12/06/2015: Minister Humphreys and Minister of State Ó Ríordáin visit Sligo to join in Yeats Day celebrations

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister of State, Aodhán Ó Riordáin TD, are visiting Sligo this weekend to join in the celebrations for Yeats Day 2015, marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Nobel Prize-winning poet William Butler Yeats.

The Ministers are attending a variety of the many events taking place in Sligo this weekend. Events to mark Yeats Day are also taking place across the globe, including exhibitions and performances in Tokyo, Vienna, Madrid, Singapore, Melbourne and London. The Yeats Day celebrations are the focal point of the year long Yeats 2015 initiative, which is being supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Speaking in advance of her visit, Minister Humphreys said:

“I am thoroughly looking forward to visiting Sligo this weekend to attend some of the many events taking place to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Yeats’ birthday. This weekend’s events – which also extend across the globe – are the high point of Yeats 2015, the year-long celebration of Yeats’s life and work.

“Lissadell House is a wonderful location for the Great Yeats Birthday Party, as the House is so closely associated with Yeats. Any time spent in Lissadell makes it easy to understand how Yeats was so inspired by its surrounding landscape.

“There are a host of events taking place this weekend across Sligo, Ireland and indeed in some of the world’s greatest capital cities, all with the aim of celebrating the life and work of W.B. Yeats. Yeats 2015, which is being funded by my Department as part of the Decade of Commemorations, is an exciting and engaging yearlong initiative celebrating one of our best known literary icons.”

Minister Ó Ríordáin said:

“We spend a lot of time talking about the economic recovery, however this is meaningless if we lose focus on improving the society in which we live.

“The beauty of W.B. Yeats’ writings is that it offers us a cultural richness which makes us proud to be Irish. Yeats’ work is an integral part of our cultural history and he is one of the great poets of his generation.  His poetry deserves celebration and we should continue to teach our children about it in the years to come so that we never lost sight of the cultural richness that is a cornerstone of our nation.”

This evening (Friday), Minister Ó Ríordáin will present the Yeats Day Architecture Prize for 2015 in the Model. Submissions were invited for conceptual interpretations of WB Yeats’ poem ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’. The winning design, ‘Square Moon’ by shindesignworks, an architecture design team based in London and Daegu, will be constructed on the island for this weekend.

Minister of State Ó Ríordáin will also present Psychic Lighthouse, an exhibition that takes Yeats’ interest in the practice of magic and the quest for enlightenment as its point of departure.  The Minister will finish his evening in the Model, which will host a magical evening of music and conversation with renowned guests, including Professor Margaret Mills Harper, Mark Patrick Hederman, Susan Hiller, & Vincent Woods, with music and song performed by Emer Mayock and Mary McPartlan.

Tomorrow (Saturday), Minister Humphreys will be at Lissadell House for an afternoon of events. The Minister will unveil a portrait of Yeats by his father, John Butler Yeats, courtesy of the Officers Mess Haulbowline, kindly loaned to Lissadell House by the Irish Naval Service. She will also award the prizes for the Yeats Poetry and Art Competitions. On Saturday evening, Minister Humphreys will attend the Poet Laureate event at IT Sligo’s Knocknarea Arena, where President Michael D. Higgins will be the guest of honour.


Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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