Originally designed by Richard Cassels and bult in the 1730s, Hazelwood House was the home of the Wynne family until the early 20th century.
They left a valuable and lasting legacy to the community in the form of the magnificent house and forest which comprises both native and non-native tree plantations and sits alongside the shoreline of Lough Gill. Hazelwood House is one of a very few surviving Palladian style houses in Ireland that was not altered with changing fashions but instead was extended while retaining its original structure. That is why it is of such national importance.
Located along the scenic shoreline of Lough Gill, the forest at Hazelwood is referred to by Yeats in this poem.
from The Wind among the Reeds (1899)
The Song of Wandering Aengus
I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
Yeats wrote this poem as he struggled with his unrequited love for Maud Gonne, whom he first met in 1889. She became his muse. Yeats was saddened by her rejection of his many proposals. This resulted in some of his most passionate poetry. In 1917 W.B. Yeats married Georgie Hyde-Lees and they had two children, Anne and Michael.
The installation at Hazelwood is located in possibly its most scenic setting, overlooking the lake at Half Moon Bay, with views towards the Ballygawley Mountains and Slish Wood. It was designed by artist Noel Molloy, who says that “the Hazelwood figure is to represent wandering Aengus , who still yearns and searches for the girl he once saw, with broken heart and hollow hands. The frame of the figure shows the way Hazelwood grows while depicting his emptiness.”