Augusta Persse, at Roxborough House eight miles from Coole
in County Galway, the house which was burned during the
Irish Civil War, 1921 stood in a 6,000 acre estate. She
was the youngest daughter of Dudley and Frances Presse,
she was educated at home, her future life was influenced
by her nanny Mary Sheridan, a Catholic who introduced
her to the history and legends of the local area and also
to the Irish language. Roxborough House unlike other great
houses of the time did not have a library and her mother
because of her adherence to a strict evangelical Protestant,
doctrine forbade her to read novels until she was 18
On 4 March 1880 at the age of 28 she married
Sir William Henry Gregory, a widower 35 years her senior.
He had returned home to Coole house after serving as Governor of
Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Sir William Gregory was a well educated
man, his home Coole Park had a well stocked library which the new
Lady Gregory put to good use. He also had a house in London in which
the couple spent a considerable time, entertaining on a weekly basis
many leading literary and artistic figures of the time including
Robert Browning, Lord Tennyson, John Everett Millais and Henry James.
The couple had one son Robert Gregory born
on 20th May 1881, Robert was tragically killed while serving as
a pilot during threw First World war, this event inspired W B Yeates
to write the poems "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death"
and "In Memory of Major Robert Gregory"
After the death of Lord Gregory in 1882 Lady
Gregory threw herself wholeheartedly into the study of Irish literature
and folklore, she taught herself Irish by visiting local people
and talking to them, while doing this she collected stories and
traditions. She wrote poems, short stories and about 40 plays. It
was in no small way thanks to her that Dublin's Abbey theater was
formed. Her journals written between 1916-30 were published in 1946.
She was a generous woman possessed of great
energy and talent, she died in 1932 and is buried in the new cemetery