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





Thoor Ballylee receives Creative Ireland boost

The Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society is delighted to confirm that Thoor Ballylee has received a new grant under the Creative Ireland programme, “the most significant investment in regional arts and cultural centres in a decade”.

€22,000 has been allocated for the refurbishment of two rooms at Thoor Ballylee and the creation of a new Artist Space.

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys made the announcement as part of the Creative Ireland programme, with funding provided under her Department’s Arts and Culture Capital Scheme 2016-2018.

The aim of the artist space is to make a contemporary contribution to the spirit and tradition of Yeats, his mentor Lady Augusta Gregory, and their nurturing of the poets, artists, actors, musicians and designers of their era.

The space will offer opportunities for visiting artists and scholars to work, and to run workshops, master classes and summer camps for apprentice writers, designers, musicians, and schoolchildren.

It is also hoped that the artist space will attract artists and scholars to the Tower from around the world to perform and share their work as well as promote international collaboration in the run up to Galway 2020 and beyond.


Contestants at the Thoor Ballylee Poetry Slam, 2016

Fidelma Healy Eames, Chair of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, remarked: “I wish to note the thanks and delight of the Board of Directors of Yeats Thoor Ballylee Development Ltd to Minister Humphreys and the Government for their support for our development plan and vision for Yeats’s ancestral home at Thoor Ballylee. Well done to all of the hard working volunteer members of the society. The €22k is most welcome and will contribute greatly to an enhanced visitor experience at Thoor.”

Last year, the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society unveiled a beautiful new exhibition which attracted more than 3,000 visitors to the tower over the summer months. Refurbishing two rooms at the Tower will bring the visitor closer to the poet’s life and work. With the new funding injection it is planned to further develop the visitor experience and celebrate Yeats’s Galway home.

Speaking at the announcement Minister Humphreys said: “Creative Ireland aims to promote individual, community and national wellbeing through cultural activity. This €9 million announcement is the most significant investment in regional arts and cultural centres in a decade. The largest funding awards – of €1 million each – are going to Wexford Arts Centre and the Riverbank Arts Centre in Kildare.”

Thoor Ballylee, both Yeats’s tower and the Exhibition is open to visitors from May 1st 2017.


Thoor Ballylee on The Poetry Programe

Following the successful poetry slam held at Thoor Ballylee late last year, Thoor Ballylee and its living poets are celebrated on RTÉ’s The Poetry Programme.


The programme samples the lively atmosphere of the inaugural Thoor Ballylee Poetry Slam and hears from organisers Lelia Doolan and Sarah Clancy. Paul McNamara, winner of the competition, is second from left.


‘Leabhar na hAthghabhála / Poems of Repossession’ is an impressive anthology of poetry in Irish from the past century with English translations. Editor, poet, and translator Louis de Paor chooses some poems from the anthology and talks about his desire to make this work visible to a wider audience.

Martina Evans is sure we all have a poem in us. She talks with Rick O’Shea and reads from her collection ‘The Windows of Graceland,’ published by Carcanet.

To listen to the programme, broadcast on RTÉ Radio One 7.30pm Saturday 7th January, follow this link.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


Poetry Slam at Thoor Ballylee

Poetry Slam Competition

Thoor Ballylee

Saturday 15 October 2016


A slam poetry competition will take place in Thoor Ballylee, the former home of WB Yeats on Saturday October 15. Performance poets are  invited to apply for one of 10 places at the event. This is the first competition of its kind to be held at the tower house.

This event will be MC-ed by Galway poets and former Cuirt Grand Slam winners Elaine Feeney and Sarah Clancy who, jealous of the attention being given to the other poets, may decide to perform some of their own poems in the interval.

Prizes are available, for those who like fumbling in the greasy till, including a first prize €250, second prize of €100, and third prize of €50, sponsored by Poetry Ireland.

All poets who perform and all judges will also receive a copy of Poetry Ireland Review Issue 116: A WB Yeats Special Issue, also sponsored by Poetry Ireland.

