Yeats’s Women

Yeats’s Women

a dramatic performance in story and song

with

Glynis Casson

Daniel Costello

& harpist Clare Roche

8pm Friday 8th July 2016

Thoor Ballylee

Tickets available to book or on the door

Yeats Women July 8th 2016

This performance brings to life the fascinating story of Yeats’s women. Featuring original letters, poems, stories, and song, it uncovers 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: his sisters, his lovers, and his remarkable wife George, presiding spirit of Thoor Ballylee.  

Glynis Casson

Glynis comes from the well known Casson theatrical family and has played many leading roles over the years in Gilbert and Sullivan productions, in Gigi, My Fair Lady and Me and My Girl in the Gaiety Theatre Dublin. She has toured her one woman show Oscar and the Sphinx in Ireland, London and Egypt. The Harp That Once and Dauntless and Daring with Harpist Cormac de Barra in Ireland and the Continent, Seven Ages with Daniel Costello, and the comedy show Ladies Who Lunch with Irene Gaffney in venues around Ireland.

Other stage work includes: Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, The House of Bernarda Alba, Very Heaven, and Harold Pinter’s Party Time.  

TV & Film Credits include: Kathleen in RTE’s Fair City, The Clinic and TG4’s Maru crime series. Imelda in winning Irish film 32A, Mauyra in The Riders to The Sea, Pensioner in the short award winning film Bollybrack in which she did Indian dancing for the first time in Moore Street!   www.glyniscasson.com

Daniel Costello

Daniel has recently played Polonius in Hamlet at The New Theatre.

Other stage work includes: Nicolas in Pinter’s One For The Road, Friar Laurence in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Solange in Genet’s The Maids, Duke of Ferrara in De Vega’s Justice Without Revenge, Antonio in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Jimmy Jack in Friel’s Translations, Sir Peter Teazle in Sheridan’s The School for Scandal, Carl in Rebecca Gilman’s The Glory of Living, and Clov in Beckett’s Endgame.

TV & Film credits include: Bachelor’s Walk, The Clinic, & Fair CityAlbert Nobbs, Situations Vacant, Breakfast on Pluto and The Magdalene Sisters.

Claire Roche

Claire studied harp and voice with Maírín Feiritear in Sion Hill Convent Dublin, who encouraged her to compose her own songs, and at the age of 13 set ‘To A Child Dancing In The Wind’ to the music of harp. Poet Brendan Kennelly inspired Claire ‘to set some more’ when she was studying Anglo-Irish Literature in Trinity College Dublin, so in all she arranged eight of Yeats’ poems for the Harp. Michael Yeats kindly gave this permission before the copyright had run out on his Father’s work. Claire has had very successful tours of singing with her harp accompaniment in America, Australia and Ireland. www.claireroche.com

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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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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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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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Lady Gregory: A Galway Life at Thoor Ballylee

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.

Lady-Augusta-Gregory-1280x695px1

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.

Coole Park333

 

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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Thoor Ballylee draws over 3000 visitors

W.B. Yeats’s Thoor Ballylee has drawn well over 3000 visitors from near and far in the three months since its reopening.

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Doors and windows opened in Yeats’s tower, Thoor Ballylee, Co. Galway, June 2015, on the occasion of W.B. Yeats 150th birthday.  A local community group, the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society has worked tirelessly to make this happen, following the closure of the Tower after flooding six years ago. The society is delighted to report that since the opening there has been a steady flow of visitors, over 3,000 people during the 3-month period. This figure does not even include children who attend free of charge. None of this would have been possible without the help and support of the local community and a staggering 30 volunteers who manned the tower for a total of 800 hours.

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Funds are also steadily rolling in from admissions and also from online donations which means that we hope to be able to maintain the tower as a magnificent visitor experience and literary haven for years to come. We are delighted to say that the Tower will be open throughout September, Monday – Friday 10am – 1pm, Saturday – Sunday 12 – 4pm.

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Senator Fidelma Healy Eames, Chair of the Thoor Ballylee Society, said ‘we would like to thank everyone who has visited the Tower and to all the volunteers who have made this possible. The entire project has been a labour of love and strength of conviction about the need to preserve our literary past and Yeats’ legacy for future generations. Let’s not forget that this is a project the state had abandoned save for the commitment and vision of  local voluntary effort.’

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Angela Guillemet, head of PR and Fundraising for Thoor Ballylee noted ‘No one should be excluded from experiencing the magic of Thoor Ballylee and sharing in the literary heritage that it exudes. We are calling on the local community, business, scholars, the media and on the government to continue their support for the project so ambitious plans to turn the tower into a world class cultural centre can be realised.

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Come and see our audio-visual display, view our exhibitions, stalk the stairs, rooms, and battlements of Yeats’s tower in the poet’s footsteps, meet our bats and friendly helpers, and have a cup of tea. Seasonal opening until the end of September.

