Thank you for your kind words on my picture, I even managed to get my reflection in the photo. The flowers were at their peak- that is a good idea to enlarge the photo.
    I also think I may do a painting of this.
    Yes Ireland is wonderful and so much to do for all interests.
    Helen xx

  22. Suze - Hello and good morning.

    I feel you would have felt the presence of prayer in this little chapel. One can only imagine the prayers and requests which were asked for and ultimately thanked for on these grounds.
    Eliott and Dickinson speak to the heart.
    Thank you

  23. 24 Corners - Good Morning

    Ireland is a magical place and there is so much to do and see and well as spend time with childhood friends and family.

    Yes with the on set on Autumn, the Bronte sisters bring warmth, joy and hope.
    Helen xx

  24. Flowers on My Table
    Hello Linda

    Thank you for your kindness and I am happy to read you enjoyed my post. You also made my heart beat when you mentioned the quote by Fra Lippo Lippi - he is one of my favourite renaissance artists and I have a path worn to his paintings at the Uffizi.
    Wishing you a weekend full of joy
    Helen xx

  25. Wonderful work Helen, thank you for commenting on my blog.

  26. Yeates has been in fact one of my favourite poets since I read him back in high school!

    And I also love going to cementeries when I visit a place. I think my favourite will have to be in Paris- it was something to visit the grave of Degas.

  27. A great trip!!!!
    Have a nice weekend,

  28. Steve -Good Morning and thank you for your flattering comment on my recent post and for being my most recent follower - welcome.

  29. PvdH Journal - Good Morning

    I am delighted to read that your favourite poet is Yeats. You have planted a seed in my mind and I will pay my respects to Degas when next in Paris
    Helen xx

  30. Yvonne-Frl.Klein
    Many thanks for visiting and saying a kind word
    Wishing you a joyful weekend
    Helen xx

  31. Thank you so much for leaving such darling comment! You are in a wonderful spot right now and I can only tell you how much I love Keats and Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, Goethe and Hoelderlin.....
    There are too many to name, but I love poetry! And reading in general!
    One day I too will visit Ireland, I have good friends who live in Dublin and Galway!
    I am so glad you found me and I you!
    Bon Voyage!

  32. Helen dearest,

    It is late Friday here for me and I am so tired of a long work week; it is wonderful to see this beautiful post of a land I hope to see one day! THANK YOU for visiting my post. I am going to TRY to eek out mine for late tonight....I am wishing you a splendid weekend of recovering from your long but GORGEOUS TRIP!!!


  33. Helen, Now that I know what a constant world traveler you are I would not be surprised to have you
    show up for that cup and tea!

    just give us 24 hours notice and a slice of tart is yours.

    xo Jane

  34. Looks like you had an amazing trip. I have read a few of Yeat's poems during my Literature class more than 10 years ago but sadly I do not remember any of them anymore. I only remembered one line from William Blake's poem and that's it.

    Thanks for visiting my blog today. Hope you have a great weekend!

    P/S: Come by and enter my giveaway for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate!


    Hurry, only 2 days left for entries! :) (The throw pillows are gorgeous) hint, hint!


  35. Victoria Art and a very Good Morning

    Thank you for your kind words and welcome as my latest follower. You certainly have a wealth of good reading behind you in naming Wordsworth Dickinson, Keats Goethe and Hoelderlin!. I, too, love literature and poetry and no matter how much we read we always have no discoveries which is marvelous!
    I hope you get to Ireland one day soon as I am sure you would love what it offers
    Helen xx

  36. Dearest Anita

    How kind of you to stop and visit, in the midst of your busiest week, I truly appreciate and value your kind words. I truly hope you will visit Ireland one day and there is so much to discover for one with a mind so curious and imaginative as yours Anita.
    I return the joyful wish for a weeklend of bliss.

