Yeats and Sligo

by Kevin Connolly with photographs by Alan Reevell

A distinctive exploration of the relationships between Sligo's landscape and the life and writings of W.B. Yeats. This unique book brings the reader on an illustrated journey of the biographical, geographical, and literary references to the city and county of Sligo and the surrounding area made during the lifetime and in the works of William Butler Yeats, one of Ireland's greatest poets.


Though W.B. Yeats was born in Sandymount in Dublin in 1865 and spent little of his adult life in the environs of Sligo, the poet himself maintained that Sligo was the domain of his childhood and the landscape of his poetic imagination for much of his life.

It was in Sligo that the young poet was first moved to explore the mysteries of the Celtic sagas and was inspired and excited by the riches contained within the folklore and tales that were vividly related to him by the people of Sligo.

The substance and subject matter of his poetry and other writings were to wander far from this part of the world and to explore other landscapes both real and imaginary, but Sligo remained with him throughout his life and in his final poems re-emerged as the spindle in the wheel of his creative and emotional existence as it turned full circle.

“This is a guide book with a difference – a brilliantly evocative twinning of the physical landscape of a county and the mental landscape of the great poet who imaginatively transformed it within his work. Kevin Connolly brings us on a succession of superbly described journeys through the Sligo landmarks that inspired Yeats. This book is astutely tuned to the nuances of landscape and of poetry, a tangible guide book that no visitor to Sligo and no lover of Yeats should be without.”

– Dermot Bolger

Kevin Connolly, author

Kevin Connolly grew up in Bailieborough, Co Cavan where hs was first introduced to the poetry of WB Yeats. In 1982, he opened the Winding Stair Bookshop and Café on Dublin’s quays and in 1995 opened a second Winding Stair in Sligo. Initially drawn to Sligo by the works of Yeats, making his first Yeats pilgrimage in 1979, he now has a home there. He sold the Winding Stair in 2005 and now lives in the USA.

Alan Reevell, photographer

Alan Reevell has lived in Sligo for most of the past twenty years where he worked on commercial photographic commissions and his own project. He now lives in South West England.