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.

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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.

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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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Thoor Ballylee temporary closure Sunday 28th August

Due to the Galway Summer Rally taking place in the roads in South Galway around Ballylee, Thoor Ballylee will be closed on Sunday 28th August 2016.  The tower is open to visitors every day for all of the rest of the summer, complete with its new exhibitions and Yeats’s old winding stair.

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Visuals from our newly opened Thoor Ballylee Yeats Exhibition, available to view at Yeats’s Tower

Please accept our apologies for this brief closure. We hope you can arrange to visit another time, and hope to see you back at this historic building very soon.

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Thoor Ballylee temporary closure Friday 15th July

Due to ESB doing electricity work in the area Thoor Ballylee will be closed on Friday 15th July 2016. Local power lines and trees need some further work we are told. However the tower is open to visitors every day for all of the rest of the summer, complete with its new exhibitions and Yeats’s old winding stair.

Yeats Tower Exhibition

Visuals from our newly opened Thoor Ballylee Yeats Exhibition, available to view at Yeats’s Tower

Please accept our apologies for this brief closure. We hope you can arrange to visit another time, and hope to see you back at this historic building very soon.

Bookplate for George Yeats by Thomas Sturge Moore

Bookplate for George Yeats by Thomas Sturge Moore

Thoor Ballylee temporary closure Monday 4 July

Due to ESB doing electricity work in the area Thoor Ballylee will be closed Monday Monday 4 July 2016. Unfortunately the tower cannot operate without electricity, and power will be cut to allow work on high-level wires. However the tower is open every day for all of the rest of the summer, complete with its new exhibitions and Yeats’s old winding stair.

Please accept our apologies for this day of closure. We hope to see you back at this historic building another time very soon.

Bookplate for George Yeats by Thomas Sturge Moore

Bookplate for George Yeats by Thomas Sturge Moore

Thoor Ballylee temporary closure Monday 27th June & Monday 4 July

Due to ESB doing electricity work in the area Thoor Ballylee will be closed  Monday 27th June 2016, and in addition Monday 4 July 2016. However the tower is open every day for all of the rest of the summer, complete with its new exhibitions and Yeats’s old winding stair.

Please accept our apologies for these two days of closure. We hope to see you back at this historic building another time.

Bookplate for George Yeats by Thomas Sturge Moore

Bookplate for George Yeats by Thomas Sturge Moore

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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Harp Festival of Moons at Thoor Ballylee

Yeats Harp Moons

Caitríona Yeats at Thoor Ballylee for Harvest Moon Event

Yeats2015 Harp Festival of Moons

19.30 Tuesday 27th of October

Hosted by Thoor Ballylee Co. Galway

The Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society is delighted to welcome Caitríona Yeats, Solo Harpist at the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra and granddaughter of W.B. Yeats to perform at the Harp and Moon Festival taking place in Thoor Ballylee on the 27th of October. She will be joined by celebrated artists, Aine Ní Shioradáin, harpist and singer; Michelle O’Sullivan, poet, as well as Nicola and Karina Cahill on harp and flute. A small reception will open the evening’s entertainment at 7.30pm.

For a warm and unforgettable evening’s entertainment, please call or email Nichola to book your ticket costing 10 euro (payable on the door). email: yeatsthoorballyleesociety@gmail.com; phone +353 (0) 91 631436.

This Harvest Moon event is part of the Harp Festival of Moons, a year-long festival dedicated to W.B. Yeats, whose literary work was frequently inspired by the moon and the local landscape. Thoor Ballylee was the poetic model for his famous poem “Blood and the Moon” and where he set the “The Phases of the Moon”.

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