Happy New Year from Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society

The Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society would like to say extend warm greetings for the new year, and to say thank you for our the generosity and support of our volunteers and friends throughout 2016.

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The doors of Thoor Ballylee were officially re-opened by actress Sabina Higgins in June with the unveiling of the new Yeats Thoor Ballylee Exhibition. The exhibition, curated by Dr Adrian Paterson, Lecturer in English at NUI Galway, explores Yeats’s relationship with the people and places that most inspired his work. It 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; and his close connections with the landscapes and people of County Galway, especially with Coole Park and with Thoor Ballylee. It also features exclusive material from Joseph Hassett’s inspiring Yeats and the Muses exhibition. Come down and have a look: the new exhibition will be available to view from the tower’s spring opening.

Yeats Tower Exhibition

This season Thoor Ballylee welcomed well over 3,000 visitors with the support of twenty local volunteers who guided and entertained visitors seven days a week. The Society was overwhelmed with the goodwill of supporters near and far throughout the year. US Senator Chris Dodd donated $10,000 towards the new exhibition in January. Donations have flooded in from friends near far helping fund the continual restoration and staffing of the tower. Our long standing benefactor Joe Hassett funded the publication of a magnificient book which tells the story of Thoor’s restoration in a collection of photographs taken by Deirdre Holmes. People like Anita Swanson who donated €1,500 to simply keep the Tower open has meant a great deal to us as we strive to keep the tower warm and welcoming. We also received a plethora of favourable testimonials and feedback.

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Throughout the summer, Thoor Ballylee was home to many artistic and cultural performances, playing a full part in the 1916 celebrations. The season kicked off onJuly 16th with a performance of “Yeats’s Women” by Dublin trio: Glynis Casson, fellow actor Daniel Costello and renowned Irish Harpist Claire Roche. Featuring original letters, poems, stories, and song, the performance uncovered in a dramatic interweaving of life and art the artistic collaborations and personal crises which the poet W.B.Yeats experienced together with an extraordinary cast of striking and hugely talented women. This was followed by the Wild Swan Theatre Company’s production of “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya”, to a packed house on August.

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A weekend long series events as part of the Yeats and Lady Gregory Autumn Gathering included a production by the Curlew Theatre Company:” History! Reading the Easter Rising” (above). Our annual Culture Night event took place in September with performances from Gaillimh Theas Comhaltas, Claire Egan and Eoin O’Neill, followed by a special screening of a film “Words Upon the Window Pane” based on the 1931 play by W.B. Yeats, in which Jonathan Swift visits a seance. To bring the busy season to a close, Galway poets and former Cuirt Grand Slam winners Elaine Feeney and Sarah Clancy MC-ed an extremely popular grand slam poetry competition in October.

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It is your kindness as visitors, supporters, friends, volunteers and donors that have made this all possible – to find out how you can help further, follow this link.

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As many of you know Thoor Ballylee is prone to flooding – indeed when in January Bob Geldof visited to film a documentary about Yeats he had to be taken by boat! However, work is complete on preparing the tower and cottages for the winter season. This means that the ground level of the tower has been entirely cleared of its exhibitions and all movable goods. Permanent electricity and heating systems were moved above flood height earlier this year. All is dry at present, and the forecast is promising! Our aim is to re-open the tower in spring. Please keep in touch and check out further updates on this our website www.yeatsthoorballylee.org.

Best wishes for the season,

Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society

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Thoor Ballylee Yeats Exhibition opens!

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.

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Yeats Exhibition Opening with Sabina Coyne Higgins and guests

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.

Yeats Tower Exhibition

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.

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Samuel Palmer, The Lonely Tower (1879). This etching was inspiration for Yeats’s ‘The Phases of the Moon’ and many other Tower poems.

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.

The Winding Stair (1933) cover by Thomas Sturge Moore

The Winding Stair (1933) cover by Thomas Sturge Moore

 

Yeats exhibition opening at Thoor Ballylee

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Yeats Exhibition Opening

1pm Saturday 18th June

Guest of Honour

Sabina Coyne Higgins

with special guests:

Fidelma Healy Eames, Chair of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society

Joseph Hassett, Yeats Scholar and Thoor Ballylee Benefactor

Cllr Michael Connolly, Cathaoirleach, Galway Co. Council

Music from Gort Comhaltas & refreshments

All welcome!

rsvp: yeatsthoorballylee@gmail.com

Sabina Coyne Higgins, wife of our President, Michael D. Higgins, and in her own right an actress and dedicated supporter of theatre and the arts, officially opens the inaugural Yeats Exhibition at Thoor Ballylee from 1pm on Saturday 18th June. 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.

