The Kiltartan Society will meet at Duras House Kinvara, on Sunday next to celebrate the first anniversary of the rebirth of this romantic house, which was presented to the nation as a Youth Hostel by Denis and Adrian Elrill of Limerick.
A paper will be read entitled “The colourful de Basterots 1793-1904.” In “Dramatis Personae” Yeats wrote:
I first spoke to Lady Gregory in the grounds of a little country house at Duras, on the sea-coast, where Galway ends and Clare begins (1897). She had brought me to see the only person in Galway, perhaps I should say in Ireland, who was in any sense her friend – Florimond Count de Basterot. In his garden, under his friendly eyes, the Irish National Theatre, though not under that name, was born.”
Happily, since last year, a plaque commemorates that historic meeting. Lady Gregory wrote that her son and his young friends liked to go out in a hooker at Duras and see the seals showing their heads, or to paddle delicately among the jelly-fish on the beach. It was a pleasant place to pass an idle day.
When Count de Basterot died in 1904, Lady Gregory wrote:
I know that there is many a prayer said on the roads between Kinvara and Burren and Curranrue and Ballinderreen for him who was never without a bag of money to give in charity, and who always had a heart for the poor.
Guy de Maupassant and Paul Bourget, two eminent French writers of his day, spent holidays with the Count in this remote spot near Kinvara.