Thoor Ballylee to open with the help of generous donation

Thoor Ballylee, W.B. Yeats’s ancestral home in Gort, Co. Galway is to re-open in June after it was affected by the 2015 floods. Today, the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society is  delighted also to acknowledge a generous $10,000 donation from former US Senator Chris Dodd.

Dodd portrait color edited

Former US senator Chris Dodd

Senator Dodd’s donation arrived at an ideal time as it has given not only the necessary financial support but also an injection of energy and confidence to re-open Thoor Ballylee for another great cultural and educational season. Thoor Ballylee will officially re-open to the public for the June bank holiday weekend. On Saturday 18 of June, two new Thoor Ballylee exhibitions will be unveiled by another generous US benefactor Joseph Hassett.

Thoor Ballylee May 2016

Thoor Ballylee May 2016

As Thoor Ballylee, W.B. Yeats’s ancestral home in Co. Galway, prepares to re-open its doors to the public, the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society acknowledges a generous $10,000 donation from former US Senator Chris Dodd. Without such generous support from Senator Dodd and the American Ireland Fund Thoor Ballylee would not be able to open its doors to the multitude of Yeats enthusiasts and tourists who visit it every year.

Since the tower re-opened last summer, 3,500 people from all over the world have visited Thoor Ballylee to experience at first hand Yeats’s source of inspiration, his family home and the beautiful landscape that stretches to Coole Park and on to the Burren. However, the tower was submerged in water after last winter’s widespread flooding, which affected many parts of the West of Ireland. The local committee had the foresight to strip the tower and recover its contents before the water rose. Thoor Ballylee is obviously a resilent structure and has withstood the floods. All is far from being in ‘ruin once again’! Many volunteers and local tradesmen have been busy restoring the tower to pristine condition. Senator Dodd’s donation ensures that Thoor Ballylee will open for another great cultural and educational season.

Thoor Ballylee will officially re-open to the public for the June bank holiday weekend. On Saturday 18th of June, two new Thoor exhibitions will be unveiled. Over the summer, a series of events will be organised that will honour Yeats’s memory, his heritage and his links with the literary revival and with 1916.

We rely on public and private funding to maintain this incredible project. All donations are welcome on https://yeatsthoorballylee.org/donate

More About Thoor Ballylee

Ireland’s Nobel Laureate for poetry, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) spent his summers in Thoor Ballylee, where the landscape and spirit infused so much of his poetry. In 1928, Yeats published The Tower followed by The Winding Stair in 1933. Both collections were inspired by the life, landscape, and architecture of the place, and feature many poems set and composed at Thoor Ballylee.

In 2014, a local community group, the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society leased Thoor Ballylee from Fáilte Ireland to develop it into a cultural centre. It was re-opened on June 13th 2015 in time for the Yeats 150th Anniversary. Though floods again affected Thoor in the winter of 2015-16, the Society is continuing to undertake a national and international fundraising effort to support the ambitious project. The tower will once again re-open in June 2016.

 

Yeats & the West Closing Event @ The Model: Pearse, MacNeill, the Revival & the Rising

Romanticism & Realism: 

Pearse, MacNeill, the Revival & the Rising

Public Talk 

with

Mary Harris, NUI Galway

6pm Thursday 12 May

The Model Theatre, Sligo

followed by

Exhibition closing wine reception

All welcome!

May 1935 Rose Tree

This talk observes how a cultural revolution became a real revolution. It also examines  personalities and politics that more than any others shaped Irish history. Patrick Pearse and Eoin MacNeill were collaborators in the Gaelic League, writers, thinkers and educators working together on An Claidheamh Soluis; fatally, they disagreed over the preparation and timing for armed rebellion. Pearse’s plays drew upon ancient myth to openly demand revolution; MacNeill’s historical studies produced Phases of Irish History and Celtic Ireland. Was it simply romanticism vs realism? Looking back on the Easter Rising and the foundation of the Free State, W.B. Yeats suggested that ‘the modern literature of Ireland, and indeed all that stir of thought which prepared for the Anglo-Irish war, began when Parnell fell from power in 1891. A disillusioned and embittered Ireland turned from parliamentary politics; an event was conceived; and the race began, as I think, to be troubled by that event’s long gestation’. Looking back from one hundred years on, this talk considers the period’s complex interconnections of culture, literature and history, and asks how that ‘stir of thought’ at once created and limited the gestation and flowering of the decisive events of 1916.