  37. Flwrjane - Good Morning
    There are no secrets in the world of blgging and my trail of crumbs tells all. What a delightful invitation for a cup of tea and I shall keep it in mind but I will also want to see your garden!!
    Have a lovely weekend
    Helen xx

  38. Hello Jessie

    Thank you for stopping by. It seems like when we are forced to study a subject such as literature sometimes much of it does not stay with us and perhaps it is better for us to visit these subject when the time is right for us.

    Have a beautiful weekend and thank you for the information on your give away, I shall pop over and visit

  39. Hello Helen,
    Thank you very much for visiting my blog and your kind words.

    What an emotional journey you have made​​.
    I was not familiar with WB Yeats and after some searching I came across this lovely poem by him.

    Aedh Wishes for the Clothes of Heaven

    Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
    Enwrought with golden and silver light,
    The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
    Of night and light and the half light,
    I would spread the cloths under your feet:
    But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
    I have spread my dreams under your feet;
    Tread Softly Because You tread on my dreams.

    William Butler Yeats

    Thank you for your impressive post.

    I wish you a very nice weekend.

    Warm wishes,

  40. PASSIONE Helene

    Helene - thank for posting this beautiful poem by W.B yeats - the last line says it so well

    "tread softly because you tread on my dreams"
    Thank you for respecting dreams.
    Helen xx

  41. Hello Helen, thank you for your comment on my blog!
    Ireland is on my top list, but in the meanwhile I've enjoyed travelling with you, you do take wonderful pictures!

  42. Oh Helen,

    What can I say to your wonderful and sincere words of kindness regarding my post and Lisa's encouragement for me to sell my work. It is so funny....I just don't "SEE" it....I just don't see my work as being something anyone would want....and because I had left my natural abilities die away for 40 years (last time I drew was when I was about 13), my skills have remained stunted and immature. BUT as someone kindly commented, my work to them, has an "innocence" about it...MAYBE that is the attraction.....well then, I must make that work for me, I suppose!!! THANK YOU for such an encouraging message, Helen...it means a lot to me coming from you as well, since you are an established artist!!!!!!


  43. Dearest Helen
    So sorry for my late comment. I am so glad to read you have had such a good trip to Ireland, and to see your wonderful pictures too is a real pleasure. I studied Yeats at school in my final year, and so his work has always remained a favourite of mine.
    Thank you for your kind comments on my post. I have passed on your warm hug to Spotty and he seemed very pleased to receive it :)
    I hope you have had a lovely weekend.
    Warmest wishes, Abby xx

  44. Hello Michaela

    Thank you for stopping by and for complimenting my photography.
    I so enjoy your blog
    My best for a joyous week
    Helen xx

  45. Crowns Castles and Cottages
    Dearest Anita

    So kind of you to stop by and comment.I know how busy you are and this makes it more special. You will succeed as an artist I just know it.
    Your accomplishments thus far in education and language are to be greatly admired. Keep painting.
    Have a wonderful week
    Helen xx

  46. My Spotty Pony
    Dear Abby

    Thank you for giving my love to Spotty. What is Spotty's latest trick?
    I am happy to hear you studied WB Yeats in your final year so you share my love for his work
    Here's to a week of joy
    Helen xx

  47. Helen, thankyou so much for all your encouraging words. I am so glad you liked my staircase and ideas for the front door. I always love it when they show the front door of No.10, so shiney and smart.Have a wonderful week, love Linda x

  48. Hi Helen, I just wanted to come on over to say thank you for your kind words on my blog. Blue skies & sunshine seem so far off at the moment, but I know I will find them soon enough :) hope you are well xx

  49. Such an interesting post! Thank you for sharing your travel impressions, Helen!
    I love Ireland and my husband grew up in Dublin. Will show him your post, he knows pretty every place in Ireland, a wonderful country with lovely and special people!

    And thank you so much for your comment.
    I mentioned your blog in a previous post about 2 weeks ago and gave you an award.

