By Lily Murphy

It is a poem championing a life of serenity on an island on Lough Gill and this December will mark the 130th anniversary of the publication of The Lake Isle of Innisfree.

The twelve line poem, from the pen of William Butler Yeats, made its debut on December 13th, 1890 when it was published in the National Observer.

The poem is a piece of work drenched in the aura of the Celtic Revival which Yeats himself was smothered in at the time.

The subject of the poem is a small uninhabited island located in the middle of Sligo’s fresh water lake, Lough Gill, but inspiration for the poem came far from the peaceful setting of the north west of Ireland.
One evening in 1888, while strolling down Fleet Street in London, a homesick Yeats was suddenly struck by a memory of his childhood.

Amid the hustle and bustle of the streets of London, Yeats noticed a fountain in a shop window and instantly turned his thoughts to the west of Ireland where his summers in Sligo as a child brought him much pleasure.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own