Walking in the Burren Lowlands

Walking in the Burren Lowlands

The Burren Lowlands is an area of great cultural and landscape heritage stretching from the Slieve Aughty mts on one side to the Burren highlands of Carron in Clare on the other side, and from Kilcolgan to Crusheen north to south. It is area of special flora and fauna and has Coole park at the centre of it. It has winter lakes and round towers, treasures of the church at Klmacduagh and treasures of the Literary Revival at Coole Park , Kiltartan Museum and Thoor Balllyee as well Dun Guaire Tower in Kinvara . Now it is possible again to visit many of these locations of interest in a wonderful day trip with an approved guide who will bring all alive again in these treasured Lowlands

Coole Park Demesne is a very interesting place to visit with its exotic Asian trees , its ancient forest , a Nature Reserve of 1000 acres , a lake with swans that inspired a poem, as well as a Walled Garden with: Autograph tree , sculpture , Sun Dial , Flowers a covered seated enclosure , Pine Trees , and a wall tribute to Lady Gregory. This was the home of Lady Gregory, folklorist, dramatist, and planter of trees, co-founder of the Abbey Theatre with  Edward Martyn of Tulira Castle , as well as Nobel Prize winner WB Yeats . It is a joy to explore this landscape with the chance of seeing a red squirrel or swallows nesting, or butterflies in summer. The tour guide can read some of the immortal lines that were written about this place location, when you visit if you choose this vista into the past.

Kiltartan Gregory Museum

Situated at the Kiltartan Cross , this redbrick building was made famous by the Yeats poem “An Irish Airman Forsees his Death , which was written about Lady Gregory’s son Robert who died in Jan 1918 There is a special tribute to him there with his painting , as well as many memorabilia,  manuscripts and paintings of Lady Gregory’s family and the Abbey Theatre . It has a rich collection of artifacts from that era , especially crafts practiced at that time. It is under the supervision of Rena Allen and Sr Delores Fahy . They can be contacted at renaallen@eircom.net & deloresfahy@gamil.com .

Thoor Ballylee Tower & Museum .

This fourteenth Century Hiberno -Norman Tower was described as the most important poetic building in Ireland by fellow Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney as it was rebuilt by WB Yeats and his wife , George Hyde Lees in 1918 and was there home and locus for the vast and rich repertoire of the nations memory stored in Galway until 1928  His collections called the Tower and later the Winding Stair are a testimony to the inspiration he found there . His poems have gone around the world like wind and are now quoted by statesmen and presidents alike and revered as some of the finest of its time. He celebrated each phase of the nations struggle for freedom with, the Literary Revival by the founding of the Abbey Theatre, as well staging plays at the Hawks Well in Sligo. His poems named:  Easter 1916 , Sailing to Byzantium , The Irish Airman…. , his seer qualities in Gift of H al Rashid ,  Coole Park 1929 ,are all poems of quality ,famous even to the end with  Circus Animals Desertion.  For opening times please contact: renallen@ericom.net / or for guided tours galwaypoetrytours@gmail.com

Kilmacduagh Leaning Tower and Abbey Ruins

This 13 th Century Augustinian Abbey has many fine features in the five ruins of churches there, as well as the famous Round Tower. It has many Celtic crosses, and historic architectural features, as the leaning Round Tower is the largest in Ireland and seen from a great distance over the landscape. It was built as a signal tower during the threat of the Viking seaborne raiders around the year 1000. There is an information board at the fine Parking site near the church ruins which describes the historical importance of the Kilmacduagh church and the place of burial of St Colman . This place is peaceful and serene with only the sounds of pigeons building nests in the tower in Spring time. It is still used as a local cemetery and so respect should be given to grave sites located there .Contact Tripadvisor  for more information on Things to Do in Gort  as it  many great reviews there as well if you are interested in this site  . A detailed map can be had at the house across from the cemetery.

Dun Guaire Tower in Kinvara .

This Tower was originally built by O’Hynes Clan in 1520 but they were forced out after one hundred years in 1620 by The Martyn family. It is still remembered as the Castle of King Guaire as he was the ancient King Of Connacht around the year 600  ,who ruled all Connacht for forty years then and was a  vey generous man especially to church men at Easter, when legend has it that his whole banquet went out mysteriously to his fasting brother in the hills nearby at Easter . Richard Og Martyn became Mayor of Galway and was responsible for building the Spanish Arch as a defensive unit for the city. In the modern time Oliver St John Gogarty owned it and placed a new roof there and dined with WB Yeats and Lady Gregory. WB Yeats wished to recall the history of the generous King Guaire and wrote a play called “The Kings Threshold “to remember the power of the Bards in that era , who were always welcome here by King Guaire. . Today there is a Medieval Banquet that treats visitors to a sumptuous feast of mead and roasts while entertaining with harp and song. The banquet needs to be booked with Shannon Heritage.

James F Walsh   08/04/21

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