Mary Harris pic

Dr Mary Harris is Senior Lecturer in History at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She was born in Cork and is a graduate of UCC, proceeding to Cambridge for her PhD which led to her monograph The Catholic Church and the Foundation of the Northern Irish State (Cork University Press, 1993).

Mary has worked as a secondary school teacher in Cork and Grenada, West Indies.  From 1992-6 she taught Irish Studies at the University of North London.  Since 1996 she has been in the discipline of History at the National University of Ireland, Galway.  Her teaching and research focus is on modern Irish history, and she has published widely in this area. She is currently working on a book on Eoin MacNeill.

Mary is co-ordinator of NUI Galway’s programme commemorating the 1916 Rising and is a member of the Irish government’s expert advisory group on commemoration.

Dr Mary Harris appears in conversation with the curator of Yeats & the West, and Lecturer in English at NUI Galway, Dr Adrian Paterson. The talk is followed by a wine reception for the exhibition closing at the Model, honouring NUI Galway alumni, who include the illustrious collector and donor to the Model Nora Niland.

Donal Tinney – Chairperson of The Model, Dr Adrian Paterson – NUI Galway and curator of the exhibition and Senator Susan O'Keeffe, at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly 24MAR16

Donal Tinney – Chairperson of The Model, Dr Adrian Paterson – NUI Galway and curator of the exhibition and Senator Susan O’Keeffe, at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo.
Photo: James Connolly
24MAR16

Yeats and the West logo

Yeats & the West Exhibition Tours & Talks

Curators Tours 1pm. Public Talks 6pm.

Free entry

 The Model, Sligo

Tours Thursday at 1pm

Tours of the exhibition from the curators take place every Thursday at 1pm.  Find out what makes art and poetry so close, and observe the connection of books, and music, drama, and discover never before seen rare books and fine art from the collections of NUI Galway and The Model. Come and get an inside view of the crafts and cultures that made a western revolution.

Emer McGarry, Acting Director, The Model, Cllr. Thomas Healy, Dr Jim Browne , President of NUI Galway, Martin Enright, President of Yeats Society, Sligo, Dr Adrian Paterson, NUI Galway, and curator of the exhibition, Senator Susan O'Keeffe, Ciaran Hayes, Sligo County Manager, Barry Houlihan, NUIG, Donal Tinney, Chairperson of The Model, and John Cox, NUIG, at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly 24MAR16

Emer McGarry, Acting Director, The Model, Cllr. Thomas Healy, Dr Jim Browne , President of NUI Galway, Martin Enright, President of Yeats Society, Sligo, Dr Adrian Paterson, NUI Galway, and curator of the exhibition, Senator Susan O’Keeffe, Ciaran Hayes, Sligo County Manager, Barry Houlihan, NUIG, Donal Tinney, Chairperson of The Model, and John Cox, NUIG, at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo.
Photo: James Connolly
24MAR16

Talks Thursdays at 6pm

This series of talks on Yeats’s connection to the west and beyond takes us inside the makings of a western cultural revolution. Talks from experts in the field range from exploring the pioneering art and craftwork of the Yeats family to W.B.Yeats’s own life and loves, considering his some of his most controversial and sexy poems; they reveal the extraordinary plays of his brother, the artist Jack B. Yeats, and alongside the Model Gallery’s newly unveiled Broadside collection, showcase his design and print work; and they weigh the wider forces that turned a cultural revolution into a real one.

Speakers include the curators of the exhibition Dr Adrian Paterson and Barry Houlihan (NUI Galway), Professor Adrian Frazier (NUI Galway), Professor Margaret Mills Harper (University of Limerick and outgoing Director of the Yeats International Summer School), Dr Hilary Pyle (former Yeats Curator at National Gallery of Ireland), Dr Ian Walsh (NUI Galway), Dr Mary Harris (NUI Galway).

Yeats and the West logo

All talks take place every Thursday at 6pm in the Model Theatre.