    Greetings from the Périgord,

  50. Hi Helen
    Looks like you had a wonderful time.. I'm yet to get to Ireland.. so hopefully one day.. if I can tear myself away from France and Italy... for now I'll enjoy your shots..

    My favourite poet? will have to think about that.. Although I did buy a book of Pablo Neruda whilst away.. so he must be high on the list..

    Thanks for popping in.. always great to see your comments.. ciao xxx Julie

  51. Hi Helen
    Looks like you had a wonderful time.. I'm yet to get to Ireland.. so hopefully one day.. if I can tear myself away from France and Italy... for now I'll enjoy your shots..

    My favourite poet? will have to think about that.. Although I did buy a book of Pablo Neruda whilst away.. so he must be high on the list..

    Thanks for popping in.. always great to see your comments.. ciao xxx Julie

  52. Adore this poetry, what a touching post!

  53. Helen, I enjoyed your post so much! It made me look into his life and oeuvre. Captivating poetry..

  54. Dear Helen,

    Wish I could have stopped by to taste your peach pie :-)!

    Happy new week!

    Madelief x

  55. Hi Helen,
    I followed you home, and I'm happy that I did. I do love Yeats. When You are Old is my favorite...
    How many loved your moments of glad grace,
    And loved your beauty with love false or true,
    But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
    And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

    So many poets I love ... I agree with Julie, although I am an Aries, I too, can pick no one love.

    Thank you for your visit and your kind words, Helen. It meant the world to me.
    xo isa

  56. WB Yeats a wonderful poet and none can deny him that, however having read & studied his biography. I think he must have been a difficult character to live with and was none to pleasant to his wife.
    The great shame to my mind was his falling out with Russell aka AE

  57. Helen, thankyou so much for all your encouraging words. I am so glad you liked my staircase and ideas for the front door. I always love it when they show the front door of No.10, so shiney and smart.Have a wonderful week, love Linda x
    Hello Flowers on My Table - dear Linda, thanks again for stopping by and I love how your decorate your beautiful home - many years ago when we were repainting the shutters on our old Georgian style farmhouse, we asked our long time English antique dealer friend, Keith, if we should use a dark green or black paint on the shutters and doors. I always remember him almost barking BLACK...!! There, clearly was no doubt in his mind. Have a super week Linda

  58. Hello BIBBITYBOD
    Thank you for visiting at this time and I can only guarantee that the sun will shine on your beautiful life again and please, please keep writing.I love your blog.

  59. Greetings from the Périgord,

    La Pouyett...Dearest Karen in Perigord
    Firstly, thank you giving me such an honour and bestowing an award on my blog in your beautiful, popular and interesting blog. I am truly grateful and thrilled!!!!
    How exciting your husband is Irish born and educated. No doubt he knows Ireland. It seems that when one leaves home one has a much greater love and respect for their homeland.
    On my recent trip to Ireland we all agreed that it should be mandatory for every Irish person to leave and work abroad for at least five years and then return. Perhaps this applies to all nationalities, what do you think?
    I am heading back to read your blog again.

    Much love
    Helen xx

  60. Being Ruby- Boujour or Bon Giorno Senora Julie....I can just imagine that your mind and thoughts are still in the magical world of France and Italy - I, myself, take forever to return to earth following such trips.
    Don't you find that blgging about your experience makes it twice as good?
    You must go to Ireland an I know with your wonderful joyful demeanour you will be so welcomed and side tracked.
    Have a lovely week
    Helen xx

  61. Zhush - Good Morning

    Thank you for the visit and for your appreciation of my recent post on WB Yeats. It is lovely to hear that you enjoyed his words.
    Helen xx

  62. Hi Laura at Luxinteriordesigns.com

    Thank you Laura for your kind words of appreciation and I am so happy that you are researching the poetry of WB Yeats. He certainly touches the heart!

