Yeats & the West Closing Event @ The Model: Pearse, MacNeill, the Revival & the Rising

Romanticism & Realism: 

Pearse, MacNeill, the Revival & the Rising

Public Talk 

with

Mary Harris, NUI Galway

6pm Thursday 12 May

The Model Theatre, Sligo

followed by

Exhibition closing wine reception

All welcome!

May 1935 Rose Tree

This talk observes how a cultural revolution became a real revolution. It also examines  personalities and politics that more than any others shaped Irish history. Patrick Pearse and Eoin MacNeill were collaborators in the Gaelic League, writers, thinkers and educators working together on An Claidheamh Soluis; fatally, they disagreed over the preparation and timing for armed rebellion. Pearse’s plays drew upon ancient myth to openly demand revolution; MacNeill’s historical studies produced Phases of Irish History and Celtic Ireland. Was it simply romanticism vs realism? Looking back on the Easter Rising and the foundation of the Free State, W.B. Yeats suggested that ‘the modern literature of Ireland, and indeed all that stir of thought which prepared for the Anglo-Irish war, began when Parnell fell from power in 1891. A disillusioned and embittered Ireland turned from parliamentary politics; an event was conceived; and the race began, as I think, to be troubled by that event’s long gestation’. Looking back from one hundred years on, this talk considers the period’s complex interconnections of culture, literature and history, and asks how that ‘stir of thought’ at once created and limited the gestation and flowering of the decisive events of 1916.

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Dr Mary Harris is Senior Lecturer in History at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She was born in Cork and is a graduate of UCC, proceeding to Cambridge for her PhD which led to her monograph The Catholic Church and the Foundation of the Northern Irish State (Cork University Press, 1993).

Mary has worked as a secondary school teacher in Cork and Grenada, West Indies.  From 1992-6 she taught Irish Studies at the University of North London.  Since 1996 she has been in the discipline of History at the National University of Ireland, Galway.  Her teaching and research focus is on modern Irish history, and she has published widely in this area. She is currently working on a book on Eoin MacNeill.

Mary is co-ordinator of NUI Galway’s programme commemorating the 1916 Rising and is a member of the Irish government’s expert advisory group on commemoration.

Dr Mary Harris appears in conversation with the curator of Yeats & the West, and Lecturer in English at NUI Galway, Dr Adrian Paterson. The talk is followed by a wine reception for the exhibition closing at the Model, honouring NUI Galway alumni, who include the illustrious collector and donor to the Model Nora Niland.

Donal Tinney – Chairperson of The Model, Dr Adrian Paterson – NUI Galway and curator of the exhibition and Senator Susan O'Keeffe, at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly 24MAR16

Donal Tinney – Chairperson of The Model, Dr Adrian Paterson – NUI Galway and curator of the exhibition and Senator Susan O’Keeffe, at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo.
Photo: James Connolly
24MAR16

Yeats and the West logo

Yeats & the West Exhibition Tours & Talks

Curators Tours 1pm. Public Talks 6pm.

Free entry

 The Model, Sligo

Tours Thursday at 1pm

Tours of the exhibition from the curators take place every Thursday at 1pm.  Find out what makes art and poetry so close, and observe the connection of books, and music, drama, and discover never before seen rare books and fine art from the collections of NUI Galway and The Model. Come and get an inside view of the crafts and cultures that made a western revolution.

Emer McGarry, Acting Director, The Model, Cllr. Thomas Healy, Dr Jim Browne , President of NUI Galway, Martin Enright, President of Yeats Society, Sligo, Dr Adrian Paterson, NUI Galway, and curator of the exhibition, Senator Susan O'Keeffe, Ciaran Hayes, Sligo County Manager, Barry Houlihan, NUIG, Donal Tinney, Chairperson of The Model, and John Cox, NUIG, at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly 24MAR16

Emer McGarry, Acting Director, The Model, Cllr. Thomas Healy, Dr Jim Browne , President of NUI Galway, Martin Enright, President of Yeats Society, Sligo, Dr Adrian Paterson, NUI Galway, and curator of the exhibition, Senator Susan O’Keeffe, Ciaran Hayes, Sligo County Manager, Barry Houlihan, NUIG, Donal Tinney, Chairperson of The Model, and John Cox, NUIG, at the NUI Galway Launch of Yeats & the West Exhibition at The Model, Sligo.
Photo: James Connolly
24MAR16

Talks Thursdays at 6pm

This series of talks on Yeats’s connection to the west and beyond takes us inside the makings of a western cultural revolution. Talks from experts in the field range from exploring the pioneering art and craftwork of the Yeats family to W.B.Yeats’s own life and loves, considering his some of his most controversial and sexy poems; they reveal the extraordinary plays of his brother, the artist Jack B. Yeats, and alongside the Model Gallery’s newly unveiled Broadside collection, showcase his design and print work; and they weigh the wider forces that turned a cultural revolution into a real one.

Speakers include the curators of the exhibition Dr Adrian Paterson and Barry Houlihan (NUI Galway), Professor Adrian Frazier (NUI Galway), Professor Margaret Mills Harper (University of Limerick and outgoing Director of the Yeats International Summer School), Dr Hilary Pyle (former Yeats Curator at National Gallery of Ireland), Dr Ian Walsh (NUI Galway), Dr Mary Harris (NUI Galway).