7 April – ‘Lake Isles, River Eyots: making Innisfree with the Yeats family’

Adrian Paterson, English, NUI Galway

14 April – ‘A Disturbing Influence: Maud Gonne in the life of W.B. Yeats’

Adrian Frazier, English, NUI Galway

21 April – ‘Jack B. Yeats’s A Broadside: a sheaf of ballads or a battery of guns?’

Hilary Pyle, former Yeats Curator at the National Gallery of Ireland

28 April – ‘W.B. Yeats and the Problem of Crazy Jane’

Margaret Mills Harper, University of Limerick, & outgoing Director of the Yeats International Summer School

5 May – ‘A Vaudeville of Frustration: The Theatre of Jack B. Yeats’.

Ian Walsh, Centre for Drama Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway

12 May – ‘Romanticism and Realism: Pearse, MacNeill, the Revival and the Rising’

Mary Harris, History, NUI Galway

For schools events Thursdays  enquire schoolvisits@nuigalway.ie

The Model opening hours

Tues-Sat: 10am – 5.30pm

Thurs: 10am – 8pm

Sun: 12 – 5pm

Mon: Closed

Yeats and the West logo

Talk at Yeats & the West: The Theatre of Jack B. Yeats

A Vaudeville of Frustration: The Theatre of Jack B. Yeats

Public Talk

with

Dr Ian Walsh, NUI Galway

6pm Thursday 5 May

The Model Theatre, Sligo

La La Noo (2)

Alongside The Model’s Niland collection, and the exhibitions Yeats & the West and A Broadside this talk uncovers the rarely-read and even more rarely-performed plays of Jack B. Yeats, Ireland’s greatest painter. Beginning with children’s miniature theatre productions, voiced and written by the artist and for which he drew and designed stage, set, and characters with piratical cast, Jack B. Yeats always aimed athwart at conventional theatre. He developed an idiosyncratic theatrical voice that was both distinctive, and distinctively modernist, not quite like anything ever seen or heard in or out of the theatre. Despite Jack Yeats’s earlier close association with J.M.Synge, plays that were not accepted by his brother’s Abbey Theatre found a further life alongside his brother’s at Mary O’Malley’s Lyric Theatre Belfast. From Harlequin’s Positions and In Sand to The Green Wave and La La Noo, Jack Yeats’s drama engages directly with his artistic practice, often referencing his paintings and broadsides, and directly influenced Beckett’s absurdist dramaturgy.

Lyric Yeats brothers copy

Ian Walsh is Lecturer in Drama, Theatre, and Performance at NUI Galway. His monograph Experimental Irish Theatre After W.B Yeats was published in 2012 by Palgrave Macmillan. In 2015 his collection The Theatre of Enda Walsh co-edited with Mary Caulfield was released, the first critical collection on the plays and films of Enda Walsh. He has published widely on Irish theatre and has given invited talks across Ireland, Germany and the United States. Ian is also preparing a monograph on Popular Irish Theatre. Professional directing credits include Purple Path to the Poppy Field ( Hora Prima, 2006) and The Magic Flute (2011), Orfeo Ed Eurydice (2010), Riders to the Sea and The Wandering Scholar (2009) all for DLR Glasthule Opera.

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Ian Walsh appears in conversation with the curator of Yeats & the West, and Archivist in the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway, Barry Houlihan.

Dr Adrian Paterson, NUI Galway, and curator of the exhibition, Donal Tinney, Chairperson of The Model, John Cox, NUIG, and Barry Houlihan, NUIG, at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly 24MAR16

Dr Adrian Paterson, NUI Galway, and curator of the exhibition, Donal Tinney, Chairperson of The Model, John Cox, NUIG, and Barry Houlihan, NUIG, at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo.
Photo: James Connolly
24MAR16

Yeats and the West logo

Yeats & the West Exhibition Tours & Talks

Curators Tours 1pm. Public Talks 6pm.

Free entry

 The Model, Sligo

Tours Thursday at 1pm

Tours of the exhibition from the curators take place every Thursday at 1pm.  Find out what makes art and poetry so close, and observe the connection of books, and music, drama, and discover never before seen rare books and fine art from the collections of NUI Galway and The Model. Come and get an inside view of the crafts and cultures that made a western revolution.

Emer McGarry, Acting Director, The Model, Cllr. Thomas Healy, Dr Jim Browne , President of NUI Galway, Martin Enright, President of Yeats Society, Sligo, Dr Adrian Paterson, NUI Galway, and curator of the exhibition, Senator Susan O'Keeffe, Ciaran Hayes, Sligo County Manager, Barry Houlihan, NUIG, Donal Tinney, Chairperson of The Model, and John Cox, NUIG, at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly 24MAR16

