Coole is at the centre of a rare and complex wetland system that is considered to be of global importance. The system includes underground rivers, seasonal lakes (turloughs), springs and swallow holes. Situated in the low-lying karstic limestone region west of Gort, Co Galway the nature reserve covers an area of approximately 400 hectares (1000 acres) where wetland and woodland meet.
Coole Park, in the early 20th century, was the centre of the Irish Literary Revival. William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, John Millington Synge and Sean O’ Casey all came to experience its magic. They and many others carved their initials on the Autograph Tree, an old Copper beech still standing in the walled garden today.
At that time it was home to Lady Gregory, dramatist and folklorist. She is perhaps best known as a co-founder of the Abbey Theatre with Edward Martyn of nearby Tullira Castle and Nobel prizewinning poet William Butler Yeats. The seven woods celebrated by W.B. Yeats are part of the many kilometres of nature trails taking in woods, river, turlough, bare limestone and Coole lake.
“The beauty, the romance of our Seven Woods,
the mysteries of the ebbing and flowing lake are dear to me,
have been well loved, and are now in hands
that will care and tend them it is likely for ever”
– Lady Gregory, 26th May 1929
At Coole, we invite you to investigate for yourself the magic and serenity of this unique landscape. Although the house no longer stands, you can still appreciate the environment that drew so many here. You will experience the natural world that Yeats captured in his poetry. Through this website, you can learn about this special place and its wildlife, as well as Gregory family history and literary connections.