Romantic literature and poetry

For such a tiny island, Ireland has more than its fair share of Nobel Prize winning writers – W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney- and those who were not awarded a Nobel, but probably deserved one anyway – Oscar Wilde and J.M. Synge to name just two. But the tag of true romantic tragic must surely belong to Yeats, defined by his life-long unrequited love for the stunning Maud Gonne.

Sligo City has a building dedicated to W.B. Yeats for it was in County Sligo which Yeats spent so many happy years – both of his boyhood and his later life. Here you can view displays which show the many periods in the life of this poet, dramatist, politician and Irish Patriot. The most compelling story of all, however, is the one of his longing for the red-headed beauty Maud Gonne – an even fiercer patriot who dedicated her time to fighting for a free Ireland. Yeats met Gonne when he was just xx. He proposed four times, she refused each time, and in desperation he proposed to her daughter, Iseult. Luckily she also declined and he finally found contentment when he married Miss George Hyde-Lees in 1917. The tumult felt by Yeats when he first met Maud Gonne is captured in his famous poem, The Song of Wandering Aengus.

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