Emer McGarry, Acting Director, The Model, Cllr. Thomas Healy, Dr Jim Browne , President of NUI Galway, Martin Enright, President of Yeats Society, Sligo, Dr Adrian Paterson, NUI Galway, and curator of the exhibition, Senator Susan O’Keeffe, Ciaran Hayes, Sligo County Manager, Barry Houlihan, NUIG, Donal Tinney, Chairperson of The Model, and John Cox, NUIG, at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo.
Photo: James Connolly
24MAR16

Talks Thursdays at 6pm

This series of talks on Yeats’s connection to the west and beyond takes us inside the makings of a western cultural revolution. Talks from experts in the field range from exploring the pioneering art and craftwork of the Yeats family to W.B.Yeats’s own life and loves, considering his some of his most controversial and sexy poems; they reveal the extraordinary plays of his brother, the artist Jack B. Yeats, and alongside the Model Gallery’s newly unveiled Broadside collection, showcase his design and print work; and they weigh the wider forces that turned a cultural revolution into a real one.

Speakers include the curators of the exhibition Dr Adrian Paterson and Barry Houlihan (NUI Galway), Professor Adrian Frazier (NUI Galway), Professor Margaret Mills Harper (University of Limerick and outgoing Director of the Yeats International Summer School), Dr Hilary Pyle (former Yeats Curator at National Gallery of Ireland), Dr Ian Walsh (NUI Galway), Dr Mary Harris (NUI Galway).

Yeats and the West logo

All talks take place every Thursday at 6pm in the Model Theatre.

7 April – ‘Lake Isles, River Eyots: making Innisfree with the Yeats family’

Adrian Paterson, English, NUI Galway

14 April – ‘A Disturbing Influence: Maud Gonne in the life of W.B. Yeats’

Adrian Frazier, English, NUI Galway

21 April – ‘Jack B. Yeats’s A Broadside: a sheaf of ballads or a battery of guns?’

Hilary Pyle, former Yeats Curator at the National Gallery of Ireland

28 April – ‘W.B. Yeats and the Problem of Crazy Jane’

Margaret Mills Harper, University of Limerick, & outgoing Director of the Yeats International Summer School

5 May – ‘A Vaudeville of Frustration: The Theatre of Jack B. Yeats’.

Ian Walsh, Centre for Drama Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway

12 May – ‘Romanticism and Realism: Pearse, MacNeill, the Revival and the Rising’

Mary Harris, History, NUI Galway

For schools events Thursdays  enquire schoolvisits@nuigalway.ie

The Model opening hours

Tues-Sat: 10am – 5.30pm

Thurs: 10am – 8pm

Sun: 12 – 5pm

Mon: Closed

Yeats and the West logo

Thoor Ballylee reopening in June

We are delighted to announce that Thoor Ballylee will be opening again in June 2016. After being affected by winter flooding, the tower remains sound, and work has begun cleaning and refitting the tower ready for the summer. Thank you for your support so far! We’ve a way to go, so here’s how you can help further.

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As you can see, the water is abated, and the exterior of the tower is unaffected. This is the view before recent jet cleaning. Flooding has been affecting the local area, but we’re happy to report things are improving.

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Yeats always imagined his tower as in tune with the seasons, and the engraving of his poem shows some of the high water marks over the winter.

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We’re very pleased to say that all is far from being in ‘ruin once again’! Work is ongoing to restore the tower to its pristine condition, and a full set of exhibitions and events planned.

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The doors of Thoor Ballylee officially re-opened on the occasion of W.B. Yeats’s 150th birthday on June 13th, 2015, after being closed for many years.  Donations from local business people, artisans, and artists generated much needed funding to cover operational costs. To find out how you can help, click here.

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Accounts of many of last years events can be viewed in our blog.

Thoor Ballylee has been affected by winter flooding near Gort and South County Galway but we are glad to report that it is structurally sound, and being readied for reopening. The Society had a good flood action plan in place, all electrical fittings were refitted to ceiling height in recent years and the contents of the tower were removed at the end of October. As the weather improves jet cleaning has taken place and Thoor Ballylee is starting to look like her old self. There’s still job to be done, and continued support and volunteers for this vital, but the tower’s planned summer opening in June 2016 will not be affected.

Flooding before Christmas near Thoor Ballylee

Flooding before Christmas near Thoor Ballylee

There is more to do, and many more events and exhibitions planned for this year, itself representing an important anniversary of the Easter Rising, events remembered  in Yeats’s poem ‘Easter 1916’.

To find out more, how to visit, or how you can help look around our website at yeatsthoorballylee.org, and sign up for regular updates.  We still need your support to keep the tower open for future generations: to find out how you can help, click here.

