International guests enjoy top line-up at Yeats event
The 59 th Yeats Summer School brought visitors to Sligo from near and far. Students attended from South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, US, UK, Italy and from Cork, Belfast, Dublin, Galway and Sligo.
The ten-day event, now in its 59 th year was opened by journalist and author Fintan O’ Toole and a specially commissioned poetry performance was delivered by the Society’s poet in residence Alice Lyons and friends.
A special gift presentation was made to each of the former Council members of the Society to honour and thank them for their great work over many years and the Sligo Tourist Development Association hosted a gorgeous dinner at the Glass House hotel for the students.
Daily lectures and seminars with lecturers from around the globe were led by co-directors Professor Matthew Campbell from York University and Dr Lauren Arrington from University of Liverpool.
The school offered a wide variety of walks in the stunning Sligo landscape, to Carrowmore, Knocknarea, Rosses Point and Slishwood with archaeologists Martin Timoney and Auriel Robinson, tour guide David Lawless, Yeatsian Martin Enright and former director of the Society Stella Mew brought the students to see Ballisodare’s famous Salley Gardens.
The ever wonderful Rose of Innisfree ferried the students across Lough Gill to the magical Lake Isle of Innisfree, with poetry readings led by Martin Enright. And members of the school joined with the public in a really vibrant open mic with much musical and poetic talent on display.
Distinguished writers and poets Mike McCormack, Leontia Flynn and Martin Dyar read from their work and Gallery Press editor and poet Peter Fallon joined poets JT Welch, Kelly Sullivan and Aifric MacAodha in a shared reading at the lovely Methodist Church in Wine Street.
Peter Fallon also launched the beautiful new Collected Poems of Dermot Healy, published by Gallery with the beautiful cover painting, The Poet’s House by the late artist Sean McSweeney.
The first Summer School Salon was hosted by RTE’s Myles Dungan with Judith Palmer from the Poetry Society UK, Dr Nerys Williams from the UCD and Prof Barry McCrea from Notre Dame University. It addressed the complex issue of how cultural identity will be affected by Brexit and gave rise to much animated discussion and debate.
Students also enjoyed Leitrim-based documentary maker Johnny Gogan’s film about Hubert Butler - Witness to the Future, along with gorgeous food supplied by Cafe Fleur. Aisteoire Bhinn Ghulbain gave a stirring performance in Irish of Yeats’ comedy The Pot of Broth, to much laughter - despite the language barrier. It was translated by Yeats Society member Briain O’Suillebhain
Tom and Kate Gavin played a lovely set of reels and jigs at lunchtime in the Yeats building and the Curlew Theatre Company travelled from Galway to perform The Loves of Lady Gregory - a fascinating account of the people she loved during her long life.
The Hamilton Gallery hosted a reception for students.
Eily Kilgannon and three of her students Eva Murray, Eve Lunn and Sadbhb Gowran, along with Owen Eglinton, Patrick Crowley, Matthew and Domenic Suntrapak performed a great reconstruction of the Gore-Booth sisters first suffrage meeting in 1896 at beautiful Lissadell Church, with enthusiastic and noisy audience participation. Deirdre Lunn produced costumes, hair and makeup so authentic that we were transported effortlessly back across the decades.
The School closed with a reception and the breathtaking performance of WB Yeats’ play Purgatory by the Blue Raincoat Theatre Company and part of the Tread Softly Festival which offered a huge array of walks, literature, readings and drama across the county alongside the Summer School. Next year - July 25 th - August 2nd 2019, will mark the 60 th school, making it (probably) the oldest summer school in the world!
MMartini EEnright,ih AAnne CliClinton, DDr BBrendan McCormack, Inset: ~Journalist Fintan O’Toole