Welcome to the Yeats Country Guide
A stellar cast – including Yeats himself – are included on this Yeats Country Guide. This is an audio guide that properly salutes the young poet’s dalliance with the Celtic Twilight. From Sligo Town out to the Coolera peninsula down to Ballysadare, around Loughs Gill and Glencar before taking in Rosses Point, this three-day tour covers all of the essential spots that inspired a young Yeats to write some of his most memorable work. This was the land of heart’s desire to this young romantic and you’ll soon appreciate why he was so captivated by the landscape and lore of the area.
Three days may seem excessive to you a tourist with but a week off. However, when you see what is on offer and the fact that these were the set pieces that inspired one of the finest poets of the last century, it is about right.
Due reverence is required for this pilgrimage of sorts, culminating in a visit to that most famous of graves. The poet expected that horseman to trot, not gallop past him, after all! Besides, if you get the weather, you will want to linger and perhaps read the poems at your leisure, have a picnic or just go for one of the many fine walks from Sligo Walks. Who knows, maybe even enjoy a Wild Atlantic dip?
Click on each POI above to find out more
Day One takes you out to the sea and up Knocknarea to get a commanding panorama of the Bluestack, Dartry and Ox mountains as well as Donegal Bay. From there, you’ll also be brought to Ballysadare down by the sally gardens before taking in Lough Gill. Extra non-Yeats activities mentioned include exploring Parke’s Castle, taking a trip on the waterbus around Lough Gill and savouring the laidback buzz of Dromahair.
Day Two takes you into deepest Celtic Twilight territory where fairy folk still dwell, the Fianna hunted at the foot of Ben Bulben and Diarmaid was let down by Fionn’s efforts to save him. if that wasn’t enough, you’ll see where the ‘gazelle’ grew up, where he first came across the occult and where he now rests with the long-suffering George. This is definitely not a day to be rushed – you may wish to do the Glencar Trail. N.B. No dogs are allowed at Glencar waterfall.
Day Three takes in a tour of Sligo town itself. There are plenty of interesting non-Yeats sites included, but we do have to show you where the Yeats Memorial Building is, where his statue is and of course where his Pollexfen grandfather ruled the roost. The town is rightly proud of its connections to him and deserves that third day of pilgrimage. Besides the Yeats affiliation, it is a lively buzzing town with an active arts culture similar to Galway, but without the notions/prices!
Getting your bearings
Please familiarize yourself with the route in advance and ensure you read the directions given in the notes where applicable. We have included the GPS coordinates for key locations that you should use with Google Maps along the way. Best do a dummy run of that with some cutting and pasting. The accompanying 17 minute Patrick Carey Yeats Country film is recommended.
Make sure you enjoy a night’s fun in Sligo Town itself the night before or after your pilgrimage begins in earnest. Day One and Day Two could have you finishing up in Dromahair, or Manorhamilton or Mullaghmore, all worthy spots where you’ll feel most welcome. Seafood lovers will enjoy Eithna’s by the Sea in Mullaghmore or Shells in Strandhill. Liam McGettigan’s An Crúiscín Lán B&B in Sligo Town is always a welcome treat to eat and sleep in.
Handy links for each part
This page contains an overview of the complete Yeats Country Guide. Below we have links to the various other parts of it – Day One, Day Two and Sligo Town. This is much easier than scrolling endlessly on just one page! Simply click on the colour-coded section you’d like to know more about. Please note: use of this guide is subject to being bound by our Licence.
Seeing as you got this far, we are also throwing in details of two other nearby audio tours of ours you may enjoy – Donegal’s Hallowed Sites and The Bluestack Way. The former invites you to travel to 25 real gems around Donegal while the latter is a three day hiking tour through the Bluestack Mountains you’ll see and be captivated by when up Knocknarea. See? That week slipped by pretty quick, but at least you were armed with a host of interesting audio clips of the north west!
Guide Start: Tourist Office, Sligo Town
Guide Finish: Rosses Point, Co. Sligo
Length: 92km (give or take)
Time to complete: 3 days via drive or cycle
Maps: OSI Discovery Series Sheets 16 and 25
There’s quite a lot of audio which is presented in a linear form as you cycle/drive the route. We’d suggest that you familiarize yourself with the material on each section in advance. Needless to say, it is best enjoyed on good earphones and with your mobile phone’s battery fully charged! If your podcast server allows you to download, do so in a WiFi zone before travelling the next section.
This guide is primarily intended as a means of enjoying the lore and history of the area. It should be used as a supplement to, not a replacement for, proper map and compass reading. Full advance preparation should be made of the route with Ordnance Survey maps that should be taken with you together with proper equipment, high vis apparel and sustenance.
Preparation for Cyclists
This is a beautiful landscape to cycle around. With current fuel prices, it makes even more sense to consider cycling the route. If you do and are not familiar with Irish roads, please ensure you read up on our Road Cycling Tips prior to attempting the tour. In particular, the N15 which passes by Yeats’s grave in Drumcliffe has fast traffic as does the N4 stretch after Ballysadare.
How best to use this guide on the move
You can enjoy all of the material on your favourite podcast platform from our Audio Archive on Audioboom. Depending on which day of the guide you are on, just look out for the relevant lettering – D1 YC is the first day to Glencar and ST is the Sligo Town guide etc. Each episode will also have number in a linear fashion so D2 YC N16 to Glencar is the first one to look out for and D2 YC Rosses Point is the last episode from that section.
Prior to commencing this epic journey, please download the audio material in a WiFi zone so you can enjoy the audio even if you are in the back end of Leitrim or Lissadell! This route willd definitely have some patches with no signal whatsoever on your phone.
In addition, we have a created dedicated Spotify playlist for The Yeats Country Audio Guide having all the same great material, but with the addition of music to enhance the experience. Look out for our Donegal’s Hallowed Sites playlist on Spotify if you enjoy this guide.
- This page and each of its associated guides are accurate as of August 2022. Please inform us of any changes/errors or improvements that can be made to this guide in the future: firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you enjoyed this free guide, please share it on social media and if feeling extra generous, write a review in Tripadvisor. Thanks!
- If you did not enjoy it, we want to know as well – just don’t be too blunt in your assessment please!
- Scroll through the Spotify playlist – definitely the best way to enjoy it all with the addition of stars like W.H. Auden, The Waterboys et al.
- Have a great time – we wish you safe cycling/driving, good weather and an abundance of happy memories.
Heritage Guides division