LivingTravelDrumcliff - See a Round Tower, Tall Cross, and...

Drumcliff – See a Round Tower, Tall Cross, and Yeats' Tomb

Drumcliff is generally easy to find. If you drive from Sligo Town on the main road to Donegal, you will go through Drumcliff (sort of). Blink and you’ll miss it, as the main buildings are in fact some farms, a pub, a round tower stump, and a church.

And here in the church, you might want to stop, even if it’s just a “special interest” site. But rest assured, there are so many diverse interests involved that almost everyone is worth a stop. You get a round tower (well, the remains of it), a tall cross, a dead poet, a stunning view, and a great snack. Beat this for value!

Drumcliff in a nutshell

How would you describe Drumcliff in the most concise way? Well, perhaps mentioning the following. Drumcliff occupies an impressive place at the foot of the impressive Benbulben, not far from the Atlantic coast. The remains of the round tower and the elaborately carved high cross highlight the area’s early Christian heritage. There is the simple grave of the Irish poet WBYeats. There is an excellent cafeteria. Ultimately, you’ll have to be interested in at least one of these, but it’s still worth a stop if you’re passing through, if only for a tea and a muffin.

Historic cliff

Drumcliff was an early Christian site, as can still be discerned today. The still impressive stump of a round tower, plus an interesting tall cross, are reminders that there was once a monastic complex here, now rudely crossed by the main road. This has been a holy place for centuries before WBYeats added their personal touch. In fact, the monastery was founded by Saint Columcille (Columba) himself, one of Ireland’s leading saints.

Later, the location below Benbulben made Drumcliff a favorite haunt for the Irish poet WBYeats, who longed to stay forever. Therefore, Yeats’ grave is located today in Drumcliff Cemetery.

A Brief Review of Drumcliff

Drumcliff is, in many cases, on the tourist map for only one reason: the mystical and mystical Irish poet WBYeats, who wrote about the area and chose the small cemetery as his final resting place. He wanted to lie under Benbulben in eternity. He even composed this in his own caption, much quoted today.

But Drumcliff has much more than a dead poet to recommend a stop. To top it off, Yeats’s grave may not even be his… but that’s another story.

In fact, Yeats’ Tomb is the feature most likely to be overlooked by many tourists. As you approach Drumcliff on the way from Donegal to Sligo, you will first notice the remains of a round tower. The massive stump has a reputation for finally collapsing when an intelligent man passes by (these are obviously in short supply). On the other hand, I always feel a little tremor in the ancient ruins when I am around.

Across the road, within the boundaries of the former monastic site, and now almost a part of the cemetery wall, you will find an impressive tall cross, placed on the wall of the cemetery. With a large number of very fine carvings depicting scenes from the Bible, this is a so-called “cross of Scripture.” The artist even appears to have attempted to portray a camel on a panel, an unusual feature at least. You wonder where you’ve seen a camel before. Was it in an illuminated manuscript or did it travel well?

However, the other sizes are in line with the traditional design.

From the cross, you can also admire the view towards Benbulben, the huge table mountain that dominates the horizon to the north. Continue to the church and you will find Yeats’s grave nearby, simple and well-kept. You will understand why you chose this place for your final rest. Another famous Drumcliff-ian is remembered with a moving statue near the bus parking lot: Saint Columcille, who founded a monastery in Drumcliff in 574.

The end of your visit is the little café between the church and the cemetery, whose reasonable prices and ingenious paninis make for a satisfying snack experience.

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