The Northwest Sights

Lissadell House

  • Garden/Arboretum
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 01/10/2017

Fodor's Review

Standing beside the Atlantic waters of Drumcliff Bay, on the peninsula that juts out between Donegal and Sligo bays, Lissadell is an austere but classical residence built in 1834 by Sir Robert Gore-Booth. In 2014 after a prolonged legal dispute over public rights of way and a five-year closure, the lavishly restored house (to the tune of €9 million) reopened to visitors and has reestablished itself as the leading attraction in the Northwest and highlight of the Wild Atlantic Way coastal driving route. The house was designed by the London architect Francis Goodwin. Two of its most notable features are a dramatic 33-foot-high gallery, with 24-foot-tall Doric columns, clerestory windows, and skylights. Lissadell was the ancestral home of the Gore-Booth family, whose members Eva and Constance were close friends of W. B. Yeats. The house became a holiday retreat for the poet and a copy of his poem "In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markievicz" is on display. Constance Gore-Booth, who later

became Countess Markievicz, fought in the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin. She was the first woman to be elected to the House of Commons (although she did not take her seat) and later became the first female member of the Dáil (Irish Parliament). A fascinating exhibition features her paintings and letters. The Yeats Gallery, opened by Leonard Cohen after staging a concert in the grounds in 2010, contains first editions, letters, paintings, drawings, and photographs relating to the work of W. B., his brother Jack, father John, and sisters Lily and Lolly. Elsewhere, the rooms are a storehouse of family archives and cultural treasures: one is crammed with the exhibits of Henry Gore-Booth’s expedition to the Arctic in search of a friend. The walled Victorian kitchen garden, created in 1841, now showcases heritage vegetables and fruit similar to those grown in its heyday. A staggering 180 varieties of potatoes—one was first grown here in the 19th century—are lovingly tended.

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Sight Information

Address:

Lissadell, Ballinfull, Sligo, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Phone:

071-916–3150

Published 01/10/2017

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