You can email us on yeatsthoorballylee@gmail.com and you can like us and stay abreast on our facebook page. Do please keep in touch!

We would like to say a big thank you to all our friends, supporters, volunteers, and visitors for their generosity and support. This coming year will feature a new programme of events, new challenges, and new excitements.

Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society Volunteers 2015

Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society Volunteers 2015

Some testimonials from our 2015 visitors book:
“A very enjoyable visit and thanks for a warm welcome and the spirit of Yeats”
“I now see where Yeats drew his inspiration from  for “haunting, beautiful”! Keep up the good work, great tour and guiding”
“Amazing gem, absolutely stunning and definitely well worth a visit”
“A life long dream for me to visit here”
“Great to visit and the video is really good”
“Very lovely view for the top, great peace here”
“A treasure. Beautiful place and space, art, hospitality and Irish spirit, go raibh maith agat W.B.Yeats!”

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Yeats & the West talks at The Model, Sligo

Lake Isles, River Eyots: Making Innisfree with the Yeats Family
Public Talk 

 Adrian Paterson, NUI Galway

6pm Thursday 7 April

The Model Theatre, Sligo

23 Saint Patrick

This talk looks at Yeats’s most famous poem and asks where it comes from, and where it goes to.  It examines the new kinds of crafts and making from the Yeats family, in west London as well as the west of Ireland.

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Curator of the exhibition Yeats & the West, Dr Adrian Paterson is a Lecturer in English at NUI Galway. He appears in conversation with the co-curator Barry Houlihan.

Dr Adrian Paterson – NUI Galway and curator of the exhibition, speaking at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly 24MAR16

Dr Adrian Paterson – NUI Galway and curator of the exhibition, speaking at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo.
Photo: James Connolly
24MAR16

Yeats and the West logo

Yeats & the West Exhibition Tours & Talks

Curators Tours 1pm. Public Talks 6pm.

Free entry

 The Model, Sligo

Tours Thursday at 1pm

Tours of the exhibition from the curators take place every Thursday at 1pm.  Find out what makes art and poetry so close, and observe the connection of books, and music, drama, and discover never before seen rare books and fine art from the collections of NUI Galway and The Model. Come and get an inside view of the crafts and cultures that made a western revolution.

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Talks Thursdays at 6pm

This series of talks on Yeats’s connection to the west and beyond takes us inside the makings of a western cultural revolution. Talks from experts in the field range from exploring the pioneering art and craftwork of the Yeats family to W.B.Yeats’s own life and loves, considering his some of his most controversial and sexy poems; they reveal the extraordinary plays of his brother, the artist Jack B. Yeats, and alongside the Model Gallery’s newly unveiled Broadside collection, showcase his design and print work; and they weigh the wider forces that turned a cultural revolution into a real one.

Speakers include the curators of the exhibition Dr Adrian Paterson and Barry Houlihan (NUI Galway), Professor Adrian Frazier (NUI Galway), Professor Margaret Mills Harper (University of Limerick and outgoing Director of the Yeats International Summer School), Dr Hilary Pyle (former Yeats Curator at National Gallery of Ireland), Dr Ian Walsh (NUI Galway), Dr Mary Harris (NUI Galway).

Yeats and the West logo

All talks take place every Thursday at 6pm in the Model Theatre.

7 April – ‘Lake Isles, River Eyots: making Innisfree with the Yeats family’

Adrian Paterson, English, NUI Galway

14 April – ‘A Disturbing Influence: Maud Gonne in the life of W.B. Yeats’

Adrian Frazier, English, NUI Galway

21 April – ‘Jack B. Yeats’s A Broadside: a sheaf of ballads or a battery of guns?’

Hilary Pyle, former Yeats Curator at the National Gallery of Ireland

28 April – ‘W.B. Yeats and the Problem of Crazy Jane’

Margaret Mills Harper, University of Limerick, & outgoing Director of the Yeats International Summer School

Meg Harper

5 May – ‘A Vaudeville of Frustration: The Theatre of Jack B. Yeats’.

Ian Walsh, Centre for Drama Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway

12 May – ‘Romanticism and Realism: Pearse, MacNeill, the Revival and the Rising’

Mary Harris, History, NUI Galway

For schools events Thursdays  enquire schoolvisits@nuigalway.ie

The Model opening hours

Tues – Sat: 10am – 5.30pm

Thurs: 10am – 8pm

Sun: 12 – 5pm

Mon: Closed

Yeats and the West logo

Happy New Year from Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society!

