Thoor BallyLee/The Architectural Archives


TBL,on SketchUP

……… After our failure in the NLI,we hoped that someone as famous as Yeats architect Prof. William A Scott would have left some papers for posterity in Irish Architectural Archive,especially since Yeats was possibly his most famous client, but alas no. There were some scale drawings of bespoke furniture that Scott had designed, even scale models including a banquet table which was never built, and one page of a ground floor plan, the rest in its entirety appears as part of the Yeats collection. It was feeling like a dead end,then with thanks to the staff at the Irish Architectural Archive,who allowed us to broaden our search on the day;we came across all we needed and then some. In 1963 the Thoor BallyLee society began a rescue mission to restore the tower for Yeats centenary 1865/1965,the plans for the restorative work were drawn by Dermot O’Toole 1910/1970 who was born in Maynooth, there were 10 pages of extensive detailed scale drawings the project was alive again.We managed to capture the plans on a digital camera from AFF and hope to use them to create a respectable 3D model of the building with a little bit of desk research still to go,a trip to the site may still be required we wait and see…….

3d model building

In the second semester of are MA the opportunity arose in our 3d modelling module to form teams to create a model of our choice,once it was proven to be a viable option the desktop research commenced. At the outset Maria Z and I looked at the prospect of creating a model of the original carton house. It was quite plain and fairly straight forward,essentially a giant dolls house which suggested that we would have to replicate some of the interior or all of the exterior landscape. At this point two things happened, a booklet on W.B. Yeats Tower house, Thoor BallyLee was returned to the Computer lab and we gained an extra body in the form of Justin M,the Yeats Tower booklet contained a scaled floor plan of the tower and after some preliminary desktop research we three decided to take on the model of Thoor Ballylee as our project. I drafted our first email to the powers that be regarding Thoor BallyLee,(that’s worthy of Yeats himself). That was only the start,with thanks to Susan and Costas,a flurry of emails were sent to various parties with interests in Thoor BallyLee, to no avail. We returned to desk top research and the Yeats collection at the National Library of Ireland. As part of the Yeats collection a copy of the William A. Scott’s architectural drawings from the 1919 reconstruction were present amongst the miscellaneous papers. We arranged through researcher extraordinaire Neale Rooney that Maria, Justin and I would accompany him to visit the collection, we requested the papers in advance of our visit. On our arrival at the NLI there was some form of delay with lots of whispered discussions between staff members,the staff did all they could for us but to no avail, we were politely informed that the material we sought was copyright protected,we would have to contact the Yeats estate solicitors in London. This was a strange situation, Scott drew up the plans in 1919 and sent them for Yeats approval,the photographs used for surveying were taken by Scott’s assistant, Yeats had no hand or part in it.Yet here we were so close,and yet our luck was shortly to change for the better………….