Drumcliffe is in an area of exceptional scenic beauty and has religious associations stretching back to the very dawn of Christianity in Ireland.
Drumcliffe was the scene of the epic 6th. century, Battle of the Books, involving St. Columba.
The area is best known as the last resting place of the great poet W. B. Yeats whose great-grandfather was rector there in the early 19th. Century.
The rich culture and history of the Church and Drumcliffe is related via an audio-visual presentation in St. Columba's Church (1809). A visitor centre is located nearby.
High Cross of Drumcliffe, County Sligo.
The 11th. century, sculptured High Cross of Drumcliffe
is of hard sandstone, containing a large proportion of quartz, close-grained and difficult to cut. It is 13 foot high, 3 foot 8 inches at the cross arms and nearly 12 inches thick, tapering to 10 inches at the top.
A sculpture erected by the Drumcliffe Development Association, captures the peacefulness and solitude of Drumcliffe.
The sculpture, by Jackie Mckenna, features a figure in bronze with stone surround, called: ‘He wishes for the cloths of heaven’ (WB Yeats)
The grave of poet W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)
is close to the doorway of
St. Columba's Parish Church, Drumcliffe.
The poet died in France during the 2nd. World War and could not be interred at Drumcliffe until 1948. The following epitaph was written by Yeats himself :
Under bare Ben Bulben's head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago, a church stands near,
By the road an ancient cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase;
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!