Wednesday, 13 August 2014


Captured in 1989 - Is this the ghost of Yeats son?

Recently I was thumbing through an old book of Yeats' poetry, as one does on rainy, storm sodden nights, his particular brand of mysticism being well suited to such conditions. While trying to make sense of "The Tower" my mind wandered away to where he lived in Ireland before his death in 1939.

He fell in love with a bleak but beautifully atmospheric castle in Galway which had gradually fallen into ruins during the many centuries since its construction in the lawless times of the thirteenth century. Yeats bought it in 1916 for £35 and thus started a life-long enthusiasm which saw it being rebuilt into what is now a fairly stark tower within which is a narrow winding staircase. This is where our story begins.

Yeats believed strongly in ghosts and the afterlife and swore that he shared the tower with a Norman soldier, perhaps one of the original occupants. Further, this was supported by a more recent curator of the Yeats museum who frequently witnessed a strange shadowy figure gliding up and down the stairs, and whose dog showed extreme nervousness when night was falling. And, most surprising of all, in 1989 a Yeats enthusiast added to the ghostly stories. He had arrived at the tower late in the afternoon when the doors were being shut for the night. The curator, being a kindly soul, allowed him in and left him to take his photographs. But, when these were later developed (in the pre-digital age this took about 2 weeks), there was a strange shadowy figure of a young boy by the window. This was most surprising because the photographer was alone. After much examination, it was generally believed that this ghost was Yeats' son.

The castle is called Thoor Ballylee and is certainly worth a visit ... preferably on a wind tossed winter evening when it is easy to transport yourself back to a more primitive, sensory era. And you will get the added stimulation of revelling in the environment which so inspired one of the giants of the twentieth century.

Written by:  PJ_Cadavori

Source: WesternGazette



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