And please note there are a number of special events taking place in Thoor Ballylee over the coming weeks:

18 September                  Culture Night: Romantic & Revolutionary Yeats

25-27 September            Lady Gregory Autumn Gathering – talks, dramas, readings – with John Banville

18 October                          Inaugural International Yeats Society visit

21 October                         Lady Gregory: A Galway Life, from London Irish Theatre

27 October                           Harp Festival of Moons – with special guest Caitriona Yeats

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Thoor Ballylee in 1965

Fifty years ago, in 1965, on the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of W.B.Yeats, the Kiltartan Society hosted a seminar on the work of W.B. Yeats.

Kiltartan Society

Speakers at this anniversary event included Yeats scholar T.R.Henn, Mary Hanley, and Tadgh Kelly, with the support of Yeats biographer A. Norman Jeffares and future George Yeats biographer Ann Saddlemyer. There were tours with the craftsmen who had originally worked on the tour, and further events in Irish about local poet Antoine O Rafteiri (Anthony Raftery), and musical performances featuring the poet’s daughter-in-law the Irish harpist Grainne Yeats. Seeing the calendar of events the chair of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society Senator Fidelma Healy Eames commented: ‘a beautiful leaflet and programme that is a stark reminder of the genius, imagination and depth of intent of our predecessors of 50 years ago’. She went on to suggest that the work and commitment of local people and international communities then and now concerning the tower is ‘inspirational’ and an inheritance for the present Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society to live up to. For more information on how you can help this ongoing work visit here.

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Yeats & the West: new NUI Galway exhibition

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William Butler Yeats, poet, playwright, politician, and Nobel prize-winner for literature always looked west. As part of Ireland ’s decade of commemorations and the worldwide Yeats2015 series of cultural events marking his 150th birthday, NUI Galway’s Moore Institute and Hardiman Library presents Yeats & the West, a collaborative exhibition exploring Yeats’s life, work, and legacy, and his deep connections to the west. Yeats & the West considers what the west meant to him, and what that means for us. For fuller information, visit the website. 

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For Yeats the west was the wellspring of songs, stories, folklore, artwork, drama, crafts; the foundation of the Irish imagination. It was also the landscape of his poetry and plays. Significant events of his life took place there; collaborations that formed his work were forged there. Yeats & the West tells this remarkable story.

8 Saint Colman

This interactive exhibition features original watercolour sketches and oils by W.B.Yeats’s brother, the celebrated artist Jack Yeats, priceless Cuala Press volumes and broadsides, a wealth of visual material from artists and photographers from Fergus Bourke to Nicolas Fève, and rarely seen images and manuscripts from archive collections in NUI Galway and around the world. Through rare books, original documents, and artworks, and using modern touchscreens, recorded sound, and exclusive film, visitors take a tour of Yeats’s commitment to history, tradition, and new art, all under western eyes. Talks and special events feature throughout the exhibition’s spectacular run from June to December 2015.

Yeats and the West logo

June – December 2015

Hardiman Research Building

NUI Galway

Free admission

Open 9-5 Mon – Sat. (9-5 Mon-Fri until 20 July)

Yeats & the West tells the story of the places and people that made a western cultural revolution.

Wall Vinyl 2

On display is W.B.Yeats’s attention to life, love, and landscape in Galway, Sligo, and beyond. Yeats & the West details the many artistic collaborations that centred on Coole Park, Galway between artists of the western world. It follows the foundation of the Abbey Theatre in Galway, and Yeats’s work with J.M.Synge, George Moore and Edward Martyn, using exclusive materials from the Lady Gregory Collection, the Abbey Digital Archive, and the Lyric Theatre Belfast. It explores his obsession with local poet Antoine Ó Raifteiri, and highlights the gifted artists of Yeats’s own family, whose pioneering work is showcased in exquisite handprinted books and in embroidery from Loughrea cathedral.

Panel 2 C

Yeats’s restoration of Thoor Ballylee, Galway, is seen alongside the construction of his own poetry, and the effects of revolution and civil war on his work and the west is put starkly on view with manuscripts from the National Library of Ireland, and rare books and photographs. Collaborations with his artist brother Jack Yeats are illustrated with newly exhibited sketches and exquisite colour prints. Yeats & the West even tracks his furthest forays west, following him and the Abbey players as they cross the Atlantic and bring back with them a renewed idea of the breadth of the western world.

Panel 7C

Through images, words, film, and sound, with interactive touchscreens, panels, and rich display cases, using valuable material from the university’s collections and from around the world, Yeats & the West tells anew an old story: a story of going west to find those places, real and imaginative, that change our sense of where and who we are.

The exhibition runs from June to December 2015 in the Hardiman Building, NUI Galway with special events throughout.

With special thanks to the Moore Institute, Hardiman Library, NUI Galway’s President’s Office, Galway City Museum, the National Library of Ireland, Loughrea Cathedral, the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, and Yeats2015.

Window visualisation