3D Modelling Project “Thoor Ballylee: home of William Butler Yeats”_Part I

(Photo: Courtesy of Gavin Macallister)

As part of 3d Modelling, Analysis/Interpreting 3d Spaces module we focus on a project producing a 3d model of a cultural heritage concept. This team (Gavin, Justin and I) chose William Butler Yeats’s tower (a 16th century Hiberno-Norman tower house) within the framework of an imaginary museum context exhibition that we propose to reconstruct and display this 3d modelling work as a part of the centenary of W.B. Yeats and his family acquiring and residing in 1917 at Thoor Ballylee (County Galway, Ireland). The concept itself that should take into account how visitors can experience Yeat’s residence as well as its environs -of how the tower looks today- in order to be acquainted and navigated themselves into the last phase of occupation appears to be quite intriguing. Another reason for selecting this concept is due to the fact that the tower seems to be accustomed to being photographed from specific angles without much photo-documentation available from the interior, therefore, a good occasion to replicate it through connecting material from various sources (including architectural plans and writings, photographs and measurements) and much imagination where no material and photos exist.

(Photo: Courtesy of Gavin Macallister)

Our attempts finding material generally was quite tricky. We visited the National Library of Ireland and Yeat’s collection seeking for William A. Scott’s architectural drawings of the reconstruction in 1919 and photos from the interior of the Ballylee castle but in vain. Some of the given negative slides were missing and were protected by copyright anyway so they required a special request for capturing and re-use the sources. We decided, therefore, to visit the Irish Architectural Archive that is located in Dublin where we found photographs, old newspapers and collected records, and architectural plans from a preliminary survey for a restoration work of the architect Dermot O’ Toole in 1963. We photographed all the plans drawn in tracing papers that included all the floor plans on each level of the tower, architectural sections and elevations as well as some more detailed drawings for gothic window elevations.

Dermot O’ Toole floor plans (Hanley and Miller p.14)

Hanley, Mary and Liam Miller. Thoor Ballylee; home of William Butler Yeats. Edited by Liam Miller, a paper given by Mary Hanley to the Kiltartan Society in 1961. 2nd edition, Dolmen Press, Indiana University, 1977.