I will arise and go now

Me holding up Sligo - image credit David O'Hara

I’m still busy working on my ‘Wild Atlantic Wayfarer’ photo exhibition. Last week I got to visit the Isle of Innisfree, as made famous by the poet WB Yeats. I’ve wanted to go for a long time so it was great to finally get the opportunity. I went along with Eddie, who runs Lough Gill Tours, he brings people all around the lake in his boat, stopping at the various islands and places along the shore if they wish.

Lough Gill Tours

It’s just a short trip across Lough Gill to the Isle of Innisfree, and it’s a wonderful way to see Sligo and see it from a different angle. It was also quite fitting for me to go there as this year is a year of celebration for Yeats, not just in Sligo but also worldwide. You can check out Yeats 2015 for more details.

Isle of Innisfree

Eddie took me over to the island and let me go off wandering on my own, although I wasn’t totally on my own as Eddie’s dog Crusty came along to keep me company.


The island is very overgrown and I was meant to stick to the paths but I never do anything I’m told so I followed Crusty…of course I’m not as agile as a dog so I fell on my backside (no surprise there!) and frightened the life out of a duck who was hiding in the bushes! When I eventually got up (after laying like a turtle for about ten minutes) I realised the fall had cured my sciatica! So that was a bit of luck.


When you get to the highest point of the island you can see across to Sligo with Knocknarea and Queen Maeve’s cairn as the backdrop.

Arch of trees

Before I went onto the Isle of Innisfree I always thought that the poem was meant to be about either Church Island of Beezie’s Island (both also in Lough Gill), as I thought the Isle of Innisfree was very small and nondescript but after being on the island I’m now convinced William Butler did write about Innisfree.


I was walking in the bee-loud glade and I could hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore. Peace did come dropping slow and noon was a purple glow.

Noon a purple glow

I felt totally relaxed as I made my way around the island, enjoying the tranquility and feeling the magic in the air, as I walked among the wild flowers.

Wild flowers

To make my trip complete David O’Hara from SUP for all told me more about the poem the Isle of Innisfree and recited it for me. You can watch the video below.

My thanks to Eddie from Lough Gill Tours and David from SUP for all for their kindness.

Thanks to the Hawk’s Well Theatre for inviting me to have the exhibition and LookWest.ie for partnering me.


2 thoughts on “I will arise and go now

Add yours

  1. I wish I could have gone on this adventure with you, Val, though you’d not have been ‘alone in the bee-loud glade’ then. Thanks for sharing this about my all-time favourite poem and for clearing up the confusion as to which island he was actually writing about!

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