Happy new year from all at the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society! We would like to say a big thank you to all our friends, supporters, volunteers, and visitors for their generosity and support throughout 2015. This coming year will feature a new programme of events, new challenges, and new excitements.

Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society Volunteers 2015

Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society Volunteers 2015

The doors of Thoor Ballylee officially opened on the occasion of W.B. Yeats’s 150th birthday on June 13th. In this anniversary year of Yeats2015 the tower played a huge role in the international commemorations celebrating the poet, playwright, and Nobel Prize winner. Since its reopening a warm welcome has been extended to over 4,000 visitors with the support of more than thirty local volunteers who welcomed, guided and entertained visitors seven days a week.

The Society was overwhelmed with the goodwill of supporters near and far throughout the year. Visits from ministers raised the profile of the building, while Joseph Hassett, our generous American Yeats scholar provided funds for upcoming new exhibitions. Donations from local business people, artisans and artists generated much needed funding to cover operational costs. To find out how you can help, click here.

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We opened our international education program with visits from scholars and leading Yeats academics during the Cúirt International Literary Festival in April, and important visits from the Sligo Yeats Summer School in August followed by the International Yeats Society visit in October. The first in a series of lectures for senior school students took place during the October Mid-term Break with a lecture by Denis Creaven on the works of W.B. Yeats. Our collaboration with the Yeats and the West exhibition at NUI Galway helped visitor numbers and engagment at both venues.

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Throughout the summer, the tower hosted many artistic and cultural performances. Poetry Day kicked off the celebrations on the 7th of May. The Wild Swan Theatre Group performed a newly written play, “The Tower”. American duo, Joseph Sobol & Kathy Cowan performed “In the Deep Heart’s Core”. Culture Night was organised in collaboration with the Burren Lowlands and the Gort Library with a unique evening’s entertainment of music and drama. The tower was also the venue for the 2015 Autumn Gathering with a performance of “The Muse and Mr. Yeats”, a play performed by The Curlew Theatre Company. Then, the London Irish Theatre Company brought “Lady Gregory, A Galway Life” to Thoor Ballylee . As part of the Cooley Collins Festival, distinguished musician Claire Egan launched her Debut CD, “Turning Tides”. Local artists, inspired by the poetry of Yeats also provided a magnificent exhibition of paintings for the tower. Accounts of many of these events can be viewed in our blog.

Yeats Harp Moons

Our year culminated with the celebration of the Harp Festival of Moons event. Caitríona Yeats, Solo Harpist at the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra and granddaughter of W.B. Yeats, was a special guest and performer at this memorable evening.

In aid of the tower we also had auctions, birthday events, and lots more. It is your kindness as friends, volunteers, visitors, and donors that have made this possible.

Thoor Ballylee has been affected by recent flooding but we are relieved to report that it is structurally sound. The Society had a good flood action plan in place, all electrical fittings were refitted to ceiling height in recent years and the contents of the tower were removed at the end of October. While there is a considerable clearing-out job to be done, and continued support and volunteers for this vital, there is every expectation that the tower’s planned spring opening will not be affected.

Flooding before Christmas near Thoor Ballylee

Flooding before Christmas near Thoor Ballylee

There is more to do, and many more events and exhibitions planned for this year, itself representing an important anniversary of the Easter Rising, events remembered in Yeats’s poem ‘Easter 1916’.

To find out more, how to visit, or how you can help look around our website at yeatsthoorballylee.org, and sign up for regular updates.  We still need your support to keep the tower open for future generations: to find out how you can help, click here.

You can email us on yeatsthoorballylee@gmail.com and you can like us and stay abreast on our facebook page. Do please keep in touch!

Some testimonials from our 2015 visitors book:
“A very enjoyable visit and thanks for a warm welcome and the spirit of Yeats”
“I now see where Yeats drew his inspiration from  for “haunting, beautiful”! Keep up the good work, great tour and guiding”
“Amazing gem, absolutely stunning and definitely well worth a visit”
“A life long dream for me to visit here”
“Great to visit and the video is really good”
“Very lovely view for the top, great peace here”
“A treasure. Beautiful place and space, art, hospitality and Irish spirit, go raibh maith agat W.B.Yeats!”

