“Under bare Ben Bulben’s head In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid…
Yeats’ Grave at Drumcliff Church
Famous poet William Butler Yeats chose the courtyard at St. Columba’s church of Ireland in Drumcliff as his final resting place. The church yard is a peaceful location that lies in the shadow of Benbulben mountain and Yeats’ paternal grandfather was also a rector here.
Although Yeats died in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France in January 1939, his remains were brought home to Ireland by the Irish Naval Service and re-interred at Drumcliff in 1948 as it was his wish to rest:
“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!”
His grave can be found in the church yard marked with a simple headstone and the inscription he requested; ” Cast a cold eye On life, on death. Horseman, pass by”.
The area also has the remains of a round tower and a high cross constructed in the 11th when there was a Christian monastery on site. The monastery was founded by Saint Columcille (Columba) in 574 who is also commemorated here with a statue located in the church yard.