  63. Madelief

    Now that would be a pleasure indeed if only you could visit and have some of my peach pie....you better hurry as I think there is but one slice left.
    Fondest wishes
    Helen xx

  64. Blue Muse - Dear Isa

    I am so glad you followed me home and thank you so much for reminding of this incredible poem, which seems to apply to all of us as each day passes.
    There really is so many wonderful poets, we can never tire of such joy.
    Thank you again for your joyful spirit.

  65. A Heron's View

    Thank you for visiting and I am pleased to read you enjoy WB's poetry.
    Wishing you a week full of joy

  66. Thanks for the history lesson & the very nice photos.

    God bless and have a great week :-)


  67. Dearest Helen
    Thank you so much for your kind comments on my post. The service on Sunday was filled with wonderful hymns, readings and thanks for the harvest. And so I agree with you, quality over quantity for sure.
    I shall be keeping a carrot or two for Spotty, as he has been a good boy :)
    I hope you are having a wonderful week. Abby xx

  68. Dear Helen, many thanks for your comments. Re. laughing in church, I know, because it is such a solemn and quiet place, it just makes you nervous and you laugh even more. I am so with you on this one. My sister used to do it so often we called them her Sunday giggles.Have a lovely day, so glad you enjoyed my post. With love, Linda x

  69. What a beautiful post, you did Ireland prude there.
    Hmm poets, I used to love John Donne, but not so much now, there was someone I read recently but the name has gone from my memory - there are just so many books in our house that I lose track all the time.

  70. T.O Geezer aka- Ron
    Hello and thank you for your words of kindness and prayer.
    Wishing you a week full of blessings too
    Helen xx

  71. Hello My Spotty Pony - Abby

    Thank you for stopping by again and telling me that Spotty Pony was the recipient of the carrots. Please give him my apoligies if I have ever confused him for a girl!! Your church service sounded divine (pun intended)
    Fondly and hugs to all
    Helen xx

  72. Flowers on my Table - Hello again Linda. I am giggling at the image of you and your sister in church. I recall one time being with my mother and a woman sat in front of us and she literally had the price tag on her hat (like Minnie Pearl) - well you can imagine the uproar, I had to leave and then sit at the back of the church. My mother would have matched you and your sisters at Sunday Giggles

  73. Bourbon & Pearls
    Hi Tabitha

    Thank you for your words of kindness and visit.

    I also thank you for the introduction to John Donne - I love his work and take liberty in publishing a short opening verse from his poem The Blossom
    by John Donne

    LITTLE think'st thou, poor flower,
    Whom I've watch'd six or seven days,
    And seen thy birth, and seen what every hour
    Gave to thy growth, thee to this height to raise,
    And now dost laugh and triumph on this bough,
    Little think'st thou,
    That it will freeze anon, and that I shall
    To-morrow find thee fallen, or not at all.

  74. Lovely the memories that can make us smile and laugh. Thanks for sharing, love Linda x

  75. Thank you for this wonderful blog. We're planning a trip to Ireland in late spring, and am preparing by studying Yeats. Your visit to his gravesite and the other photos helped me so much. I had not really understood what he had on his tombstone, until you explained it. Virginia

    1. Hello Virginia

      Thank you for visiting. I am delighted to read of your proposed trip to Ireland in the Spring time. A journey is always the more meaningful when we research and read in advance.

      Wishing you a joyful trip

      Helen xx

  76. Hello Helen,

    Well, it's three years after you posted this wonderful piece on one of Ireland's precious gems, W.B. Yeats and the beautiful countryside where he has been laid to rest. I so enjoyed your narrative and gorgeous photos of this place, as well as the many themes of the poet's works that you mention.

    Happy Wednesday,


  77. Hello Poppy
    Lovely to see you and to hear you read my older posts.
    I hope you visit Ireland one day and the Sligo area is very worthwhile. One of my habits is to take a book of WB Yeats poetry along with me when we go for a a hike and then to sit quietly in a beautiful spot and read one.
    Helen xxx

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