There will be 10 slots for poets to perform at this event, with the contestants selected in advance by Elaine Feeney and Sarah Clancy based on submissions. Entries for this event are open now and poets wishing to enter must send a poem of their own in any format — text, video, or recording — to sarahclancygalway@gmail.com on or before October 4.  All submissions must include ‘Tower Poetry Slam Entry’ in the title of the e-mail.

Each poem must be three minutes’ duration or less. There will be two rounds, with the five highest scoring poets from round one going through to the second round, after which the winners will be decided. Qualifying poets must perform a different poem in the second round. In each round the judges will be selected from the audience and their decisions will be both subjective and final.

Poets are expected to perform their poems without using a script and scoring will reflect this. Poems must be the performer’s own work and not have been previously published in book form nor have been the winning poem in any other slam competition.

Transport from Galway will be available by bus which will depart from the Spanish Arch (in front of Jury’s Hotel ) at 6.30pm and will return to there after the event. Tickets for bus and admission are €20, €10 for admission only, and there will be no admission charge for performing poets.

Refreshments, including wine, will be available for purchase on the night.

To book tickets call Thoor Ballylee between 10am and 2pm daily on 091 631436. Or email yeatsthoorballylee@gmail.com. There will also be limited admission on the door.

Any funds raised will go towards supporting the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society in its work preserving Thoor Ballylee.

Hear W.B. Yeats read his own verse here! As he says, he reads with great emphasis upon the rhythm.


Lady Gregory Yeats Autumn Gathering

Lady Gregory Yeats Autumn Gathering

This weekend sees the Lady Gregory Yeats Autumn Gathering, taking place in south Galway at the Lady Gregory Hotel Gort, Coole Park, and Thoor Ballylee from Friday 30th September to Sunday October 2nd 2016.

In this anniversary year,  speakers from near and far will be thinking about 1916 and its local connections, and the imaginative landscape of writers like Gregory, Yeats, and Joyce. As well as memories and revivals it also features theatre: with a tour of the NUI Galway theatre archives on Friday, and on Sunday a play performed at Thoor Ballylee by The Curlew Theatre Company called History!: Reading the Easter Rising.

Below follows a summary programme. Further details and how to register can be found at the Autumn Gathering Website.

W.B.Yeats Rose: Scarlet Floribunda. A new variety of Irish rose bred for the 150th anniversary of W.B. Yeats. Botanical Artist: Holly Sommerville

W.B.Yeats Rose: Scarlet Floribunda. A new variety of Irish rose bred for the 150th anniversary of W.B. Yeats. Botanical Artist: Holly Sommerville

Lady Gregory Yeats Autumn Gathering

Yeats and Lady Gregory’s prominent role in theatrical, poetic, and cultural life in the period is often acknowledged but their particular connections with and responses to 1916 deserve examination. This 22nd Gathering explores the collaborations, creations, and disagreements present in 1916, exploring how the aesthetic conceptions of drama and poetry not only affected the Rising but shaped a response to it.

Within Coole Park’s historic walled garden, sits the famous ‘autograph tree’ where world-renowned authors such as Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Sean O’Casey, John Millington Synge and George Moore, carved their initials, marking Coole Park as the centre of the Irish Literary Revival in the 20th century. Taking place in Coole Park and Thoor Ballylee, Yeats’ 15th century castle-home, the Autumn Gathering will highlight the impact of 1916 to both the literary giants of the time and local people of Gort and South Galway.

Friday 30 September 2016




















Tour of the Abbey Theatre Archive NUIG

Depart Gort at 13.00 to arrive at National University of Ireland Galway at 14.00

Tour includes display of items from the Abbey Theatre.


Registration for Twenty-Second

Lady Gregory/Yeats Autumn Gathering.

Reception & Formal Opening:

Welcome by Director, Ronnie O’Gorman.

Formal opening by Greg White, great grandson of Francis FitzAdelm Persse, brother of Lady Gregory, and cutting of the Gort Barm Brack.

