Famous poet William Butler Yeats chose the courtyard at St. Columba’s church of Ireland in Drumcliff as his final resting place. The church yard is a peaceful location that lies in the shadow of Benbulben mountain and Yeats’ paternal grandfather was also a rector here.
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 as it was his wish to rest:
“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!”
His grave can be found in the church yard marked with a simple headstone and the inscription he requested; ”Cast a cold eye On life, on death. Horseman, pass by”.
The area also has the remains of a round tower and a high cross constructed in the 11th when there was a Christian monastery on site. The monastery was founded by Saint Columcille (Columba) in 574 who is also commemorated here with a statue located in the church yard.