Just 20 minutes from Raheen Woods Hotel, is where you'll find the beautiful Coole Park, formerly the estate of Lady Gregory but now a 1,000 acre nature reserve.
Coole Park estate was once the home of Lady Augusta Gregory who was pivotal to the Irish literary revival and was co-founder of the Abbey Theatre. Coole house was a focal point for many meetings about Irish literature which were attended by George Bernard Shaw, J M Synge, Seán O Casey & William Butler Yeats.
Coole park was often referred to in stories & poem and W.B Yeats was so inspired by the beauty & tranquillity here that he wrote a poem called ''The Wild Swans At Coole''.
In 1927 the house & estate were sold to the state and the house was demolished, but today, visitors can still see the beauty of the estate, the woods, the lakes, the nature trails, the walled garden & lots more.
Make sure you take a close look at the large Copper Beech tree in the walled garden, also known as the ''Autograph Tree'' as it bears the initials of Yeats, Shaw, Synge & Douglas Hyde & of course Lady Gregory's initials.
The most unique features of Coole Park are the Tourloughs (seasonal lakes or also called disappearing lakes) which are said to be the best examples of Tourloughs in the world.
As you strolla round Coole Park you will see different types of animals & mammals in their natural environments. Coole Park is also an important sanctuary for birds, especially Winter water foul.
At Coole Park you will also find a very informative & eduactional Visitor's Center & tea rooms. The park is open all year round and there is free admission to the grounds, so its a great day out for the family.
For opening times please check out the official Coole Park website.
These woods have been well loved, well tended by some who came before me, and my affection has been no less than theirs. The generations of trees have been my care, my comforters. Their companionship has often brought me peace.” – Lady Gregory, Coole, 1931
The Wild Swans at Coole
BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
The trees are in their autumn beauty, The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water, Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones, Are nine-and-fifty swans.
The nineteenth autumn has come upon me, Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished, All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings, Upon their clamorous wings.
I have looked upon those brilliant creatures, And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight, The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head, Trod with a lighter tread.
Unwearied still, lover by lover, They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air; Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.
But now they drift on the still water, Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build, By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day, To find they have flown away?