Innisfree, an island in Lough Gill, County Galway, N. Ireland. Photograph Copyright Kenneth Allen, originally posted on the Geograph website, and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).

The subject of the famous poem, "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" by W. B. Yeats (1865-1939). Still in his early twenties, and living in London in the winter of 1888, Yeats experienced a sharp pang of home-sickness for his Irish homeland:

I had still the ambition, formed in Sligo in my teens, of living in imitation of Thoreau on Innisfree, a little island in Lough Gill, and when walking through Fleet Street very homesick I heard a little tinkle of water and saw a fountain in a shop-window which balanced a little ball upon its jet, and began to remember lake water.

From the sudden remembrance came my poem Innisfree, my first lyric with anything in its rhythm of my own music. [Autobiographies 153]

Related Material


Yeats, W. B. Autobiographies. London: Macmillan, 1955.

Created 7 July 2021