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.

tower-slam-poets

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.

tower-slam-crowd1

‘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.

tower-slam-poets-yeats1

 

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.

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.

ThoorBallylee_Cuirt2015%2016

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.

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 flooding will not delay reopening

Thoor Ballylee has been affected by recent flooding, but is structurally sound and will be opening as scheduled again in the spring, representatives from the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society have confirmed this weekend.

Over the weekend Storm Desmond hit the west coast of Ireland with considerable force, winds gusting at over 70 miles per hour (118 kph), causing power outages and bringing with it severely heavy rainfall. With the coastline battered by stormy weather, standing water appeared on many roads, and rivers and streams across County Galway are running unusually high. Streamstown River, which passes Yeats’s tower at its foot, burst its banks and water flowed down the road. Members of Yeats Thoor Ballylee were quickly on the scene to inspect the situation.

However the tower has suffered no long-term damage, and will open as scheduled in the spring, say representatives from the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society, who opened the tower for the first time in many years this summer. Having stood for six hundred years, the tower has been repeatedly surveyed and found to be structurally sound, even in the event of flooding, not uncommon in this part of the county. It had already been cleared out ready for winter, and no long-term damage to goods or interior is expected. A flood action plan ensures that, 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.

As Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames pointed out, the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society took on the tower in the expectation that flooding might occur. ‘That has always been part of our plans’, she confirmed today. ‘We chose to proceed on that basis and made our decisions regarding refurbishment and remountable [installations] accordingly.’

‘Yes, the tower will be open for business in the Spring’, confirmed Councillor Joe Byrne. ‘There’s a job to do, but it confirms the necessity of all the work we’ve been doing to raise electrics and services above flood levels.’

Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society is a voluntary organization who have taken on the running of Yeats’s tower using local resources and local volunteers. Thoor Ballylee opened for the first time in many years for Yeats2015, and hosted a number of cultural events, climaxing in the Harp and Moon Festival with Caitriona Yeats, granddaughter of the Nobel Prize-winning poet.  There is a full programme of events in the pipeline for next year, and a long-term plan for its permanent restoration and re-opening. Thoor Ballylee relies on external donations to fund its work with what Seamus Heaney called ‘the most important public building in Ireland.’ To find out how you can help, follow this link.

Rising flood waters at Thoor Ballylee on Friday night

Rising flood waters at Thoor Ballylee on Friday night

Lady Gregory comes back to Thoor Ballylee this Wednesday!

Pentameters Theatre/London Irish Theatre presents:

LADY GREGORY: A GALWAY LIFE

Written by Phil Mason

Directed by John Dunne

Produced by Léonie Scott-Matthews

Starring Maura Judges as Lady Gregory

Thoor Ballylee performance Wed 21st October 2015 – fresh from a run in London’s West End

Tickets: £13.00 / Concessions: £10.00
Tickets available from Colm Farrell auctioneer 091632688, from Yeats Thoor Ballylee soc members and (if available) on the door.

Lady-Augusta-Gregory-1280x695px1

Lady Gregory was the driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival at the turn of the twentieth century and was a central figure in the founding of Ireland’s Abbey Theatre. She was also a major influence on W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Sean O’Casey and many of the Irish writers of the day.

Coole Park333

 

About the author…Phil Mason is a graduate of NUI, Galway B.A. (Hons) in English and Philosophy, the College of Commerce Dublin (Computer Programming) and a former member of the institute of Certified Public Accountants. She worked in Dublin, Galway, Germany and Derry for many years developing, installing and supporting computerised accounting systems. She then qualified as an accountant and worked in accountancy for some years until she decided to trade creative accounting for creative writing just four years ago. In this time she has had one novel published and has written five plays, three of which have received rehearsed readings. Her latest play about the life and times of Lady Gregory opens in London at the beginning of October followed by a short tour in Ireland. She is currently working on a screenplay.

