Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Strolling along the track beside the ‘Flaggy Shore’ at the edge of the Burren I noticed amongst the usual gathering of utilitarian sea-side villas an older, more interesting building. Hoping to learn more about it I took a few snapshots. My casual interest has been well rewarded.
Mount Vernon was built in 1788 for Colonel William Persse, a friend of John Wesley and George Washington who is reputed to have sent seed or plants for the fine trees yet living in the garden. Persse named his new house after Washington’s Virginia home.
Later the house was owned by Sir Hugh Lane who, in 1908, established Dublin’s first public gallery of modern art. When Sir Hugh, a passenger on the ill-fated Lusitania (Torpedoed by a german submarine in May 1915.), drowned the house passed to his aunt, Lady Augusta Gregory a leading light of Ireland’s cultural renaissance and confidante of George Russell (AE), J. M. Synge, G. B. Shaw and W. B. Yeats. Lady Augusta gave the house to her artist son, Robert, who was killed while serving with the RFC in France. Yeats’ poem “An Irish Airman Foresees his Death” has immortalised the event.
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death
I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
The house is now run as a country house style B&B which I have investigated through trip advisor. From what I have read there particularly the negative comments which say rather more about the disgruntled guests than they do about Mount Vernon, I believe I might enjoy a few days stay at there when I next visit Ireland.