Drumcliff & Rosses

By W. B. Yeats

Drumcliff and Rosses were, are and ever shall be, please Heaven! places of unearthly resort. I have lived near by them and in them, time after time, and have gathered thus many a crumb of faery lore.

Rosses is a sea-dividing, sandy plain, covered with short grass, like a green table-cloth and lying in the foam mid-way between the round cairn-headed Knocknarea and Benbulben, famous for hawks.

At the northern corner of Rosses is a little promontory of sand and rocks and grass. A mournful, haunted place. No wise peasant would fall asleep under its low cliff, for he who sleeps here may wake silly, the good people having carried off his soul. There is no more ready short-cut to the dim kingdom than this plovery headland, for, covered and smothered now from sight by mounds of sand, a long cave goes thither full of gold and silver, and the most beautiful parlours and drawing rooms!

Once, before the sand covered it, a dog strayed in, and was heard yelping helplessly deep underground in a fort inland. These forts or raths, made before modern history had begun, cover all Rosses and all Columkille.

A few hundred yards southwards of the northern angle of Rosses is another angle having also its cave, though this one is not covered with sand. About 20 years ago, a brig was wrecked nearby, and three or four fishermen were put to watch the deserted hulk through the darkness. At midnight they saw, sitting on a stone at the cave's mouth, two red-capped fiddlers fiddling with all their might. The men fled. A great crowd of villagers rushed down to the cave to see the fiddlers, but the creatures had gone.