Thoor Ballylee to open with the help of generous donation

Thoor Ballylee, W.B. Yeats’s ancestral home in Gort, Co. Galway is to re-open in June after it was affected by the 2015 floods. Today, the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society is  delighted also to acknowledge a generous $10,000 donation from former US Senator Chris Dodd.

Dodd portrait color edited

Former US senator Chris Dodd

Senator Dodd’s donation arrived at an ideal time as it has given not only the necessary financial support but also an injection of energy and confidence to re-open Thoor Ballylee for another great cultural and educational season. Thoor Ballylee will officially re-open to the public for the June bank holiday weekend. On Saturday 18 of June, two new Thoor Ballylee exhibitions will be unveiled by another generous US benefactor Joseph Hassett.

Thoor Ballylee May 2016

Thoor Ballylee May 2016

As Thoor Ballylee, W.B. Yeats’s ancestral home in Co. Galway, prepares to re-open its doors to the public, the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society acknowledges a generous $10,000 donation from former US Senator Chris Dodd. Without such generous support from Senator Dodd and the American Ireland Fund Thoor Ballylee would not be able to open its doors to the multitude of Yeats enthusiasts and tourists who visit it every year.

Since the tower re-opened last summer, 3,500 people from all over the world have visited Thoor Ballylee to experience at first hand Yeats’s source of inspiration, his family home and the beautiful landscape that stretches to Coole Park and on to the Burren. However, the tower was submerged in water after last winter’s widespread flooding, which affected many parts of the West of Ireland. The local committee had the foresight to strip the tower and recover its contents before the water rose. Thoor Ballylee is obviously a resilent structure and has withstood the floods. All is far from being in ‘ruin once again’! Many volunteers and local tradesmen have been busy restoring the tower to pristine condition. Senator Dodd’s donation ensures that Thoor Ballylee will open for another great cultural and educational season.

Thoor Ballylee will officially re-open to the public for the June bank holiday weekend. On Saturday 18th of June, two new Thoor exhibitions will be unveiled. Over the summer, a series of events will be organised that will honour Yeats’s memory, his heritage and his links with the literary revival and with 1916.

We rely on public and private funding to maintain this incredible project. All donations are welcome on

More About Thoor Ballylee

Ireland’s Nobel Laureate for poetry, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) spent his summers in Thoor Ballylee, where the landscape and spirit infused so much of his poetry. In 1928, Yeats published The Tower followed by The Winding Stair in 1933. Both collections were inspired by the life, landscape, and architecture of the place, and feature many poems set and composed at Thoor Ballylee.

In 2014, a local community group, the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society leased Thoor Ballylee from Fáilte Ireland to develop it into a cultural centre. It was re-opened on June 13th 2015 in time for the Yeats 150th Anniversary. Though floods again affected Thoor in the winter of 2015-16, the Society is continuing to undertake a national and international fundraising effort to support the ambitious project. The tower will once again re-open in June 2016.


Come to Thoor for Yeats’s birthday!

Invitation to Thoor Ballylee

16.00-18.00 Saturday 13 June 2015

Thoor Ballylee, Gort, Co. Galway

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

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

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


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

Winding stair

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

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

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

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

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

Come and join us!


Development project launch media

The Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society development project launch continues to provoke interest. Included here is a video of Ronnie O’Gorman speaking at the launch about Yeats’s purchase of the tower, its history, and its vital importance to Yeats’s own poetry. He draws attention to Thomas Sturge Moore’s wonderful cover for Yeats’s seminal volume The Tower (1928), featuring an image of Thoor Ballylee reflected in water (things above are as things below) which is the inspiration for the Society’s logo. Also included is an image of the poster for the launch in situ in Gort. Details of how to donate online will be made available shortly.