Heard of W.B. Yeats? If not, you’re about to. That’s because 2015 is the year Ireland will celebrate the 150th Birthday of one of their most famous literary sons.
W.B Yeats was a poet and staunch advocate for literary reform in Ireland. Born in County Dublin in 1865, Yeats spent much of his childhood in County Sligo, whose natural beauty influenced much of his early work. Towards the end of his life, Yeats held a place on the Irish senate, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923.
Yeats 2015 is a yearlong programme of events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the poet. From Sligo to Galway, Dublin to London, a variety of artistic and cultural events are planned to honour this Irish icon, as well as showcase the Emerald Isle’s creative, vibrant and contemporary culture.
Should you be planning a holiday to Ireland this year, Yeats 2015 provides a great opportunity to discover more about this extraordinary man and his extraordinary home country. Here’s a brief guide to some of the events taking place for Yeats 2015.
Yeats At One, Hargadon Bros, Sligo
As Sligo’s oldest drinking den, Hargadon Bros seems the most obvious place to host daily readings of Yeats’ verse. Though it’s not known whether Yeats knocked any back in this charming wee tavern, the poet paid frequent visits to Sligo throughout his life, so it’s plausible he could have had a boozy sesh here. Regardless, Hargadon’s poetry readings prove an enchanting spectacle. Taking place at 1pm EVERYDAY throughout the year, the readings offer punters an opportunity to listen to Yeats’ poems in their intended form; spoken aloud in an ancient tavern for proper Irish folk to mull over. You can find out more about Hargadon Bros in our top ten pubs in Ireland post.
Cuirt International Festival of Literature, County Galway
Established in 1985, The Cuirt International Festival of Literature has become one of Ireland’s most renowned literary and cultural events, attracting visitors from around the globe. Taking place at numerous sites across County Galway, the week-long festival has a rich and diverse programme of speakers and events, including an evening with Irvine Welsh, best-selling author of novels including Trainspotting, Glue and Filth. Despite being a celebration of modern and emerging literature, Cuirt pays homage to older writers too; on 21st April, Cuirt will celebrate the life of Yeats in Galway City, with a special concert and plague unveiling. Well worth a visit for literature aficionados.
Where Benbulben Sets the Scene, County Sligo
Head to Hawk’s Well Theatre in Sligo town on Sunday 14th June and witness the wonderful Where Benbulben Sets the Scene; a theatrical full-length show charting the life of WB Yeats from breezy young writer to wistful, mature poet. County Sligo had a massive influence on Yeats’ work, and the name Benbulben is taken from an imposing mountain where Yeats’ is said to have hiked. With a soundtrack of charming Irish trad and a backdrop of stunning Sligo landscapes shot by photography Damien Stenson, this is a must-see event for lovers of poetry, music and theatre. Tickets are available from the Hawk’s Well Theatre website.
Visit the Emerald Isle in the year of Yeats
Whether you’re a fan of W.B. Yeats and want to partake in some of the events celebrating his life or are interested in visiting the places where the writer found his inspiration, book a self-catering cottage break in Ireland and get set for a magical getaway to the Emerald Isle.