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Western Worlds day at Yeats & the West

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William Butler Yeats, poet, playwright, politician, and Nobel prize-winner for literature, always looked west. The Yeats & the West exhibition at NUI Galway, with rare books, art, music, drama, and film, discovers what the west meant to him, and what this means for us. As part of the Yeats & the West programme, on Friday 27th November the day-long event Western Worlds tells the story of the western cultural revolution that shaped modern Ireland. Featuring talks on W.B.Yeats’s poems, plays, artistic collaborations and love affairs, and featuring his co-conspirators Jack B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Padraic Pearse and Eva Gore Booth, it includes poetry readings, an exhibition highlights tour, and an exclusive interview with the artist John Behan about current exhibitions of Yeatsian-themed sculptures and drawings. Western Worlds tells a story of going west to find those places, real and imaginative, that change our sense of where and who we are.

Western Worlds: A Day at Yeats & the West

Yeats & the West

Bridge Seminar Room, Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway

Friday 27th November 2015

Entrance to all events is free.

10.45am Welcome (& Kisses)

Adrian Frazier  Yeats & Maud Gonne: The Meaning of Their Kisses

12pm   Poems

Brian Arkins    W.B.Yeats & G.M. Hopkins

Deirdre Ní Chonghaile  ‘Listening to this rude and beautiful poetry’: J.M. Synge as song collector in the Aran Islands

1pm       Lunch

2pm       Plays                                                                      

Barry Houlihan ‘Suffering Spirits and Remorseful Dead’: Remembrance and Re-enactments in the plays of W.B. Yeats

Ian Walsh The Painted Play: Jack B. Yeats and the Postdramatic Theatre

3pm   Revivals

Mary Harris   Realism, Idealism and the Gaelic Revival

Maureen O’Connor   Some Vague Utopia: Eva Gore-Booth’s The Death of Fionavar (1916)

4pm   Coffee

4.30  Arts

Adrian Paterson with Barry Houlihan  (curators of Yeats & the West) Yeats among the Arts: exhibition highlights tour

(from 5pm in Special Collections)

5.30pm   Poems

David Clare & Deirdre Clare   dramatic readings

6.30pm  Reception

7pm   Bulls

John Behan  The Bull of Sheriff Street in conversation

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International Yeats Society comes to Thoor

From 15th – 18th October 2015 the first annual International Yeats Society conference took place at the University of Limerick. Performances, readings and a wonderful donation of books by Prof Michael Gilsenan to the Glucksman Library were interspersed with conference presentations of the highest quality, setting Yeats in an international context from Japan and India to Russia and Finland, from nationalism to the Noh, in myth and moonlight, craft and creativity, and in conjunction with a dozen arts.

The conference climaxed with a visit on Sunday 18th October by members of the International Yeats Society to Coole Park, the Kiltartan Lady Gregory Museum, and Thoor Ballylee. There they took tea and a tour up the winding stair.

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Members of the International Yeats Society, including conference hosts Professor Margaret Mills Harper, Dana Garvin, and Rick Stoops, plenary speakers Professors Marjorie Howes and Matthew Campbell, and other distinguished delegates from around the world, are joined by members of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, including  Sr Mary de Lourdes Fahy, Rena Mcallen, Lelia Doolan, and Dr Adrian Paterson. Deirdre Holmes was behind the camera.

The reopening of Thoor Ballylee for this anniversary celebration of Yeats2015 allows visits like this for the first time in many years. To find out how you can help further click here.

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Lady Gregory comes back to Thoor Ballylee this Wednesday!

Pentameters Theatre/London Irish Theatre presents:

LADY GREGORY: A GALWAY LIFE

Written by Phil Mason

Directed by John Dunne

Produced by Léonie Scott-Matthews

Starring Maura Judges as Lady Gregory

Thoor Ballylee performance Wed 21st October 2015 – fresh from a run in London’s West End

Tickets: £13.00 / Concessions: £10.00
Tickets available from Colm Farrell auctioneer 091632688, from Yeats Thoor Ballylee soc members and (if available) on the door.

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Lady Gregory was the driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival at the turn of the twentieth century and was a central figure in the founding of Ireland’s Abbey Theatre. She was also a major influence on W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Sean O’Casey and many of the Irish writers of the day.