About the actor…Maura Judges: Recent work has included the role of Maria Josefa in The House of Bernarda Alba and Fonsia Dorsey in The Gin Game. Last year Maura took part in The Mother by Bertolt Brecht, a community production at Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Maura also enjoys working as an extra and has been seen in many TV programmes including Call the Midwife, Doctors, Broadchurch and Casualty. She also played a mad aunt in Shane White’s Belfast comedy Romancing the Score (Pentameters/Irish Theatre). Her last role was in Shelagh Stephenson’s play Five Kinds of Silence in May and her future plans include playing the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella in December.

About the producer…Léonie Scott-Matthews. Founded in August 1968, Pentameters is one of the most respected fringe theatres in London. Léonie has put on hundreds of professional shows from Shakespeare, classic revivals and new plays to alternative comedy, music and poetry events. The many authors to perform at Pentameters include Dannie Abse, Kingsley Amis, Margaret Drabble, Ted Hughes, Laurie Lee, Roger McGough, Edna O’Brien, Harold Pinter, John Wain and the psychologist R.D. Laing. The Theatre has also played host to many performers at the start of their careers, including Russell Brand, Adrian Edmundson, Ben Elton, French and Saunders, Nigel Havers, Celia lmrie, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Jenny Seagrove, Pamela Stephenson and Alexei Sayle. To celebrate her commitment to the creative arts, Léonie was honoured as an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music and, as a Hampstead resident, received a Camden Good Citizen Award in 1998 in recognition of her outstanding work for the community.

About the director…,John Dunne works as a producer, director, writer and stage manager. He has directed his own work as well as work by new Irish playwrights, with premiers in London, Dublin and Belfast. As a writer he has penned a trilogy of Irish plays consisting of Famine, 1916 and Belfast and has also written a series of Ulster plays consisting of Long Woman’s Grave, Cattle Raid of Cooley, Macha’s Curse and most recently Tommy’s Wake. John has also toured the UK and Ireland with a number of his productions. John writes, produces and directs issue plays and classic adaptations of English novels many of which have premiered in London and played across the UK.

Lady Isabella Augusta Gregory

(15 March 1852 – 22 May 1932)

Lady Gregory was a member of Irish Ascendency class with extensive land-owning property. Despite this aristocratic background she became interested in the cause of Irish freedom and supported the nationalist causes of the day.

It was on meeting W.B. Yeats at the turn of the century that her prominence as a literary figure came into being. She was a key figure in establishing the Irish Literary Theatre and later the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s national playhouse. Along with J.M. Synge and Yeats, she formed a formidable trio of Irish literary giants which was later to include Sean O’Casey and many others.

Her stately mansion at Coole Park, County Galway, became a creative hub with artists and writers staying for long periods of time – it was Yeats’ second home! Indeed, her influence on Yeats was immense, especially in the penning of many of his plays. At one point her own plays proved more popular than Yeats and Synge put together, having written up to forty plays for the Abbey as well as books on Irish folklore and mythology. .

Maura Judges delicate portrayal of Lady Gregory embarks on a journey of a life filled to the brim as we see Augusta, first as a socialite, then nationalist, then as a literary linchpin in an Ireland desperate for a national identity.

Lady Gregory’s motto in life was taken from Aristotle: “To think like a wise man, but to express oneself like the common people.”

NB: Lady Gregory will be embarking on a short tour of Ireland

During October calling at Listowel (15th), Kenmare (16th), Waterville (18th), Ballylee (21st) and Kilworth (22nd).

For further information please contact John Dunne on 07981 851 554 or email info@londonirishtheatre.com

WP_20150813_17_00_29_Pro

October arts events at Thoor Ballylee

Although closed for winter to visitors, you can still visit Thoor Ballylee for October: come along, climb the winding stair, meet our resident bats, visit the poet’s bedroom, all while enjoying unique site-specific entertainment during our October arts month of exciting events.

WP_20150813_17_06_12_Pro

12 noon Sunday 18 October Visit of the International Yeats Society

8pm Wednesday 21 October Lady Gregory: A Galway Life

7.30 pm Tuesday 27 October Yeats2015 Harp Festival of Moons

WP_20150813_16_55_44_Pro