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.

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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.

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‘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.

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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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Poetry Slam at Thoor Ballylee

Poetry Slam Competition

Thoor Ballylee

Saturday 15 October 2016

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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.

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At Home with Yeats: this Thursday!

This Thursday at 8pm Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society presents:

At Home with Yeats

An evening of poetry, song, and story for Poetry Ireland Day.
Willie Yeats returns to his old home for an evening’s sonic celebration with celebrated poets Mary O’Malley and Sarah Clancy, and musicians Charlie Piggott, Carmel Dempsey and John Faulkner. As a campaign fundraising event for the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, proceeds go to the development of the tower, especially opened for the day’s events!
Poetry Ireland Day Thursday May 7th at 8 pm at Thoor Ballylee.
Tickets: €20 on the door.
 tommy

At Home with Yeats

Poetry Ireland Day Thursday May 7th at 8 pm at Thoor Ballylee.
Tickets: €20 on the door.
 cropped-holmes-tower-cut11.jpg
Sarah Clancy is a satirist, political activist, a page and performance poet from Galway. She has several collections to her name, Stacey and the Mechanical Bull (Lapwing Press, Belfast, 2011) and Thanks for Nothing, Hippies (Salmon Poetry, 2012). Her latest, The Truth and Other Stories is out this year. Sarah has won the Cuirt International Festival of Literature Grand Slam Championships and has twice been runner up in the North Beach Nights Grand Slam.
 cropped-thoorballylee_deirdreholmes20057.jpg
Mary O’Malley was born in Connemara and educated at University College, Galway. After living in Portugal, she returned to Ireland and published her first book of poetry A Consideration of Silk, in 1990 with Galway-based publisher Salmon. She is the author of seven collections of poetry, most recently Valparaiso (Carcanet, 2012), which emerged from her time on the Irish marine research ship,The Celtic Explorer.
p Mary O M
Charlie Piggott is an Irish traditional musician, best known as a founding member of De Dannan. He grew up in Cork, where his first instrument was the button accordion. ‘One of the most influential Irish banjoists of his generation’, he later reverted to playing the melodeon, and has toured extensively in Europe, Canada, and the US, founding the Lonely Stranded Band with Miriam Collins and Joe Corcoran. Receiving acclaim for his old-style recordings and his talks and lectures, Piggott is co-author, with Fintan Vallely and photographer Nutan Jacques Piraprez, of Blooming Meadows: The World of Irish Traditional Musicians.
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Carmel Dempsey is one of Galway’s best-known musical performers, a distinguished musician and a talented singer. As a solo artist in the late 80’s Carmel played support to many international acts including Meat Loaf and Leo Sayer. After that success she went on to tour with some of Ireland’s best known bands including De Danann and The Dolores Keane Band. She has also toured with Druid Theatre and played at Pierce Brosnan’s wedding party in Craughwell.

pJohn Faulkner

John Faulkner, a London-born multi-instrumentalist, film composer, producer, and songwriter, grew up with rock and roll, before developing a close professional relationship with singer/songwriter/folklorist Ewan McColl and his wife Peggy Seeger, who in turn introduced Faulkner to the world of British and Irish folk music. He has composed several film scores for the BBC, including for the children’s series Bagpuss, and is a founder member of the trad bands The Reel Union and Kinvara, touring round the world and featuring on more than fifteen albums with the best in traditional music.

At Home with Yeats

At Home with Yeats

An evening of poetry, song, and story for Poetry Ireland Day.
Willie Yeats returns to his old home for an evening’s sonic celebration with celebrated poets Mary O’Malley and Sarah Clancy, and musicians Charlie Piggott, Carmel Dempsey and John Faulkner. As a campaign fundraising event for the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, proceeds go to the development of the tower, especially opened for the day’s events!
cropped-thoorballyleeriver3.jpg
Poetry Ireland Day Thursday May 7th at 8 pm at Thoor Ballylee.
Tickets: €20 on the door.
ThoorBallylee_Cuirt2015%204
Sarah Clancy is a satirist, political activist, a page and performance poet from Galway. She has several collections to her name, Stacey and the Mechanical Bull (Lapwing Press, Belfast, 2011) and Thanks for Nothing, Hippies (Salmon Poetry, 2012). Her latest, The Truth and Other Stories is out this year. Sarah has won the Cuirt International Festival of Literature Grand Slam Championships and has twice been runner up in the North Beach Nights Grand Slam.
Mary O’Malley was born in Connemara and educated at University College, Galway. After living in Portugal, she returned to Ireland and published her first book of poetry A Consideration of Silk, in 1990 with Galway-based publisher Salmon. She is the author of seven collections of poetry, most recently Valparaiso (Carcanet, 2012), which emerged from her time on the Irish marine research ship,The Celtic Explorer.
p Mary O M
Charlie Piggott is an Irish traditional musician, best known as a founding member of De Dannan. He grew up in Cork, where his first instrument was the button accordion. ‘One of the most influential Irish banjoists of his generation’, he later reverted to playing the melodeon, and has toured extensively in Europe, Canada, and the US, founding the Lonely Stranded Band with Miriam Collins and Joe Corcoran. Receiving acclaim for his old-style recordings and his talks and lectures, Piggott is co-author, with Fintan Vallely and photographer Nutan Jacques Piraprez, of Blooming Meadows: The World of Irish Traditional Musicians.

Carmel Dempsey is one of Galway’s best-known musical performers, a distinguished musician and a talented singer. As a solo artist in the late 80’s Carmel played support to many international acts including Meat Loaf and Leo Sayer. After that success she went on to tour with some of Ireland’s best known bands including De Danann and The Dolores Keane Band. She has also toured with Druid Theatre and played at Pierce Brosnan’s wedding party in Craughwell.

pJohn Faulkner

John Faulkner, a London-born multi-instrumentalist, film composer, producer, and songwriter, grew up with rock and roll, before developing a close professional relationship with singer/songwriter/folklorist Ewan McColl and his wife Peggy Seeger, who in turn introduced Faulkner to the world of British and Irish folk music. He has composed several film scores for the BBC, including for the children’s series Bagpuss, and is a founder member of the trad bands The Reel Union and Kinvara, touring round the world and featuring on more than fifteen albums with the best in traditional music.