The Thoor Ballylee Yeats Exhibition opened by Guest of Honour Sabina Coyne Higgins.
Sabina Coyne Higgins, wife of the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, and in her own right an actress and dedicated supporter of theatre and the arts, opened the inaugural Yeats Exhibition at Thoor Ballylee on Saturday 18th June 2016. A native of Mayo, Sabina Coyne Higgins has a close relationship with Yeats and western culture as co-founder of the pioneering Focus theatre, and through her work with the Lyric Theatre Belfast, a theatre with a history of staging W.B. Yeats’s plays and those of his brother Jack B. Yeats, as well her long association with Druid Theatre, An Taibhdhearc, and other Galway theatre groups.
Since the Tower flooded last winter it seemed unimaginable that the beauty and tranquility of this special place would be enjoyed so soon again. However through the sheer hard work and dedication of the local community and the generous support of local and international donors Thoor Ballylee re-opened with a bang for another summer season. Special guests Joseph Hassett, Yeats Scholar & Thoor Benefactor, Fidelma Healy Eames, Chair of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, and Councillor Michael Connolly all gave speeches for the exhibition launch. The event included local music from Gort Comhaltas and refreshments.
Using material from NUIG’s “Yeats and the West” Exhibition, and UCD’s “Yeats and His Muses” Exhibition (conceived and produced by Dr Joseph Hassett), Dr Adrian Paterson, Lecturer in English at NUI Galway has curated a new exhibition for the Tower which explores Yeats’s relationship with the people and places that most inspired his work. The Thoor Ballylee Yeats exhibition looks at the culture of the west, its crafts, stories, and songs; the central importance of the women in his life, most especially of his wife George; his talented family and long history of artistic collaborations, and in particular his close connections with the landscapes and people of County Galway, with Coole Park and with Thoor Ballylee.
A series of family and cultural events takes place over summer 2016 to honour Yeats’s memory, his heritage, and his links with the literary revival and with 1916. The Tower and Exhibition will be open to visitors throughout the summer from 10am to 6pm Monday – Sunday.