Thoor Ballylee May 2016

Thoor Ballylee May 2016

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 is re-opening with a bang for another summer season. Joseph Hassett, Yeats Scholar & Thoor Benefactor, Fidelma Healy Eames, Chair of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, and Councillor Michael Connolly will participate in the exhibition launch. The event will also include local music and refreshments. All are welcome to attend and children will have an opportunity to test their knowledge of the tower with the new Thoor Scavenger hunt.

Yeats Tower Exhibition

Using material from NUIG’s “Yeats and the West” Exhibition and UCD’s “Yeats and His Muses” Exhibition, Dr Adrian Paterson, Lecturer in English at NUIG has curated a marvellous 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.

Pamela Colman Smith, The Tower, Tarot Card Park 1907

Pamela Colman Smith, The Tower, Tarot Card Park 1907

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.

 

Thomas Sturge Moore, Bookplate for George Yeats (1924)

Thomas Sturge Moore, Bookplate for George Yeats (1924)

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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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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Yeats & the West opens!

Prof. Daniel Carey, Ronnie O’Gorman, Sen. Fidelma Healy Eames, Sen. Susan O’Keeffe, and Dr. Adrian Paterson, at the launch of the ‘Yeats & the West: an exhibition of western worlds’ at Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway, 13 July 2015.

Prof. Daniel Carey, Ronnie O’Gorman and Sen. Fidelma Healy Eames of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, Sen. Susan O’Keeffe, and Dr. Adrian Paterson, at the launch of the ‘Yeats & the West: an exhibition of western worlds’ at Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway, 13 July 2015.

Monday 13th June saw the official opening of Yeats and the West: an exhibition of western worlds. Coinciding with the launch of the Galway International Arts festival, the exhibition was opened in style with the help of some very special guests, including the poet Moya Cannon. Yeats and the West logo The exhibition featuring a number of talks and events runs through December 2015 and is free to the public. Members of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society joined the celebrations, which included speeches from NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne, Professor Daniel Carey, the curators Barry Houlihan and Adrian Paterson, Senator Susan O’Keeffe, Librarian John Cox, and the special guest Moya Cannon.

Senator Susan O'Keeffe with curator Adrian Paterson

Senator Susan O’Keeffe with curator Adrian Paterson

The exhibition featuring a number of talks and events runs through December 2015 and is free to the public. It highlights the work of Jack B. Yeats, the Yeats sisters, and Lady Gregory in a western context.  Further details here, including particular tributes to the importance of landscape, place, and architecture in Yeats’s work and in the contemporary activity of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society. 1978 10th anniversary

Rooting Thoor Ballylee

A speech on the occasion of Yeats2015 and Yeats’s 150th birthday

by Joseph Hassett                                                            

Yeats birthday Roy Foster Joseph Hassett

I salute the important work you are doing to restore Thoor Ballylee. Preserving this tower is essential because W. B. Yeats is present here. One of the greatest poets of all time is alive here in a very particular way. There are two reasons for claiming Yeats’s presence. First, he himself insisted that the passionate dead return to the places to which they were attached during life. In particular, he says, ‘the shadows of the famous dead come to our elbow amid their old undisturbed habitations.’ In such places, ‘they tread the corridor and take the empty chair.’

Whether you accept the real presence of Yeats here at Thoor Balylee is not important because there is no denying his virtual presence. Yeats’s famous declaration that ‘this tower is my symbol’ made Thoor Ballylee the visible representation of his life and work.

The troubled poet Sylvia Plath wrote that she felt a profound connection with Yeats as a result of her visit to this tower and that her soul responded to the peace of this place where we stand today.

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Yet the Tower was a very unusual place to live. And the location is remote. Wondering why Yeats chose to live here at all, we realize that taking up residence in Thoor Ballylee was so forceful an assertion of Yeats’s personality, and so complete an identification between person and place, that his palpable presence becomes apparent one moment and believable the next.

