The Seven Woods of Coole

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Yeats is said to have drawn most inspiration from the estate, having arrived exhausted and broken in ; the imprint of the landscape runs through five books of his poetry, the most famous being The Wild Swans at Coole But by the time he came to write some of his final verses on Coole, the happy house and park with its blossoming whitethorns, catalpa tree, ilex evergreen oak under which cricket matches were played, lilacs, laburnums and horse chestnuts was a very different place.

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In February , many of the large limes and the ilex on the front lawn, along with spruce and larch, were destroyed by the big wind of that year. She never recovered, though she did help to rear her grandchildren, Anne, Catherine and Richard. One of the girls, Anne de Winton, recorded her happy childhood there in her book, Me and Nu. In , most of the estate was sold off under the Land Acts, and acreage across the lake was sold to the Congested Districts Board and to a group of tenants.

She hoped that the forestry department would maintain and develop the woodlands. As Yeats forecast, in Coole Park, , it was not to be. Lady Gregory died in , and nine years later her house was destroyed.

Thankfully, the Autograph Tree missed the axe and still stands, although the catalpa tree, so beloved of its former owner, is in decay and on its side. The audio-visual show in the centre records the dramatic loss of the house, and includes material researched by Sinead McCoole, and photographs taken by the south Galway-based photographer, Nutan. Along with the adjoining Garryland, the reserve comprises some 1, acres of woodland, lakes, river, turloughs and limestone.

With Mr W. B. Yeats in the Woods of Coole

It is in winter that the lake is at its best, haunted by the wild duck and swans that have frequented the place for centuries. The park is open all year round, while the centre is open over the summer until the end of September, with daily opening hours from 9. Kiltartan Cross, which was also immortalised by Lady Gregory through reference to her dialect "Kiltartanese", now houses a museum and millennium park.

The award-winning Kiltartan Gregory Museum and Millennium Park is just three kilometres north of Gort and before Coole, and is open from 10 a.

Trees company in Coole Park

For the last few years, an autumn gathering has been held at Coole which Lady Gregory's grand-daughters have attended. Sadly, Catherine Kennedy has passed away since the last reunion, and her ashes were scattered at Coole in April of this year. The theme of the forthcoming meet is Remembering Lady Gregory, and it takes place over the weekend Sept 29th to October 1st. More information is available from Sheila O'Donnellan at or fax Trees company in Coole Park Sat, Aug 26, , Lorna Siggins. Editor's Choice Most Viewed.

The Seven Woods of Coole: Franklin Lafayette King: Books

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