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About the author…Phil Mason is a graduate of NUI, Galway B.A. (Hons) in English and Philosophy, the College of Commerce Dublin (Computer Programming) and a former member of the institute of Certified Public Accountants. She worked in Dublin, Galway, Germany and Derry for many years developing, installing and supporting computerised accounting systems. She then qualified as an accountant and worked in accountancy for some years until she decided to trade creative accounting for creative writing just four years ago. In this time she has had one novel published and has written five plays, three of which have received rehearsed readings. Her latest play about the life and times of Lady Gregory opens in London at the beginning of October followed by a short tour in Ireland. She is currently working on a screenplay.

About the actor…Maura Judges: Recent work has included the role of Maria Josefa in The House of Bernarda Alba and Fonsia Dorsey in The Gin Game. Last year Maura took part in The Mother by Bertolt Brecht, a community production at Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Maura also enjoys working as an extra and has been seen in many TV programmes including Call the Midwife, Doctors, Broadchurch and Casualty. She also played a mad aunt in Shane White’s Belfast comedy Romancing the Score (Pentameters/Irish Theatre). Her last role was in Shelagh Stephenson’s play Five Kinds of Silence in May and her future plans include playing the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella in December.

About the producer…Léonie Scott-Matthews. Founded in August 1968, Pentameters is one of the most respected fringe theatres in London. Léonie has put on hundreds of professional shows from Shakespeare, classic revivals and new plays to alternative comedy, music and poetry events. The many authors to perform at Pentameters include Dannie Abse, Kingsley Amis, Margaret Drabble, Ted Hughes, Laurie Lee, Roger McGough, Edna O’Brien, Harold Pinter, John Wain and the psychologist R.D. Laing. The Theatre has also played host to many performers at the start of their careers, including Russell Brand, Adrian Edmundson, Ben Elton, French and Saunders, Nigel Havers, Celia lmrie, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Jenny Seagrove, Pamela Stephenson and Alexei Sayle. To celebrate her commitment to the creative arts, Léonie was honoured as an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music and, as a Hampstead resident, received a Camden Good Citizen Award in 1998 in recognition of her outstanding work for the community.

About the director…,John Dunne works as a producer, director, writer and stage manager. He has directed his own work as well as work by new Irish playwrights, with premiers in London, Dublin and Belfast. As a writer he has penned a trilogy of Irish plays consisting of Famine, 1916 and Belfast and has also written a series of Ulster plays consisting of Long Woman’s Grave, Cattle Raid of Cooley, Macha’s Curse and most recently Tommy’s Wake. John has also toured the UK and Ireland with a number of his productions. John writes, produces and directs issue plays and classic adaptations of English novels many of which have premiered in London and played across the UK.

Lady Isabella Augusta Gregory

(15 March 1852 – 22 May 1932)

Lady Gregory was a member of Irish Ascendency class with extensive land-owning property. Despite this aristocratic background she became interested in the cause of Irish freedom and supported the nationalist causes of the day.

It was on meeting W.B. Yeats at the turn of the century that her prominence as a literary figure came into being. She was a key figure in establishing the Irish Literary Theatre and later the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s national playhouse. Along with J.M. Synge and Yeats, she formed a formidable trio of Irish literary giants which was later to include Sean O’Casey and many others.

Her stately mansion at Coole Park, County Galway, became a creative hub with artists and writers staying for long periods of time – it was Yeats’ second home! Indeed, her influence on Yeats was immense, especially in the penning of many of his plays. At one point her own plays proved more popular than Yeats and Synge put together, having written up to forty plays for the Abbey as well as books on Irish folklore and mythology. .

Maura Judges delicate portrayal of Lady Gregory embarks on a journey of a life filled to the brim as we see Augusta, first as a socialite, then nationalist, then as a literary linchpin in an Ireland desperate for a national identity.

Lady Gregory’s motto in life was taken from Aristotle: “To think like a wise man, but to express oneself like the common people.”

NB: Lady Gregory will be embarking on a short tour of Ireland

During October calling at Listowel (15th), Kenmare (16th), Waterville (18th), Ballylee (21st) and Kilworth (22nd).

For further information please contact John Dunne on 07981 851 554 or email info@londonirishtheatre.com

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October arts events at Thoor Ballylee

Although closed for winter to visitors, you can still visit Thoor Ballylee for October: come along, climb the winding stair, meet our resident bats, visit the poet’s bedroom, all while enjoying unique site-specific entertainment during our October arts month of exciting events.

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12 noon Sunday 18 October Visit of the International Yeats Society

8pm Wednesday 21 October Lady Gregory: A Galway Life

7.30 pm Tuesday 27 October Yeats2015 Harp Festival of Moons

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