Drumcliffe, (Droim Chliabh), (co-ordinates 54.3262 -8.4955) meaning “ridge of the baskets” is located about 12 kilometres north of Sligo Town on the main N15 road.
It mightn’t look like it would have much to interest the passing motorist, for there is no town or village, or even a concentration of buildings except for a church, a post office, a pub/restaurant and a small number of houses all set in the shadow of the beautiful Belbulben Mountain.
According to Ptolemy‘s map of Ireland, Drumcliffe was once a thriving town with as many as forty houses between the rectory gate and the round tower, a distance of only 150 metres, where today stands but a single house.
However, for a such a small place, there is a surprising amount of antiquities and visitor attractions just waiting to be explored.
The graveyard of St. Columba’s Church of Ireland church in Drumcliffe is the final resting place of the world famous Nobel Peace Prize winning poet William Butler Yeats, who died at the Hotel Idal Sjour, in Menton, France, and was buried in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France in January 1939. with his remains being brought home to Ireland by the Irish Naval Service and re-interred at Drumcliffe in 1948, with his headstone bearing the following phrase:
of life on death
horseman pass by
In 1923 William Butler Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first Irishman to be given the award.
The village is also famous for the 11th century Irish High Cross which stands in the grounds of the Drumcliff Graveyard. Across the road is the lesser known Round Tower and a hundred or so yards up the road is the very popular and highly recommended Yeats Tavern public house and restaurant, always a busy spot.
Saint Colmcille founded a monastery here in the 6th Century, though the only remains today are two High Crosses in the graveyard and across the road, the almost complete round tower (NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC), Sligo‘s only Round Tower, which dates from the 10th or 11th Century.
To get to Drumcliffe, simply drive North from Sligo Town on the N4 Inner Relief Road, onto the N15 road for Bundoran and Drumcliffe is only 5 or so miles away.