How Innisfree got its name

The Lake Isle of Innisfree By W B Yates

William Yeats

The Innisfree name continues to have a very strong recognition factor, particularly for Irish people who associate it with the poem written by Irishman W.B. Yeats in 1888 – the Lake Isle of Innisfree.

What’s not so well known is how good a fit the connection is for Innisfree as a London Irish organisation, set up to provide homes for Irish emigrants, far from their own birthplace.

Yeats wrote the poem while living in London himself and the story goes that he was prompted by seeing the water of a fountain to bring to mind the waters around the uninhabited island of Innisfree, in Lough Gill, in his home County of Sligo – it’s the longing for home that’s an experience shared by many emigrants.

The poem sets out the intention to make a home on the island  “…and a small cabin build there…” but also reflects on the reality of still being in the city, imagining the sounds of the lake water lapping  “While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core.”

We were honoured to have Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall, read the poem for us in the garden of our housing scheme for Irish Elders, Clochar Court – watch it back here.