Monday, 14 May 2012


Thoor Ballylee Castle - Haunted by ghost boy
Thoor Ballylee Castle, a fortified, 13th century Irish Norman tower built by the septs de Burgo, or Burke, lies in County Galway near the town of Gort located off the Galway-Ennis road.

In 1902, the tower became part of the Coole Estate, home of Lady Augusta Gregory, W.B (William Butler) Yeats  life-long friend.

On the estate, Coole House, where Lady Gregory lived, was the center for meetings for the Irish literary group, a group composed of a great number of preeminent figures of the day. Near this tower, in Coole Park, began the Irish Literary Revival.

As it is also known as Yeats’ Tower, in 1916 (or 1917), for £35, Yeats purchased the property because he was so enchanted with it and especially as it was located in a rural area.
From 1921 to 1929. Yeats and his family lived there as it was his monument and symbol.

As he had an affinity for the Irish language, Yeats dropped the term “castle” in naming the property and replaced it with “Thoor” (Túr), the Irish word for “tower”; thus, the place has been known as Thoor Ballylee. For twelve years, Thoor Ballylee was Yeats’ summer home as it was his country retreat. In a letter to a friend, he wrote, “Everything is so beautiful that to go elsewhere is to leave beauty behind.” Consequently, it is no wonder that Yeats was inspired and compelled to create literary works at Ballylee such as poems as “The Tower” and “Coole Park and Ballylee"

W.B Yeats - Paranormal believer

In 1929, Ballylee was abandoned as the Yeats family moved out and it fell to disuse and ruin.
 For the centenary of the Yeats’ birth, 1965, Ballylee was fully restored by the Kiltartan Society as Yeats Tower to appear as it was when he lived there and refitted as a Yeats museum containing a collection of first editions and items of furniture. The adjoining cottage is now a tea room and shop.

Yeats was a firm believer in the afterlife and was convinced that the tower was haunted by the ghost of an Anglo-Norman soldier. Several years later a curate was also convinced that an apparition wafted up and down the tower stairway, and was afraid to use the stairs at night. The curator’s pet dog seemed to share this fear as it would cringe as if seeing 50 terrifying in the downstairs rooms.

One summer’s afternoon in 1989 David Blinkthorne and his family arrived at Thoor Ballylee just as it was closing. They asked if they could photograph Yeats’s sitting room and the curator obliged and reopened the shutters of the room so that they could take their picture and explore the building.

When Mr Blinkthorne developed his prints the ghostly figure of a young boy could be seen in front of the camera. It has been suggested that the presence may have been Yeats son but to this day the boy’s identity remains unknown.

The ghostly boy known as `The Blinkthorne Ghost`.

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