Hamlet in my mind’s eye

A reminder that Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society is delighted to present Hamlet, not in performance but a talk aimed at Leaving Certificate students.

Denis Creaven, English teacher at the Institute of Education, Dublin, will lecture on several topics on Hamlet and the main characters of the play.

The lecture is designed to be especially helpful for Leaving Certificate examination requirements. Complimentary handouts will be distributed. We are pleased to say all proceeds go to Thoor Ballylee for its continued maintenance.


Like the ghost of Hamlet’s father, Yeats had a habit of prowling his castle. In ‘The Tower’ (1926) he writes ‘I pace the battlements and stare / On the foundation of a house’. Yeats also drew on Shakespeare’s Hamlet for his Noh drama At The Hawk’s Well (1916). As Cuchulain climbs to the holy well, the musician remembers Hamlet’s claim to see things beyond most of us (like his dead father) ‘in my mind’s eye’:

I call to the eye of the mind

A well long choked up and dry

And boughs long stripped by the wind,

And I call to the mind’s eye

Pallor of an ivory face,

Its lofty dissolute air,

A man climbing up to a place

The salt sea wind has swept bare.


Leaving Certificate 2017 Hamlet Preparation

12-2pm, Wednesday 22 February 2017

Sullivan’s Hotel, Gort, Co Galway

For booking contact yeatsthoorballylee@gmail.com or ring Nichola on 086 855 2124





Yeats at the White House

For St Patrick’s Day 2015, Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny presented President Barack Obama an engraved Waterford Crystal bowl inscribed with the poetry of W.B.Yeats. The second-term American President and his Vice-President Joe Biden also received handcrafted books of Yeats’s poems. His daughters were similarly honoured.

The presentation comes in recognition of Yeats2015, the 150th anniversary of the poet’s birth, which has seen a programme of local and international events, including the restoration of Thoor Ballylee.

St Patrick’s Day also for the first time saw the launch of online donations to the restoration of Thoor Ballylee, a project conceived and supported by the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society. This important building with Yeatsian connections will be at the heart of Yeats2015 celebrations.



Yesterday wasn’t the first time Yeats has been into the White House – he stopped by to take lunch with American President Theodore Roosevelt on December 28, 1903. Yeats was also on intimate if sometimes oppositional terms with a couple of British Prime Ministers, swapping poetry with Herbert Asquith, and urging David Lloyd George not to introduce conscription in Ireland in 1917. Yeats himself served on the Irish Senate following independence in 1922 and was lifelong friends with President Douglas Hyde.

Further details on the gifts and story can be found in the Irish Independent.