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William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) is one of Ireland’s greatest poets, and highly regarded globally as one of the most important poets of the 20th century. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923, Yeats’ work continues to influence people around the world today, with particularly strong followings in Japan, Canada and the United States.

The celebration are rooted in County Sligo, part of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, and the resting place for Yeats and his family. According to Tourism Ireland, “The poet left instructions that he should be buried ‘under bare Ben Bulben’s head’, Ireland’s ‘Table Mountain’ which dominates the Sligo skyline. Yeats’ grave is in a churchyard in the village of Drumcliffe and a pilgrimage there forms part of a tour through Yeats Country which attracts thousands of visitors to the region each year.”
Last fall, the Government of Ireland, led by President Michael D. Higgins, announced a national year of celebration to mark the occasion of Yeats’ birth on June 13, 1865. Events are now underway and will continue through 2015. Many of the events are funded by the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht. | |

Here is a sampling of activities:


Hargadon’s Pub

5 O’Connell Street, Sligo

Yeats was known to recite poetry in pubs, so Hargadon’s has taken on the task of reading one of Yeats’ poems every day of the year at 1 pm and on Sundays at 6 pm. If you want to read a poem yourself, contact Joe Grogan. You can follow Joe on twitter:

June 13

The Great Yeats Birthday Party

Lissadel House, Sligo

One of Ireland’s most historic country manors and the birthplace of Countess Constance Markievicz, the Lissadel House is hosting The Great Yeats Birthday Party on Yeats’ birthday. Expect a full artistic tribute to Mr. Yeats from Ireland’s best writers, musicians, dancers, artists and personalities.

July 2 - August 31

Hamilton Gallery

4 Castle Street, Sligo

The Hamilton Gallery has a full slate of Yeats-related exhibitions this year, including “Dreams of a Yeatsian Landscape” (May 7-30), “Impressions and Portraits of WB Yeats” with work by 60 artists (June 13-August 31),  and “Of this Place – Contemporary Visual Reflections from Yeats Country” (July 2-August 31).

July 26 - August 7

56th Yeats International Summer School

The Yeats Society, Sligo

The Yeats Summer School, run each year by the Yeats Society, has been one of Ireland’s most popular summer events for academics around the world and for lovers of literature for half a century. In 2015 the School is bringing in a host of Yeats scholars, including Helen Vendler of Harvard University, John Paul Riquelme of Boston University and Marjorie Howes of Boston College, as well as poets Eavan Boland, Medbh McGuckian and Bernard O’Donoghue.

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