Development project on UTV

The Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society development project is the subject of a feature news item on UTV.


The video (see link) describes the local and international significance of the tower and features Colm Farrell and Sister De Lourdes Fahy, who recount family memories of the poet:

‘For many people, W.B. Yeats is commonly associated with Co Sligo but it was in fact in Co Galway that the famous poet spent thirty summers and penned some of his most memorable work.

Speaking to UTV Ireland, Sister De Lourdes Fahy of the Thoor Ballylee Society said: “My people owned quite a bit of land around the castle and they used to supply the Yeats family with milk.

“Very often my father brought Yeats down in the pony-and-trap from Thoor Ballylee down to Coole Park. He did not talk, he didn’t have much in common with young farmers. He loved writing about peasants and fishermen but in actual fact he found it difficult to relate to them.

“I suppose he was composing poetry all the time,” she added.

The locals are now facing a much more ambitious plan – to raise one million euro by June, the 150th anniversary of his birth.

“It’s our goal to restore the tower, re-open it and develop it into a world-class cultural centre to honour his memory, his heritage, his poetry, his links with this area – and his links with lots of other literary figures, around the Literary Revival, around 1916,” said chair of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames.’

Yeats & Facial Expression exhibition

Facial Expression: an exhibition celebrating the human face

From portraiture to caricature the human face has remained central to visual expression.This show features the work of Illustrators Ireland members exploring this theme.

The exhibition features this image of W.B.Yeats and Thoor Ballylee in charcoal by Brian Gallagher, a study for a woodcut produced especially for the Yeats2015 celebrations, coinciding with the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society development project.


The Facial Expression exhibition is to be opened by iconic photographer
John Minihan
Thursday 26th February @ 8pm

The United Arts Club
3 Upper Fitzwilliam St
Dublin 2

Exhibition continues until 14th March 2015
Viewing Tues to Friday 11am to 11pm

Development project launch media

The Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society development project launch continues to provoke interest. Included here is a video of Ronnie O’Gorman speaking at the launch about Yeats’s purchase of the tower, its history, and its vital importance to Yeats’s own poetry. He draws attention to Thomas Sturge Moore’s wonderful cover for Yeats’s seminal volume The Tower (1928), featuring an image of Thoor Ballylee reflected in water (things above are as things below) which is the inspiration for the Society’s logo. Also included is an image of the poster for the launch in situ in Gort. Details of how to donate online will be made available shortly.





Project Launch Press


The 2015 project launch by the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society features in the national press, including the Irish Times and the Sunday Business Post. Here is an article by Lorna Siggins in the Irish Times.

Irish Times










Read more…

Here is the text from a Sunday Business Post article (this link is behind a paywall):

Sunday Business Post

The Sunday Business Post article (this link is behind a paywall):

Bid to raise €1m for Yeats’ Galway tower
The Sunday Business Post | Sunday, February 08, 2015
Copyright 2015 Post Publications Ltd

A €1 million fundraiser has been launched to re-open WB Yeats’ tower, which has been closed for the past six years.The Nobel Prize-winning poet spent summers with his family in Thoor Ballylee outside Gort in Galway and was inspired to write some of his finest poetry there. But it has been closed to visitors since the ground floor was flooded in 2009 by the nearby river.

Now a new €1 million fundraising campaign has been launched to re-open the tower in time for the 150th anniversary of Yeats’ birth in June.

Fine Gael senator Fidelma Healy-Eames said the funding was needed to rewire the tower, install a bathroom and hire staff. She said there were also plans to develop a cafe in the adjacent cottage and have a writer-in-residence.

“Our goal is that we would achieve the €1 million in two years and then we would have a viable entity that Galway County Council would take over,” she said.

Yeats bought the ruined 15th century Anglo-Norman tower in 1916 for £35 and had it refurbished by his friend, the architect William A Scott. He used it as a holiday home for his family during the summer. It inspired two of his key poetry collections, The Tower (1928), and The Winding Stair (1933), which was named after the stairs in the tower.

The tower is owned by the state, but the Office of Public Works has said that it does not have the funds to run it as a tourist attraction.

The local community group, the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, has been given a licence to fundraise for the reopening of the tower. Due to the risk of flooding, it is planning to leave the first floor of the tower empty and put all facilities on the upper floors.

A spokeswoman for Arts Minister Heather Humphreys said she would welcome the re-opening of the tower.

“The department has informed Fáilte Ireland that it will provide any guidance or other advice which would help to facilitate the transfer of the monument to a suitable third party and inform its refurbishment so that visitor facilities would once again be available at the site,” she said.


Project Launch

The Yeats Thoor Ballyllee Society launches the restoration project at 8pm Friday 6th February, Lady Gregory Hotel, Gort, Galway, Ireland.

Thoor Flyer1

The Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society is a community group which aims to open a worldclass cultural centre in W.B. Yeats’s home: Thoor Ballylee, in South County Galway, Ireland. Our aim is to achieve this in time for the poet’s 150th anniversary in 2015 attracting and inspiring visitors from around the world.

How can I help?

As a local community group, we need your help to kick-start this vital project. Come along to our public meetings, attend our cultural events, volunteer to help, and spread the word: follow our website, like our facebook page, and, most of all, tell your friends about the project.

Contact us

Please look around our website to find out more, read updates on our progress, learn about the tower and its history, join in discussions, make donations, and discover exciting sponsorship opportunities.