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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Generous donation ensures Thoor’s summer opening

The Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society had a breakthrough this week when Joseph Hassett, an accomplished American lawyer and long-time Yeatsian pledged €31,000 to the tower. Hassett first came to Ireland to attend the International Yeats Summer School in 1963, thanks to fellow Irish Americans in his hometown of Buffalo, New York who funded that scholarship. Since then, he has become an avid Yeats collector, scholar, and an author with Oxford University Press. He is a graduate of Canisius College and Harvard Law School, and holds a Ph.D. from University College Dublin and is a member of the bar in Washington, D.C. and New York. He is a proud Irish American whose great-grandparents emigrated from counties Clare and Cork.

Follow the story here with the Irish Times.

Senator Fidelma Healy Eames, Chairperson of the Thoor Ballylee Society explained “It would be an utter travesty if this iconic building and national treasure was not reopened on time for Yeats’s 150th birthday in June. With Joseph Hassett’s generous donation we are now in a position to re-open the tower and invite the public to a great celebration and cultural event in the Tower and gardens on the 13th of June”.

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“Yeats predicted that Thoor would return to a ruin, but to leave Thoor as it is is to leave beauty behind. It’s a place of solace, and we must wake up to the treasures we have.”

Healy Eames is hopeful that the group will raise more funds at a poetry and music event on Poetry Ireland Day (next Thursday, at 8pm) and at a rooftop auction (Sunday, May 31st, at 6pm), at which a local auctioneer, Colm Farrell, will dress up as Yeats and sell items from the top of Thoor Ballylee.

“The building is in a good state,” says Healy Eames. “It has been cleaned, but it needs work done on its electrics and toilets. I have asked Simon Harris, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, if the OPW might work in collaboration with local people in the future management of it.”

There is still much further work to be done. An objective of €1 million has been set to deliver the Yeats cultural centre, which would secure the tower’s permanent re-opening. This would include the development of the Yeats exhibition, a writers in residence program, a cafe, bookshop, and space for exhibitions, lectures and classes. The Yeats cultural centre should provide a huge attraction for the area and boost tourism revenues for the region. Supporters are encouraged to donate what they can or to become a Thoor Ballylee Friend for just €25. Exciting cultural events are planned in the next few weeks and months, many of which involve a rare chance to see inside the tower.

Presenting further pictures from the recent re-opening of Thoor Ballylee in honour of CuirtGalway’s literary festival. It was a historic moment as this is the first time in many years the tower, for one day only, has been officially open to visitors.

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Colm Farrell, who is conducting a fundraising auction at Thoor Ballylee on 31 May, holds up the key.

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As can be seen, it was a beautiful day and the visitors young and old were all enjoying themselves.

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After a good deal of work from our wonderful helpers and volunteers the tower is in fine condition.

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There’s still lots more to be done in the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society development project.

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We need your help! The tower needs a good deal of further work, and we have ongoing plans to create a visitor and education center and so keep the tower permanently open for visitors: read our mission statement.

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If you’d like to help, join us, sponsor usvisit the donations page, or come along to some of our forthcoming events!

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Get updates by following our blog (press the blue W button below or on the righthand menu), visit us on Facebook, and show that you like us. Or get in contact to tell us what you think. Together we can make sure the tower is preserved for future generations.

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Thoor Ballylee opens!

Presenting pictures from the recent re-opening of Thoor Ballylee in honour of Cuirt, Galway’s literary festival. It was a historic moment as this is the first time in many years the tower has been officially open to visitors.

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As can be seen, it was a beautiful day and the visitors young and old were all enjoying themselves.

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After a good deal of work from our wonderful helpers and volunteers the tower is in fine condition.

ThoorBallylee_Cuirt2015%201

ThoorBallylee_Cuirt2015%203

There’s still lots more to be done in the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society development project.

ThoorBallylee_Cuirt2015%202

ThoorBallylee_Cuirt2015%2011

We need your help! The tower needs a good deal of further work, and we have ongoing plans to create a visitor and education center and so keep the tower permanently open for visitors: read our mission statement.

ThoorBallylee_Cuirt2015%204

If you’d like to help, join us, sponsor usvisit the donations page, or come along to some of our forthcoming events!

ThoorBallylee_Cuirt2015%2016

Get updates by following our blog (press the blue W button below or on the righthand menu), visit us on Facebook, and show that you like us. Or get in contact to tell us what you think. Together we can make sure the tower is preserved for future generations.

ThoorBallylee_Cuirt2015%2012