APRIL 19th 2017

The next step for my colleagues and I in relation to our 3-D project on Thoor Ballylee/Yeats Tower was to gather data on textures. After a lot of online searching and discussions with our project supervisor we decided that the photos that we had were good, but lacked textural information.  Our group was divided on this issue, and discussions began about whether it might be a good idea to travel to Gort, Co. Galway and visit Thoor Ballylee in person.  Due to time constraints and assignment deadlines, there was a real fear that going there might be a waste of time.  In my opinion, travelling to Gort to visit the Tower was burdensome due to time/assignment issues, but on the other hand I felt it would be beneficial to our project in the long run.  So we eventually decided to take the journey to Gort.  I really wanted to get a sense of perspective whilst there, and visualise, touch and photograph the many textures such as slating, pebble-dash and limestone that were used in the Tower’s construction.  In addition, I wanted to use my own images in this blog post and our project presentation which would include my colleagues and I.

The trip to Gort was roughly 1:55 minutes long from Maynooth University.  So I met my project colleagues at 09:30 am to ensure an early start, and we set off on our fact-finding journey.

Google Maps

We arrived there at about 11:45 am after initially getting lost.  The photographs that I seen on Flickr and other online sites do not do the site at Thoor Ballylee justice!  One can certainly imagine how such a place could have inspired W.B. Yeats in his poetic writings.  Yeats’ muses radiate in the wonderful scenery that encircle the Tower.  The Tower itself is much bigger than I had envisaged,  and the additional buildings that are attached to the

Photograph by Justin Martin & Gavin MacCallister

the Tower cover a larger area than the photographs suggested.  So our decision to visit the Tower seems entirely justified.

We organised ourselves and began taking photographs and measurements of the bridge that leads up to the Tower and of the Tower itself and the cottages that are attached to it.  The weather was dull, but the rain held off, making our job easy and enjoyable.

Photograph by Gavin MacCallister.

The  only incident that hampered our progress was the many tourists that appeared there whilst we were trying to take photographs. What should have taken an hour, turned into two and a half hours, but it was still enjoyable, none the less.  When we finished taking all our photographs and measurements, we posed for personal photographs to use on our blogs and impending presentations. I feel that our trip to Thoor Ballylee was beneficial for many reasons, primarily for the information regarding our 3-D project, but also to get a real life sense of this amazing place.

Photograph by Justin Martin

The experience of being there and absorbing its aura is far removed from building a 3-D model of the Tower using solely photographs from the internet. This haunting place has left a long-lasting impression on me and I know that some day I will go back again!


MARCH 14th 2017

After   some  deliberations   with  my  project   colleagues  we decided that  the  best course of action to take in order to collect information regarding Thoor Ballylee/Yeats Tower  was to search the online catalogue of the Architectural Archives on Merrion Square, Dublin 2.    I did in-fact  find   a   number  of     useful    books,  paper   clippings

Source: Architectural Archives

and engravings for Yeats Tower and a lovely model sized replica table that sits in one of the rooms of the tower.  After discovering these items I called the Irish Architectural Archive to arrange an appointment for the 14th of March 2017.  Gavin, Maria and I met at a cafe beside Pearse Street train station and walked up to Architectural offices in Merrion Square for our 11:00 am appointment.  When we arrived there, we put our coats and bags in the lockers provided in the basement cloakroom and made our way to the reception.  I filled out my details on a registration form   and   received    my

Irish Architectural Reader’s card

reader’s card from the staff member. He then kindly brought out the materials I had requested by phone.  The staff member brought out a periodical called Thoughts on Thoor Ballylee by Joseph M. Hassett (1986); a pamphlet which had illustrations and pen and ink sketch plans of Thoor Ballylee by Liam Miller & Mary Hanley (1977) and a book called the W.B. Yeats’ Banqueting Table by Oliver Hennessy (1993).  In addition to the reading and illustrative material, the archive also had a replica scale model of a table that adorns one of the tower’s rooms.  We searched through all the material and photographed all the relevant illustrations that might help us with scale and texture of the tower.

Gavin suggested that we ask the staff member on duty about the possibility of the archive having architectural plans from a refurbishment of the Tower in 1963 by the architect Dermot O’Toole.

Photo taken by Gavin MacCallister.

This   was a long-shot, but we needed more information on the Tower, if we were to be successful in our project.  The staff member checked for us and to our astonishment, the archive did have the plans. We immediately set up our camera and unrolled the plans on the table.  We took turns taking the photos of all the refurbishment plans and uploaded the RAW images to our laptop to use at at a later date.  Then we rolled the plans back up and gathered all our reading material together and returned them to the staff member at the reception and left the archive.