Friday, 22 May 2015

Gore Booth Heraldry Lissadell - Drumcliff

This year sees the 150th Birthday of William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) being celebrated on June 13th 2015.

A week later the Society on its all-day excursion will visit some of the sites associated with the poet in Co Sligo and Parkes Castle will also be visited.

The well-known gravestone of Yeats at Drumcliffe

The recent visit of Prince Charles also focused attention on Co Sligo and the places associated with Yeats.

The Interior of St Columba's Church Drumcliffe

WB Yeats wrote his own epitaph in his poem “Under Ben Bulben” which describes the location and the church, the last three lines are inscribed on his tombstone:

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!”

St Columba's Church, Drumcliffe

Further Information of Yeats 150 is found at:

It is claimed that St. Colmcille (Columba) founded a monastery in Drumcliffe ca.575 A.D., although modern scholarship now claims that a monastery was founded much later here.

The village of Drumcliffe (also known as Drumcliff) is famous for its Irish high cross dating to the 9th-10th Century that stands in the grounds of the former abbey. In addition, across the road from the church and high cross is the stump of a round tower. The monastery was plundered by Maelseachlain O'Rourke in 1187. 

Round Tower at Drumcliffe

High Cross at Drumcliffe (East Face).

On the east face are Adam and Eve, David cuts off the head of Goliath, above a lion. At bottom of the head is Daniel in the Lion's Den. The scene at the centre of the head may represent the Last Judgement. (Irish High Crosses with the figure sculptures explained by Peter Harbison, 1994, page 50). Some of this detail differs from that on the Duchas notice board at Drumcliffe.

High Cross at Drumcliffe, (West Face).

The three figures at the bottom could represent the Holy Family or Elizabeth, Zacharias and John the Baptist. Above the camel there is possibly the scene of the mocking of Christ. Below the head of the cross could be the holy family returning from Egypt and at the centre of the head is the Crucifixion (Harbison).

Lissadell House is a neo-classical Greek revivalist style country house,

The house was built between 1830 to 1835, and inhabited from 1833 onwards, for Sir Robert Gore-Booth, 4th Baronet (1784-1835) by London architect Francis Goodwin. In 1876, Sir Robert left the house and surrounding estate to his son, Sir Henry Gore-Booth, 5th Baronet.

The house was the childhood home of Irish revolutionary, Constance Gore-Booth, her sister the poet and suffragist, Eva Gore-Booth and their siblings, Mabel Gore-Booth, Mordaunt Gore-Booth and Josslyn Gore-Booth. It was also the sometime holiday retreat of the poet, William Butler Yeats. He made the house famous with the opening lines of his poem:

Yeats made the house famous with the opening lines of his poem:

'In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz'

The light of evening, Lissadell,
Great windows open to the south,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.

Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy with Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall at Lissadell on 20 May 2015

'In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz'

The light of evening, Lissadell,
Great windows open to the south,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.
But a raving autumn shears
Blossom from the summer's wreath;
The older is condemned to death,
Pardoned, drags out lonely years
Conspiring among the ignorant.
I know not what the younger dreams--
Some vague Utopia--and she seems,
When withered old and skeleton-gaunt,
An image of such politics.
Many a time I think to seek
One or the other out and speak
Of that old Georgian mansion, mix
pictures of the mind, recall
That table and the talk of youth,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.

Dear shadows, now you know it all,
All the folly of a fight
With a common wrong or right.
The innocent and the beautiful.
Have no enemy but time;
Arise and bid me strike a match
And strike another till time catch;
Should the conflagration climb,
Run till all the sages know.
We the great gazebo built,
They convicted us of guilt;
Bid me strike a match and blow.

The coat of arms of Gore-Booth

This armorial that came on sale in 2013 could well be associated with Countess Markiewicz or rather her ancestors. The first quarter contains the quartered arms of Gore and Booth.

Booth: argent three boars heads couped sable
Gore gules a fesse between three crosses crosslet fitche or

Sir Nathaniel Gore married Laetitia Booth and their son

Sir Booth Gore (1712-17730 (1st Baronet) married Emilia Newcomen, daughter of Brabazon Newcomen and Arabella Lambert.

The arms of Newcomen are:
Argent a lions head erased sable langued gules between three crescents gules.

The arms of Lambert are argent threes roses gules and perhaps the arms in the quarter of green (vert) background and three gold roses (or) reflect those of Lambert. 

The arms containing the three birds could well be for Brabazon, eventhough the tinctures differ. 


Rising three storeys tall, in an idyllic setting on the banks of Lough Gill, Parke's Castle is a plantation a era castle. In 1610 Roger Parke completed his fortified manor house on the site of an earlier fifteenth-century O'Rourke castle. He kept the walls of the original bawn - a spacious pentagonal defensive area - and demolished the O'Rourke tower house in the centre. The stones of O’Rourke’s tower were used to build the three-storey manor on the eastern side, eventually adorned with mullioned windows and diamond-shaped chimneys.

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