'The Lake at Coole' Oil on Canvas. Patricia Kavanagh
I'm very fortunate to live quite close to this wonderful amenity Coole Park where I recently spent a wonderful summer's day with some artist friends. We met up early in the morning and scattered in different directions to find what each of us wanted to paint or sketch. I found myself strolling in the direction of the lake and as I walked along the path I was captivated by the view which inspired Yeats to write these words many years ago:
THE WILD SWANS AT COOLE
The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine and fifty swans.
The park which is located near Gort in south Co Galway was once the home of Lady Augusta Gregory, dramatist, folklorist and co-founder of the Abbey Theatre with Edward Martyn of Tullira Castle and Nobel prize-winning poet William Butler Yeats. Coole Park, in the early 20th century, was the centre of the Irish Literary Revival. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, John Millington Synge and Sean O' Casey all came to experience its magic. They and many others carved their initials on the Autograph Tree, an old beech still standing today. Although the house no longer stands, one can still appreciate the surroundings that originally drew so many here.