Dedication of Gort Library’s Coole Collection to the memory of Sheila O’Donnellan, co-founder of the Autumn Gathering

Opening Address by Ray Burke, Chief News Editor at RTE and Author of ‘Joyce County’

featuring a new book which explores James Joyce’s ties with Galway


Entertainment by Sonic Strings youth orchestra from Coole Music



Coach leaves from The Lady Gregory Hotel, Gort





The Lady Gregory Hotel, Gort














Saturday 01 October 2016































Coach departs Lady Gregory Hotel for Coole Park.

Lecture Sessions chaired by Colin Smythe renowned publisher & literary agent

W.B. Yeats, Lady Augusta Gregory and 1916

Dr Adrian Paterson, Director of Graduate Research-English, School of Humanities
National University of Ireland, Galway


Tea/Coffee Break

 The first time I saw a whole salmon cooked’:    Encounters with the wealthy in Gort and the GPO

Lucy McDiarmid, Marie Frazee-Baldassarre Professor of English at Montclair State University, N.J.




Easter Week through Abbey Eyes

Cecily O’Neill, Author and International Authority on Drama Education and Theatre.

Forum: Discussion with the Speakers


View the Coole Collection dedicated to the memory of Sheila O’Donnellan at Gort Library, Old Church of Ireland, Queen St., Gort.


Stroll through the woods

(accompanied by NPWS Tour Guide)


View the exhibition and documentary about Lady Gregory and Coole



Candlelit Dinner & Entertainment.




Coole Park

Visitor Centre




 Coole Park

Visitor Centre














Coach leaves from The Lady Gregory Hotel at 19.15



Sunday 2 October 2016















Coach departs Lady Gregory Hotel for Thoor Ballylee.


How have we remembered 1916?”

Catriona Crowe, National Archivist of Ireland.



History!: Reading the Easter Rising – Play  

Performed by The Curlew Theatre Company.


View the Coole Collection dedicated to the memory of Sheila O’Donnellan at Gort Library, Old Church of Ireland, Queen St., Gort

(open until 17.00 – afternoon tea)


Farewell to our Friends!


Thoor Ballylee










Organising Committee:                                         Booking Info:

Ronnie O’Gorman (Director)                                 Marion Cox

Marion Cox (Organiser)                                         1 Kiltiernan East

Eileen O’Connor (Hon. Member)                          Kilcolgan

Lois Tobin (Founding Member)                            Co. Galway

Tel: 086-8053917                                              e-mail: monaleen@msn.com

Website: www.autumngathering.com

Lady Augusta Gregory, 27 September 1916

Lady Augusta Gregory, 27 September 1916


Seamus Heaney landscape under threat

Road scheme ploughs through Anahorish & Mossbawn

Landscapes like those in Galway surrounding Thoor Ballylee and Coole Park or Patrick Kavanagh’s Inniskeen Co. Monaghan are not only important natural environments in themselves but a part of the world’s poetic heritage as surely as the Cumberland Lake District of Wordsworth and Coleridge.


Like Yeats, Nobel-Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney is attached to  several landscapes, including the Broagh, Hillhead, Lagan’s Road and the Strand at Lough Beg. However his founding place is Anahorish, the south Derry townland to the west of Lough Neagh which features in some of the poet’s most famous works, including “Digging”, “Blackberry-Picking,” “Death of a Naturalist” and “Mid-term Break”. The poem “Anahorish” begins with a translation of Anach fhíor uisce, the Irish root of the townland’s name. It was, for Heaney, his “place of clear water,” which he called “the first hill in the world”. Bernard O’Donoghue, poet and Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford, has said of Heaney that the “importance of his life experience to his poetry is a crucial part of Heaney’s work; he is often referred to as “a poet of place,” and Anahorish is central to that place”.

In October 2016 the Northern Irish government will begin to build a dual-carriageway road through Anahorish, setting for much of Heaney’s best-loved poetry, within about a hundred yards of Mossbawn, his family home. Before his death Heaney himself protested against the proposed road scheme, describing an alternative route through an old aerodrome where there is an industrial estate, as less of a “wound on the ecology.”

