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St Columba's Church of Ireland in Drumcliff
|Elevation||8 m (26 ft)|
|Irish Grid Reference||G675428|
Drumcliff or Drumcliffe (Irish: Droim Chliabh, meaning "ridge of the baskets") is a village in County Sligo, Ireland. It is 8 km (5 miles) north of Sligo town on the N15 road on a low gravel ridge between the mountain of Ben Bulben and Drumcliff bay. It is on the Drumcliff river, originally called the "Codnach", which drains Glencar Lake. The name Codnach means chief or princely river. The old name of Drumcliff was Cnoc na Teagh (trans. Hill of ). The village is one of several possible locations in Co. Sligo for the settlement of Nagnata as marked on Claudius Ptolemy's early map of Ireland.
An ancient poem in the Dinnsenchus (Lore of Places) tells how the baskets in the name refer to the wicker frames of a fleet of boats that was once made here.
St. Colmcille founded a monastery in Drumcliff in about 575.. The monastery was of such importance that it gave its name to the territory of Cairbre Drom Cliabh in which it resides. The first abbot was St. Mothorian.
Lord of Cairbre "Dunadhach, a noble protection, a famous man by whom hostages were held, A pious soldier of the race of Conn (lies interred) under hazel crosses at Drumcliff"
The annals tell us that in 1225, Amlaib O Beollain, erenach of Drumcliff, a man eminent for generosity and for his guest-house, died this year. The O'Beollain (Boland) were hereditary keepers of Drumcliff monastery.
1187 - Drumcliff was plundered by the son of Melaghlin O'Rourke, Lord of Hy-Briuin and Conmaicne, and by the son of Cathal O'Rourke, accompanied by the English of Meath. But God and St. Columbkille wrought a remarkable miracle in this instance; for the son of Melaghlin O'Rourke was killed in Conmaicne a fortnight afterwards, and the eyes of the son of Cathal O'Rourke were put out by O'Muldory (Flaherty) in revenge of Columbkille. One hundred and twenty of the son of Melaghlin's retainers were also killed throughout Conmaicne and Carbury of Drumcliff, through the miracles of God and St. Columbkille.
1355.1 - Conor Mac Consnava, Bishop of Bréifne Kilmore, from Drumcliff to Kells, died.
All that remains now is a Irish High Cross dating to the 9th century, and a ruined 10th or 11th century round tower, the only one known in County Sligo, The round tower was struck by lightning in 1396."Celtic High Cross at Drumcliff". Further decorated cross slabs are built into the walls of the current church.
William Butler Yeats
Drumcliff is the final resting place of the poet W. B. Yeats (1865–1939), who is buried in the graveyard of St. Columba's Church of Ireland church. Although Yeats died in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France in January 1939, his remains were brought home to Ireland by the Irish Naval Service and re-interred at Drumcliff in 1948 in the presence of a large number of local people and dignitaries which included the Minister for External Affairs, Seán MacBride, who represented the Government. His epitaph reads
"Cast a cold eye
On life on death
Horseman, pass by"
Yeats paternal grandfather was rector in Drumcliff as John Butler Yeats remarked in a letter to his son William in 1913: "My father, tho' a low Churchman, hated Presbyterianism and Presbyterians. Why? Because he knew like members of his own family the Catholic peasants of Drumcliff. In his time there were forty houses between the rectory gate and the round tower, now there is only one. In my grandfather's time he & the parish priest were friends. Maynooth did not exist, and the priest was educated in the liberal atmosphere of a French College, and possibly both of them read Voltaire and Gibbon. One of the peasants told me he remembered the priest getting up a bonfire to celebrate my grandfather's return to the parish from a protracted sojourn in Dublin".
The grave of W. B. Yeats in Drumcliff Cemetery
The round tower in Drumcliff
Celtic High cross in Drumcliff Cemetery
- Placenames Database of Ireland: Drumcliff/Droim Chliabh
- Foster, Roy (2003). W. B. Yeats: A Life, Vol. II: The Arch-Poet 1915–1939. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-818465-4.
- Drumcliff group of parishes (Church of Ireland)
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