Our name is something we’re often asked about.

Why did we choose it?

What’s the inspiration behind it?

What does it mean?

It’s something we’re particularly proud of and is inspired by ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’, an epic romantic allegory by one of Ireland’s greatest romantic poets, W.B. Yeats. Wing upon wing, the swans climb the air with unstoppable movement and energy – it reflects our philosophy of living life to the full, enjoying every moment and finding beauty in an ever-changing world.

While our brand was created and developed in Ireland, it isn’t a stereotype – more a product borne from local ingredients, inspired by the country’s passion and developed to exceed all standards.

10 facts about the legendary Yeats*

Born in Ireland in 1865, William Butler Yeats began writing at age seventeen.

He is known as Ireland’s most famous poet and a prolific and leading figure of 20th century literature. But even if you studied some of his poems at school we bet there’s a lot you don’t know about the life of this extraordinary man.

1: Early works

After moving to London in 1867, William was educated at home before joining the Godolphin school in 1877. His family moved back to Dublin towards the end of 1880 where he carried on studying at the Erasmus Smith High School in Dublin. His first words were penned between 1884 and 1886 while he attended the Metropolitan School of Art at Dublin’s Thomas Street – and his first ever publications featured in the Dublin University Review in 1885.

2: An Olympian Brother

W.B. Yeats was one of six children of John Butler Yeats and his wife Susan Mary Pollexfen. Two of the children died during infancy but his brother, Jack Butler Yeats, was a well-respected painter who won a silver medal at the 1925 Summer Olympics – making him Ireland’s first Olympic medallist. Yeats also had two sisters, Elizabeth and Susan Mary, who were both involved in the Arts and Crafts movement between 1880 and 1910.

3: Co-founder of the “tragic generation”

Yeats began his work as a professional writer in London in 1887. A whole new world opened up for him and he got the opportunity to meet artists and writers, including George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde. In 1890, Yeats co-founded the Rhymers’ Club along with Welsh-English writer Ernest Rhys. Known as the “Tragic generation”, the group included well-known poets who gathered to discuss and recite their poetry.

4: His inspiration

During childhood, Yeats spent a lot of time on the west coast of Ireland in Sligo.

The stunning scenery and folklore of the area inspired him to write many of his works. Yeats’s poetry was initially influenced by P.B. Shelley and later William Blake.

And if you ever wondered how his writing came to feature spiritual and mythical elements, it’s worth noting that he was also a member of The Golden Dawn, an organisation devoted to the occult, metaphysics, and paranormal activities; and The Ghost Club, a paranormal investigation and research organisation.

5: The Tower – a monumental collection of work

Yeats first collection of poems was called The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems. First published in 1889, it was this that earned him a reputation as a writer.

As he grew older, his work evolved and his most famous and influential volume is The Tower which was published in 1928. Check it out for some of his most famous works, including poems such as Sailing to Byzantium, Leda and the Swan and Among School Children.

6: Co- founder of the Abbey theatre

W.B. Yeats, together with several other writers, co-founded the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. The theatre opened in December 1904 and is still famous as the National Theatre of Ireland. Yeats contributed to it as a playwright and a few of his more famous plays include The Land of Heart’s Desire, Cathleen ni Houlihan, The Countess Cathleen and The Resurrection.

 7: An unrequited love

Maud Gonne was an English-born Irish revolutionary, suffragette and actress who Yeats fell deeply in love with. He met Maud in 1889, but she refused his marriage proposal – not just once, but FIVE times. Despite this, Maud Gonne proved to be a major figure in Yeats life, providing inspiration for much of his work, including two plays; The Countess Cathleen and Cathleen ni Houlihan. Yeats is one of the few poets who have celebrated a woman’s beauty to the extent that he did in his lyric verse about Gonne.

 8: Married life

In September 1917, a 52-year old Yeats proposed to 25-year old Georgie Hyde-Lees. After only a few weeks, fast by today’s standards, they married in October in a public registry office. Aware that her new husband was feeling down about being rejected by Maud Gonne so many times (and who could blame him?), she started to experiment with automatic writing to occupy him. This method was commonly used by occultists where they let go of conscious thought, while holding a writing utensil over paper. They then act as a medium, either for one’s own subconscious thoughts, or the thoughts of some spirit communicating through them** (These days it’s probably easier to pass the time binge watching on Netflix).

9: The first Irish Nobel Laureate

Yeats was a dedicated Irish Nationalist and in 1922, on the foundation of the Irish Free State, he was appointed a member of the new Irish Senate, serving as a senator for six years. In December 1923, W.B. Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Yeats considered the honour as more a recognition of Irish literature, than an individual prize. We created a cocktail to celebrate this great achievement: The 1923, which combines crème de menthe, sambuca, Coole Swan and chocolate for a refreshingly different taste.

10: Ireland’s best loved poet

Some of Yeats greatest works were written after he turned 50. And even though he suffered ill health in his later years, he still remained very active (romantically as well as creatively). He died at the Hôtel Idéal Séjour, in Menton, France, on 28 January 1939 at the age of 74. In an ironic twist of fate, Yeats’ body was brought back to Ireland in 1948 by Sean MacBride, the son of Maud Gonne, his long term unrequited love.

In 1999, a poll was held to determine Ireland’s 100 favourite poems of all time. The list featured seven works by Yeats in the top 10, with his poem The Lake Isle of Inisfree taking the number one spot.

The poem that inspired our name was written in Coole Park, County Galway between 1916 and 1917. We hope you enjoy it.

 

The Wild Swans at Coole, by William Butler Yeats

The trees are in their autumn beauty,

The woodland paths are dry,

Under the October twilight the water

Mirrors a still sky;

Upon the brimming water among the stones

Are nine-and-fifty swans.

 

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me

Since I first made my count;

I saw, before I had well finished,

All suddenly mount

And scatter wheeling in great broken rings

Upon their clamorous wings.

 

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,

And now my heart is sore.

All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,

The first time on this shore,

The bell-beat of their wings above my head,

Trod with a lighter tread.

 

Unwearied still, lover by lover,

They paddle in the cold

Companionable streams or climb the air;

Their hearts have not grown old;

Passion or conquest, wander where they will,

Attend upon them still.

 

But now they drift on the still water,

Mysterious, beautiful;

Among what rushes will they build,

By what lake’s edge or pool

Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day

To find they have flown away?

 

Raise a glass to our inspirational muse

As our own tribute to the literary giant, we’ve developed a special cocktail in his honour. Emulating his soft writing style, we’ve used gin, a drop of salted caramel and soda water for slight effervescence alongside Coole Swan. The Wild Swan’s Return is both smooth and refreshing, served in a rocks glass and garnished with an orange wheel and a sprig of  lavender.

 

 

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