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Drumcliff - Round Tower, High Cross and Yeats' Grave

A pocket of Ireland full of history ...

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Drumcliff Church

Drumcliff Church, County Sligo

© 2007 Bernd Biege licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Bottom Line

Drumcliff is easy to find. If you are driving from Sligo Town to Donegal, you will pass through Drumcliff. And you might want to stop, even though it is a "special interest" site only - but there are so diverse interests involved that it is worth a stop for everyone. You get a round tower, a high cross, a dead poet, a stunning view and a great snack ... beat this for value!

Pros

  • Stunning location at the foot of impressive Benbulben.
  • Round tower and high cross highlight early Christian heritage of site.
  • Simple grave of Irish poet W.B. Yeats.
  • Excellent coffee shop.

Cons

  • Ultimately a "special interest" site only, but still worth a stop if passing through.

Description

  • Drumcliff was an early Christian site, the stump of a round tower and an interesting high cross are reminders.
  • The monastery was founded by Saint Columcille (Columba) himself.
  • The location beneath Benbulben made Drumcliff a favorite spot for Irish poet W.B. Yeats.
  • Yeats' grave is located in Drumcliff churchyard.

Guide Review - Drumcliff - County Sligo

 

Drumcliff is on the tourist map for one reason only in most cases - Irish poet W.B. Yeats chose the tiny churchyard as his final resting place. He wanted to lie beneath Benbulben in eternity. And even composed his own epigraph, much-quoted today. But Drumcliff has much more than a dead poet to recommend a stop. Even though the grave of Yeats may not even be his ...

Indeed Yeats' grave is the one feature overlooked by many tourists. When you approach Drumcliff on the Donegal to Sligo road you will first notice the remains of a round tower. The massive stump is reputed to finally collapse when an intelligent man passes by - obviously these are in short supply.

On the other side of the road you will find an impressive high cross, set into the graveyard wall. The artist seems to have attempted to portray a camel on the cross, an unusual feature at the least. The other carvings are mostly in line with traditional design.

From the cross you can also admire the view towards Benbulben, the massive table mountain dominating the horizon towards the North. Continue towards the church and you will find Yeats' grave nearby, simple and well-tended. You will understand why he chose this place for his final rest. Another famous Drumcliff-ian is remembered with a poignant statue in the coach car park - Saint Columcille, who founded a monastary at Drumcliff in 574.

Finish of your visit in the small café between the church and the graveyard - reasonable prices and inventive paninis make for a satisfying snack experience.

 

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