In a letter to Sturge Moore Yeats called the tower a ‘permanent symbol of my work’—, a ‘rooting of mythology in the earth.’ The suitability of a tower for this purpose is suggested by Gaston Bachelard in a little book bearing the intriguing title, The Poetics of Space. Bachelard maintains that the form of a tower emphasizes the opposition in any dwelling between the rationality of the roof and the irrationality of the cellar. The latter, the ‘dark entity’ of the house, sinks into what he calls the ‘earthly watery depths’ of the collective unconscious. Bachelard’s poetics make good sense as applied to Yeats because Yeats believed in a universal unconscious, an hereditary capacity for primordial thought, memory and myth. Yeats put it simply : Our individual thoughts ‘are not, as we think, the deep, but only the foam upon the deep.’

By living in Thoor Ballylee, Yeats was sinking his roots into the deep. Thus, when he prayed, in ‘A Prayer on Going Into My House’, “that “God grant a blessing on this tower and cottage,’ he asked specifically

That I myself for portions of the year

May handle nothing and set eye on nothing

But what the great and passionate have used

Throughout so many varying centuries

We take it for the norm.

In other words, Yeats is praying that the tower connect him to the great and passionate dead, whose thoughts still linger in the collective unconscious.

Five years after Yeats moved into Thoor Ballylee, Carl Jung built a tower on the Upper Lake of Zurich at Bollingen. Yeats would not have been surprised to find that Jung’s mind travelled in the same circle as his. Were not both minds but the foam upon a common deep? As Jung sank his roots into the ancestral depths, he sensed that the souls of his ancestors, hitherto awash in the collective unconscious, were gathering about his tower.

The same thing occurred at Ballylee. No sooner had Yeats taken up residence in his tower than he began calling up, and claiming as ancestors, what he called –in the poem ‘The Tower’—‘nearby images in the Great Memory stored.’Then, in his next volume of poetry, The Winding Stair, he made that firm declaration that is so pertinent to the reasons that bring us here today:

I declare this tower is my symbol; I declare

This winding, gyring, spiring treadmill of a stair is my ancestral stair;

That Goldsmith and the Dean, Berkeley and Burke have travelled there.

Yeats was plumbing the depths of his ancestral past. Speaking of the poetry of this period, he said that his ideal form of expression was most approximated ‘when I carry with me the greatest possible amount of hereditary thought and feeling.’ This ancestral feeling was tapped by sinking the tower into the watery, earthly depths of the collective unconscious. That is why the tower symbolized his work, which he summed up as a ‘rooting of mythology in the earth.’

‘Rooting’ was in Jung’s mind as well. The ‘uprootedness’ of modern civilization, he felt, was unsettling to the hereditary elements of the psyche. Sinking the tower in the collective unconscious had a calming effect because it restored our severed connection with the past.

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In the serenity of Thoor Ballylee, we sense the harmony of roots restored, the calm of the psyche made whole. Standing here, it is easy to share Sylvia Plath’s sense of serenity and peace, and to believe that it flows from a perfect blending of person, place, present and past.

Preserving this connection to the past is essential to our own connection to the extraordinary Irish poet William Butler Yeats, and to a sense of ourselves as a people who care about our past, and want to feel its continuing life in our own lives, and in the lives of our children and their children.

Congratulations and Godspeed on the important work you are doing.

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Joseph Hassett

More from Joseph Hassett on Yeats’s 150th birthday on OUP’s blog here.

Yeats’s Birthday at Thoor Ballylee

Due to our marvellous community support and the wonderful efforts of committee and sponsors and helpers, Thoor Ballylee has opened for Yeats2015. On W.B.Yeats’s 150th birthday, Saturday 13th June 2015, over 800 visitors and well-wishers made their way to the tower for a special opening event hosted by the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, with Senator Fidelma Healy Eames, founding sponsor Joseph Hassett, and Minister Jimmy Deenihan.

Yeats Thoor

Thank You!

The Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society thanks all our supporters, visitors, and donors.

Without your help this event, and this wonderful reopening, would not be happening.

