The Lake Isle of Innisfree

Truly Land of Heart’s Desire

Traces of Yeats are inescapable in Sligo

‘IT’S ALL about Yeats these days,” said the man in the car park below Knocknarea. It was as if the older heroes of County Sligo were being consigned to the shadows while the marks of WBY were everywhere.

He had a point. At the gate to the pathway up the mountain where Queen Maeve is buried under a huge cairn of stones there is a modern sculpture, possibly a black sun, entitled The Wanderings of Oisín.

It’s No 1 on the Yeats Trail. Elsewhere you’ll find a stone beehive on the shore of Lough Gill opposite the famous Lake Isle of Innisfree; the outlines of flying birds cut out of sheet steel bordering Slish Wood; three marble fish surrounding a bench at Deerpark.

I could see no sign of who the sculptors are, which was a pity. The trail is an initiative of the Yeats Society, and I am sure they will give credit to the artists in due course.

Another artist whose work crops up around the county has national recognition this week: she has done the illustration for the current Christmas-New Year edition of the RTE Guide.

Annie West is her name, and her distinctive style is immediately recognisable on many of the information boards at beauty spots all over Sligo. There are witty little touches for those who look out for them, like the mischievous lake monster in a corner of Lough Gill…

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