Friday, August 13, 2010

Galway, GORT, Yeats' home, Norman tower, County Galway. Thoor Ballylee


Thoor Ballylee, Gort.
County Galway
Tower Home of William Butler Yeats

Gort, Thoor Ballylee, Ireland, Yeats' Norman Tower home

Gort is a little town is some 22 miles south of the town of Galway, on the road from Shannon Airport.  William Butler Yeats made his home here, in a Norman tower; Coole Park is within a few miles, where Lady Gregory welcomed leaders of the Irish literary revival, see
The Normans arrived in Ireland in 1169, and at first ensconced themselves in the "motte and bailey" fortification, a created hill, with a timber dwelling at top, to house folk while the lower stockade was built for defense. Soon this kind of structure was abandoned, in favor of the stone tower, the tower house.  See http://www.ballybegvillage.com/tower_houses.html  They are seen all over Ireland, many, like this, still in use or museums.  There are several kinds of basic floor plans; and with the lack of a centralized government for so long, these were good defense against both Irish and English -- the Normans frequently slid to the Irish-sympathizer side, becoming the Anglo-Normans "Irish-ified."
.

Yeats lived with his wife and family in this Norman Tower at Gort, between Limerick and Galway. Its formal name is Thoor Ballylee.

There is a little sign on the road. It is furnished and a fine display. One room per floor, up and up. Is the side area part of an original L-shaped plan, or added?  Usually there was a celler, a main floor, and two floors of living areas above.  In the 12-14th centuries, the scale became larger, not smaller with a reduced risk of attack, and for status reasons. Then, in the 15th and 16th centuries, the stress again was put on defense. See the Detail Tower House site.

More on Yeats at Gort at http://all-ireland.com/attractions/t/thoor-ballylee.htm. See also http://gort.galway-ireland.ie/thoor-ballylee.htm

No comments: