13/06/12 – Yeats Inaugural Day essential element to country’s identity- Deenihan
Jimmy Deenihan TD Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht today (Wednesday 13th June, 2012) attended the inaugural Yeats Day to honour and celebrate the life and work William Butler Yeats, in Drumcliffe Churchyard, Sligo.
Addressing the guests in Drumcliffe Minister Deenihan spoke about WB Yeats and the towering presence that he was in the literary and political events that marked the first decades of 20th century Ireland. “He is arguably Ireland’s national poet and was our first Nobel Laureate for literature. He played a crucial role in the emergence of a distinct Irish culture in the early years of the last century through his writing but equally important perhaps through his role in the establishment of the Abbey Theatre and his continued involvement in that Theatre up until his death” said the Minister.
Dignatories in attendance included His Excellency Chihiro Atsumi, Japanese Ambassador in Ireland & Mrs Atsumi along with Mayor of Sligo, Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady Reverend Ian Linton, Rector of Drumcliffe, Joe Cox, President of the Yeats Society, and members of both Dáil and Senate, as well as local Councillors and Members of the Yeats Day Committee.
Minster Deenihan also said that Yeats international fame means that we share him with the world however, we are fortunate that our own National Library holds the foremost William Butler Yeats literary collection in the world today. This is as a result of the generosity of initially his widow, Mrs George Yeats and then in more recent years his son and family. “The Irish people are greatly indebted to these benefactors who have enriched our cultural heritage with this gift” said Minister Deenihan.
Ireland has long been recognised internationally for the important role that Irish creators have played nationally and internationally for many generations. Concluding Minister Deenihan said “this Government appreciates and values the contribution the arts sector makes to the internationally renowned artistic reputation of this country. Events such as this inaugural Yeats Day here, in Sligo – the place Yeats loved most – is an essential element to a country’s identity, profile, confidence and place in the world.”