Yeats and the West logo

All talks take place every Thursday at 6pm in the Model Theatre.

7 April – ‘Lake Isles, River Eyots: making Innisfree with the Yeats family’

Adrian Paterson, English, NUI Galway

14 April – ‘A Disturbing Influence: Maud Gonne in the life of W.B. Yeats’

Adrian Frazier, English, NUI Galway

21 April – ‘Jack B. Yeats’s A Broadside: a sheaf of ballads or a battery of guns?’

Hilary Pyle, former Yeats Curator at the National Gallery of Ireland

28 April – ‘W.B. Yeats and the Problem of Crazy Jane’

Margaret Mills Harper, University of Limerick, & outgoing Director of the Yeats International Summer School

5 May – ‘A Vaudeville of Frustration: The Theatre of Jack B. Yeats’.

Ian Walsh, Centre for Drama Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway

12 May – ‘Romanticism and Realism: Pearse, MacNeill, the Revival and the Rising’

Mary Harris, History, NUI Galway

For schools events Thursdays  enquire schoolvisits@nuigalway.ie

The Model opening hours

Tues-Sat: 10am – 5.30pm

Thurs: 10am – 8pm

Sun: 12 – 5pm

Mon: Closed

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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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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

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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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.

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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

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The New York Times discovers Thoor Ballylee

As the weather starts to close in for winter, there are still some exciting events to attend at Thoor Ballylee, representing rare chances for visitors to view the interior of the tower during the winter months.  Here follows the opening of what The New York Times writer Dan Barry had to say about Thoor Ballylee. You can read more here.
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BALLYLEE, Ireland — In the County Galway parish of Kiltartan, in this bit of a place called Ballylee, a lichen-flecked tower rises from the wet ground to lord over cow and stream and the occasional otter. Its limestone walls shelter a protected species of bats, some field mice and a perpetual dampness evoking the must of the past.

The tower also harbors a significant piece of the legacy of William Butler Yeats, whose birth 150 years ago has been cause for a year of celebration throughout Ireland and the world. The poet spent many summers in the tower he christenedThoor Ballylee, and it inspired some of his most enduring work.

Over the years, though, the Norman tower has encountered natural challenges so daunting that the Irish government had to shut it down as a tourist site. The damaging floods of winter seemed to fulfill an oracular poem displayed on the tower’s face:

I, the poet William Yeats,
With old mill boards and sea-green slates,
And smithy work from the Gort forge,
Restored this tower for my wife George;
And may these characters remain
When all is ruin once again.

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Thoor Ballylee open for September

The Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society is delighted to announce in this special anniversary year of Yeats2015, W.B.Yeats’s venerable tower will remain open for the month of September.

Please note: revised opening hours apply: the tower will now be open 10-1 weekdays and 12-4 on weekends. Now on view is a newly restored film about the tower and its resident poet, and an interior unseen for many years.

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As well as viewing from outside the stern Hiberno-Norman defensive tower with its bridge, stream, and pleasant gardens, this summer for the first time in years visitors can come in and view at firsthand the tower and cottage interior.

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Inspect the study and diningroom, imagine the poet’s wife George fishing from the window, cross the threshold of the old bedroom, climb the winding stair, meet our resident bats in the rafters, and pace on the battlements as did Yeats himself, enjoying wonderful 360º views of the surrounding countryside. Then return downstairs to browse our exhibition of local artists, buy keepsakes at our gift shop, talk further with our friendly volunteer guides, or just sit with a complementary cup of tea.

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On show for the first time in our new audio-visual space under slates in the old cottage is a newly-restored film about W.B.Yeats and the tower from RTÉ, written and narrated by the inimitable Yeats scholar, the late Augustine Martin.

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Altogether an unmissable experience. To find out more, contact us, or come and join us as a friend and help us keep this indispensable piece of heritage open for future generations.

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Thoor open daily until September!

Welcome to Thoor Ballylee, the Hiberno-Norman tower described by Seamus Heaney as the most important building in Ireland.

Thanks to our volunteers and donors and sponsors and friends, Thoor Ballylee is still open daily all this summer until September.

Watch our video of Thoor Ballylee opening for Yeats’s one hundred and fiftieth birthday on 13th June 2015.

(Or view here on youtube).

Thoor Ballylee is a fine and well-preserved fourteenth-century tower but its major significance is due to its close association with his fellow Nobel laureate for Literature, the poet W.B.Yeats. It was here the poet spent summers with his family and was inspired to write some of his finest poetry, making the tower his permanent symbol. Due to serious flood damage in the winter of 2009/10 the tower was closed for some years. A local group the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society has come together and are actively seeking funds to ensure its permanent restoration and reopening as a cultural centre. Because of an ongoing fundraising effort and extensive repair and restoration work, the tower and associated cottages can be viewed year round, and thanks to our volunteers are open for the summer months.

Below is Robert Gregory’s vision of the tower and environs, sketched before his death fighting in Italy in the Great War. Once the tower is fully restored it is hoped that once again it will become a cultural and educational centre for reverie and reflection for visitors from around the world. Come and see for yourself, or to find out how you can help click here.

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Robert Gregory, c.1917