Tuesday, January 28, 2014

W.B. Yeats

Today is the anniversary of W.B. Yeat's death (January 28, 1939), so it seems only appropriate to put up this post today!

Although the Irish poet William Butler Yeats was born in County Dublin in 1839, his mother was from the Irish County of Sligo and he spent his childhood holidays there.

Today, the Irish Yeats Society headquarters are in the town of Sligo.  In 1973, the Directors of Allied Irish Banks presented the Society with their Hyde Bridge premises to be used as a memorial to the Yeats family.

Today this impressive brick building houses the Yeats International Summer School, which is now in its 55th year.  The building also houses an audio visual exhibition of the life of William Butler Yeats, who was an influential figure of 20th century literature, and his contemporaries. It is also the home of a substantial library, local, national and international exhibitions, a Poetry Circle, and a cafe!  It has become a hub for literary culture and the arts.

The Douglas Hyde Bridge on the Garavogue River
Yeats was awarded a Nobel Prize in literature in 1923.  He is the first Irishman to win this prestigious honor. Ironically, most critics feel he completed his greatest works after winning the prize.

William Butler Yeats in 1911
Photo: Wikipedia
Irishmen are justifiably proud of their poet.  Yeats was to have an enormous influence on literature during his lifetime. An important cultural leader, a major playwright and a great poet, he was also deeply involved in Irish politics and was appointed a senator of the Irish Free State in 1922.
The Yeats Memorial Building
Kathy getting in a photo op
Yeats was involved with the Celtic Revival, a movement which promoted Ireland's native heritage.  He would often draw on Irish mythology, legends and folklore for his writings.

The poet looked upon Sligo as his spiritual home. It's rugged landscape was to become his "country of the heart".

Photos: L. Pearce

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