Heaney was a great friend to Yeats, Thoor Ballylee and the landscape of South Galway, and reportedly described the scheme as unthinkable as putting a motorway through Coole Park. Coole Park faces its own issues as the encroaching dual-carriageway sweeps just past its gates. It would seem that the poetic landscapes of the whole island of Ireland are under threat, just when the importance of culture and place is being widely re-affirmed in schemes like cities of culture (Derry 2013 and Galway 2020).

The revival of the road scheme is particularly poignant at a time when the Seamus Heaney HomePlace visitors centre in Bellaghy is due to open at the end of the month. Heaney died in Dublin in 2013 and is buried in Bellaghy. Work on the nearby dual-carriageway is due to begin in October.

Time is running out if the scheme is to be opposed. A petition against the road has been set up here at Change.org. Further news stories about the scheme can be viewed in the following from the New Statesman, Belfast Telegraph, and Irish News.







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.


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.

TateImages_T06518 Samuel Palmer Lonely Tower

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 brothers lecture in Sligo

Nora Niland Lecture 2016

‘Horsemen for companions’: the Yeats brothers

Adrian Paterson, NUI Galway

7.30 Friday 10 June

The Model Sligo

Free event followed by wine and bites

8 Saint Colman

Dun Emer Industries: Banner for St Brendan’s Cathedral Loughrea (1903). Design by Jack B. Yeats, execution by Lily Yeats and workers of the Dun Emer.

‘Without contraries is no progression’, W.B. Yeats liked to repeat, following William Blake. Born to the most influential artistic family ever to come out of Ireland, the Yeats brothers, the poet W.B. and Jack B. the painter, are contrary characters and contrary artists, but share many things: a deep feeling for place, a delight in idiosyncracy, a gift for expression, and utter artistic seriousness. Thinking about them together sheds new light on both. Their lifelong connection survived disagreements political, artistic, familial, and temperamental, and produced a fascinating series of artistic collaborations from early days around kitchen table with their talented sisters, through a fascination with Irish stories and characters, to the later, magnificent series of Broadsides. It is sometimes forgotten that Jack B.Yeats was also a writer, while his brother started life as a visual artist, while the interest of both in theatre and in song never wavered. Alongside its A Broadside exhibition which features Jack B. Yeats’s prints and ballads, and a new display of the irreplaceable Niland Collection, The Model Sligo hosts the 2016 inaugural Nora Niland Lecture exploring their artistic connections and collaborations.

Dr Adrian Paterson is a Lecturer in English at the National University of Ireland, Galway. A graduate of Worcester College, Oxford, and Trinity College, Dublin, he is the author of the forthcoming Words for Music: W.B. Yeats and Musical Sense and the curator of Yeats & the West, an exhibition hosted by the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway, The Model, Sligo, and shortly to open at Thoor Ballylee. A member of the steering group for Yeats2015, he has published widely on nineteenth and twentieth century art and literature with a particular interest in the artistic interactions of modernism and the fin-de-siècle.


About Nora Niland 

Inaugural Nora Niland Lecture 2016

For the first time Nora Niland will be publicly honoured at a special event which will take place during the Yeats Day celebrations this year.  Born in 1913 in the townland of Ballinastak near Tuam, Co Galway, Nora was a graduate of English and Irish literature from NUI Galway.

She moved to Sligo in 1945 where she took up the position of Sligo County Librarian. It was then that she began to draw greater attention to the links between Sligo and the influential Yeats family.  In 1959 Nora borrowed five paintings by Jack Butler Yeats to exhibit for the first Yeats Summer School. During the exhibition, Niland began to feel that the paintings should remain in Sligo and so she set about raising the £3,000 needed to purchase them in the hope of establishing a public art collection for the county. Two years later her determination paid off, and The Niland Collection was born.

Through her efforts Sligo Corporation acquired significant holdings of material relating to the Yeats family and it is now one of Ireland’s most substantial public art collections.  The Jack B. Yeats paintings were then housed, together with other Yeats family material and artworks, in a special room in Sligo County Library.

