Background: I grew up with stories of my father on his honeymoon on the west coast describing it as “a great place to go mad”. The route my parents chose is now the Wild Atlantic Way, so they were trendsetters in a way long long before their time in 1964!!! The poet Thoedore Roethke had a nervous breakdown here, on Inisbofin.
Its beauty lost on a farmers eye
Who honeymooned what is now the Wild Atlantic Way
Before tourism was much of a thing
Spoke of the western coast that distant day
To his young bride who saw both its beauty and his point
It was a phrase with which Ive grown
Of a place Ive grown to love
Its wild remoteness, overgrown.
I was not the first poet there
– For among its stones they are born, grow, and die –
I was not the first either to visit
There were other long before I
Today forgotten, more only known
Who know of a circle, follow works of a few…
All have their favourites, as have I
Of their lives and works above others knew.
To the west from the West he came
To the Old Land of centuries before
From which his forefathers once had left
Along with millions hopeful more.
The fighting muses got the better of his brain
He lost whatever senses he had
Carted off in a boat to Ballinasloe
Having found a great place to go mad!