Clothes in Books took a holiday recently, and spent the time in Ireland.
Almost exactly three years ago, I did a blog entry on WB Yeats and his poem In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz – it’s on the blog here. It begins
The light of evening, Lissadell,-- and Lissadell, in County Sligo, was one of the places I visited this month, a house and estate with a very melancholy beauty.
Great windows open to the south,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.
This is the house:
And these are the windows:
And on the window below the two young women scratched their names, you can almost see them here…
Lissadell is the epitome of all the Anglo-Irish houses so often found in the novels of the 20th century: slightly faded round the edges, symbolic of a running battle with the climate and a lack of money.
They're just the kind of novels I like, and many have featured on the blog. In Kate O’Brien’s The Last of Summer, set at exactly this time of the year in 1939, it was the RC middle classes, preparing for the outbreak of WW2.
John Banville’s The Newton Letter is a small, perfect novella with an Irish house full of secrets, and the blog entry featured one of my favourite pictures:
There is also WG Sebald’s not-exactly-fiction Rings of Saturn: two women living in a big house, come on hard times, and making a beautiful dress out of scraps. Time to bring out this favourite dress picture:
And the old country estates are very much Molly Keane territory - as in this recent entry on The Rising Tide.
There’ll be more Irish-influenced and Yeats entries coming up on the blog soon…