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.

WP_20160322_16_25_13_Pro_LI

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.

WP_20160322_16_37_18_Pro_LI

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.

WP_20160322_16_23_18_Pro_LI

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.

WP_20160322_16_22_55_Pro_LI

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.

WP_20150813_18_10_34_Pro

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!”

WP_20150813_18_04_25_Pro

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.

WP_20150813_18_10_34_Pro

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.

WP_20150813_17_00_29_Pro

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!”

WP_20150813_18_04_25_Pro

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.

10390982_825994347516126_1050531549929552791_n

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.

11537809_826383620810532_180192096021582784_n

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.

WP_20150813_17_24_49_Pro (2)

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.’

WP_20150813_17_02_35_Pro

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.

WP_20150813_16_55_44_Pro

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

WP_20150813_18_10_34_Pro