The townland of Ballylee (Baile-an-Liagh, Baile ui Laoi) was at the time part of the Gregory estate, and Yeats had begun collecting folklore with Lady Gregory in the area in 1897. Yeats had told some of these stories to George Russell before September 18987 when Russell published (inaccurately) some of this Ballylee folklore. Yeats’s first visit to the tower would have been between late June and mid-November 1898, and he immediately ‘possessed’ it in his imagination, writing in 1916 that ‘[f]or years I have coveted Ballylee Castle’. In the summer/autumn of 1898, Yeats and Russell had spent time seeing visions in the nearby Lydicaun Castle, a similar Norman tower house, though uninhabitable. Ballylee, at the time was occupied by Patrick Spellman, Master of the Loughrea Workhouse, and Yeats returned there again in the summer of 1899. Russell’s 1901 visit is not recorded by Lady Gregory in her diary.