Paintings by the Yeats family feature prominently in the Niland collection with almost fifty works by Jack B. Yeats, nineteen portraits by his father John Butler Yeats, as well as works by Jack’s wife Mary Cottenham Yeats, and his sister Elizabeth Yeats.  The collection has an emphasis on the northwest of Ireland and features many artists who are linked to the area including Patrick Collins, Sean McSweeney, Patrick Hall and Nick Miller.mIt also features pieces of work by Norah McGuinness, Mary Swanzy, Sean Keating, Gerard Dillon, Paul Henry and Louis le Brocquy.

In 2002 a further 30 works of Irish art were generously lent on a long-term basis by the collector Jobst Graeve. The Niland Collection has now grown to over 300 works and is cared for by, and displayed at, The Model Niland Gallery on the Mall in Sligo.
Nora Niland never married and when she retired she returned to live in her native Ballinastack.  She died in 1988 and sadly failed to get to see her dreams of a gallery to house her pictures come to fruition.

To celebrate her contribution in creating this prestigious art collection for Sligo, The Inaugural Nora Niland Lecture in association with NUIG, will take place on Friday, June 10th at 7.30pm in the Model Niland Gallery.  It will be presented by Dr Adrian Paterson, a lecturer in English at NUI Galway and a member of the Yeats2015 committee.

He will be joined by renowned Jack B. Yeats scholar Dr Hilary Pyle at a special Yeats Salon from 9.30pm.

Talk at Yeats & the West: Yeats & the Problem of Crazy Jane

Yeats & the Problem of Crazy Jane

Public Talk


Professor Margaret Mills Harper

6pm Thursday 28 April

The Model Theatre, Sligo

Fergus Bourke: Hawthorn Tree, Connemara

Fergus Bourke: Hawthorn Tree, Connemara

This talk considers Yeats’s late 1930s flowering in poetry that is randy, raucous, rampaging, but possessing also a rare subtlety and rhythmic feeling.  The talk opens up discussion of poetics, censorship, balladry, sexuality, the fascinating western figures of Cracked Mary and Crazy Jane, what you can get up to beneath trees, and even a type of herbal substance named ‘Warlock’.  Professor Harper’s scholarship is both engaging and profound, and this is a talk not to be missed.

Margaret Mills Harper is Glucksman Professor of Contemporary Writing in English at the University of Limerick. She is the author of The Aristocracy of Art: Joyce and Wolfe (1990), and Wisdom of Two: The Spiritual and Literary Collaboration of George and W. B. Yeats ( 2006). She has co-edited two of the four volumes of Yeats’s “Vision” Papers (1992 and 2001) and both the 1925 and 1937 versions of Yeats’s A Vision (2008, 2015).

Meg Harper

Crazy Jane and the Bishop
Bring me to the blasted oak
That I, midnight upon the stroke,
(All find safety in the tomb.)
May call down curses on his head
Because of my dear Jack that’s dead.
Coxcomb was the least he said:
The solid man and the coxcomb.

Nor was he Bishop when his ban
Banished Jack the Journeyman,
(All find safety in the tomb.)
Nor so much as parish priest,
Yet he, an old book in his fist,
Cried that we lived like beast and beast:
The solid man and the coxcomb.

The Bishop has a skin, God knows,
Wrinkled like the foot of a goose,
(All find safety in the tomb.)
Nor can he hide in holy black
The heron’s hunch upon his back,
But a birch-tree stood my Jack:
The solid man and the coxcomb.

Jack had my virginity,
And bids me to the oak, for he
(All find safety in the tomb.)
Wanders out into the night
And there is shelter under it,
But should that other come, I spit:
The solid man and the coxcomb.

from Words for Music Perhaps (1931)

Professor Margaret Mills Harper appears in conversation with the curator of Yeats & the West, and Lecturer in English at NUI Galway, Dr Adrian Paterson.

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

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.

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

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

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