Joseph Hassett, Founding Sponsor

Aoife Gallagher & other private donors

Auction Donors & Buyers

The Heritage Council

The American Ireland Fund

Thoor Friends

Local tradesmen, family and friends

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

As W.B. said ‘my glory was I had such friends’.

For more information on how to help, visit here – all and any visitors please go here.

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Flynn Hotels

Galway Arts CentreGalway 2020

Heritage Council

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Thoor Ballylee Thank you Poster (1)

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Come to Thoor for Yeats’s birthday!

Invitation to Thoor Ballylee

16.00-18.00 Saturday 13 June 2015

Thoor Ballylee, Gort, Co. Galway

The Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society invites you to the re-opening of Thoor Ballylee on the occasion of W.B. Yeats 150th birthday. Come celebrate Yeats2015 at the poet’s home! ThoorBallyLeeRiver

This Saturday 13th of June to coincide with W.B. Yeats’s 150th birthday, the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society is thrilled to announce the re-opening of the Tower for the first time in seven years. Minister Jimmy Deenihan, Joseph Hassett, Yeats Scholar & Thoor Benefactor and Senator Fidelma Healy Eames, chair of the Society, will open the event at 4 pm.

Niall De Burca, Internationally acclaimed story teller will perform at the event, which is followed by a community barbeque.

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Ireland’s Nobel Laureate for Literature, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) spent his summers in Thoor Ballylee, where he was inspired to write some of his finest poetry. Yeats once said in a letter to Olivia Shakespeare that “We are in our Tower and I am writing poetry as I always do here, and, as always happens, no matter how I begin, it becomes love poetry before I am finished with it.” In 1928 he published a monumental volume of poetry, The Tower and in 1933, The Winding Stair and Other Poems. Both collections were inspired by the life, landscape, and architecture of the place, and feature many poems set and composed at Thoor Ballylee.

Winding stair

Senator Healy Eames, Chairperson of the Thoor Ballylee Society explains “Thoor Ballylee is re-opening on Saturday 13th of June and will be open throughout the summer. We are planning to develop the Tower into a legacy project of the Yeats 150th Celebrations which will draw tourists and Yeats scholars from near and far to savour this stunning setting and the depth of the Irish literary legacy. This has been a labour of love and strength of conviction about the need to preserve our past for future generations. With Thoor we are reclaiming our past. As Chair of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, I would be delighted if you would help us on our journey’”

The Society is calling on the local community, media and other interested parties to support the project so ambitious plans to turn the tower into a world class cultural centre, which will accommodate a new exhibition, a cafe, bookshop, and space for exhibitions, lectures and classes. The Society calls on the public to check the website to find out more about the project, read updates on progress, learn about the tower and its history, join in discussions, make donations, and discover exciting sponsorship opportunities.

We are delighted to say that thereafter for the summer, the tower will be open all week, from 11am to 6pm Monday – Sunday.

This area of South Galway has many cultural connections to Yeats and to Lady Gregory. Other celebrations that are taking place in the vicinity include:

  • Kiltartan Gregory Cultural Society Picnic Enjoy a recital by Coole Music Ensemble, poetry reading by local school children, face painting for the younger generation and a Trad session with Gaillimh Theas Comhaltas. Come in period costume. Time. 12.30 to 2.30 pm.
  • Coole Harmonies in the Cobbled Yard Fancy dress procession to the site of Coole House, Uilleann Piper Eugene Lamb & Poetry readings. Time: 3pm to 5pmCome and join us!

Come and join us!

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Which is your favourite W.B.Yeats poem?

Would you rather arise and go now, slouch towards Bethlehem, or seek to tell the dancer from the dance? Is it the terrible beauty of Easter, 1916, the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart in The Circus Animals’ Desertion or the world more full of weeping from The Stolen Child that is closest to your heart?

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of WB Yeats, one of the 20th century’s greatest poets, with worldwide celebrations. Nationalist, romantic, spiritualist; beacon of the Celtic Twilight, chronicler of everyday life and angry old man; Yeats went through many phases, and left many exemplary poems. In a 1999 poll to find Ireland’s 100 favourite poems of all time, he takes seven places in the top 10 (Heaney and Kavanagh hardly get a look-in), and dominates the list as a whole.

But which of his poems is your favourite? The Guardian is running an open thread. Let them know your choice!

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