Leaving the Oyster Festival at Clarenbridge I was delighted to return to a place which has a cherished position in Irish Culture, Coole Park,Co. Galway, the seat of the remarkable Augusta Gregory handmaiden of the Irish Literary Revival, Founder of the Abbey Theatre and muse to the poet William Butler Yeats who wrote five poems about or set in the house and grounds: "The Wild Swans at Coole", "I walked among the seven woods of Coole", "In the Seven Woods", "Coole Park, 1929" and "Coole Park and Ballylee, 1931". Disgracefully in 1941 Coole House, then in the ownership of the Irish State, was demolished on “economic grounds” in an act of wanton philistinism. Happily hindsight today has not tried to defend this act and as well as the magical Coole Lake where the “Wild Swans” congregate each autumn the “Seven Woods” interspersed with turloughs (seasonal Karst lakes) lend the grounds an appropriate mythical quality.
Coole Park outside Gort in County Galway was the home of Lady Augusta Gregory, dramatist and co-founder with Edward Martyn and W.B. Years of the Abbey Theatre. The area is also a National Nature Reserve due to its great wildlife importance - its native woodlands and turloughs. The visitor centre uses multimedia presentations, models, exhibitions and audio visual to inform the visitor of both the natural and literary heritage of the area.