Yeats Among Schoolchildren Competition

Yeats Among Schoolchildren, a competition inviting primary school students all over Ireland to submit an artwork based on a visual Interpretation of a Yeats Poem, has been launched through the Network of  Teachers’/Education Centres in Ireland.

The aim of the competition is to honour the legacy of Ireland’s National Poet, WB Yeats by raising awareness among primary school children about the works of Yeats and its cultural and historical importance.

This is one of the primary events taking place this year in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Nobel Prizewinning poet as part of Yeats2015, a year long programme of arts and cultural events and one of Ireland’s offical decade of commemorations events.  This is the first time Ireland has honoured any one individual in this way.

Speaking at the competition launch, Mary Hough, from the Sligo Education Centre, who will lead this initiative said;

“We have been running this competition for a number of years in Sligo and are delighted to be working with Yeats2015, the Department of Education and Skills and the Association of  Teachers’/Education Centres in Ireland  (ATECI) to expand this Nationwide.  Along with promoting access to and enjoyment of the poetry of WB Yeats, the competition aims to enable pupils to understand the language and imagery used in the poetry and promote greater literacy skills.”

Mary Hough went onto say, “Participating schools will also encourage children to discuss the competition at home, therefore further assisting in raising awareness of the poetry of WB Yeats and the important role literature can play in enriching our lives”.

The Yeats Among Schoolchildren competition invites children to draw, paint or write a poem based on one of WB Yeats’ poems. A book, with all the winning entries, will be published by Yeats2015 in conjunction with Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership and the Association of Teachers/Education Centres in Ireland. The book will be launched at one of the key commemoration events around Yeats Birthday, 13th June and distributed to all primary schools and libraries nationwide. All primary schools will receive two free copies of the book.

Commenting about this initiative, Ian Brannigan, Acting CEO of the Western Development Commission (WCD) said, “Supporting the creative sector has always been of strategic importance to the WDC.  We are pleased that Yeats Among Schoolchildren is one of the key events taking place as part of the Yeats2015 yearlong festivities as it will play a role in enabling greater awareness and understanding of the poetry of WB Yeats among the next generation in Ireland.  It also makes the Yeats2015 programme very accessible, extending it to every school going child in the country.”

For more information on Yeats Among Schoolchildren and other Yeats2015 events, see


Yeats Sligo

Events to Mark the Anniversary of the Death of WB Yeats

Yeats2015 is a yearlong programme of cultural and artistic events to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Irish Nobel prize-winning poet William Butler Yeats. It forms part of the decade of commemoration and will celebrate Ireland, nationally and internationally, through the prism of one of its foremost literary figures.

This is the first time that Ireland will honour any one individual in this way.

A number of events are taking place on Wednesday the 27th of January to coincide with the anniversary of the death of Yeats in 1939.

  • In Dublin, the National Library of Ireland (NLI) will host a lunchtime talk by Katherine McSharry, Head of Services, which will explore the link between Yeats and the NLI. This talk is the library’s first contribution to the year-long programme of Yeats2015 festivities and it is expected that a series of other events will follow. All are welcome to this very special event and booking is not essential.
  • In Sligo, Yeats Anniversary will be remembered at the Yeats Poetry Circle that takes place every Wednesday from 10.30am – 12.30pm at the Yeats Memorial Building in Sligo. At this weekly gathering, individuals are encouraged to gather around the fire for a morning of poetry appreciation.
  • At Yeats graveside in Drumcliffe, Co Sligo, there will be a gathering to honour his memory with readings, music and song. Poems will be read by Particia Cunningham, Eilo Molloy, Aoife Kirby and Sadbh Gowran. Music on Fiddle and Harp by Monnine Fitzpatrick and Celia Kinaghan. Songs by Frances Regan, Mairin Mannion and The Folk Group. Everyone is very welcome along for this event which is commencing at 4.30pm at the Drumcliffe Teahouse.

For more information on event taking place throughout 2015 see

Yeats 2015

Yeats 2015 Fund Awardees Announced

Yeats Fund awards €160,000 to twenty artists, creative organisations and groups as part of Ireland’s national celebration of WB Yeats in 2015

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of W.B. Yeats’ birth and in recognition of his enduring inspiration to Irish life, the Yeats Fund has allocated €160,000 to twenty creative organisations and groups in Ireland. The fund has a specific focus on the creation of artistic works and events as part of Yeats 2015, Ireland’s national and international celebration of W. B. Yeats, which forms part of the decade of commemoration.

Over 100 submissions were received to the inaugural Yeats Fund, which was established by the Yeats 2015 national steering group and administered on their behalf by the Western Development Commission (WDC). Recipients of the funding awards include, among others: internationally-renowned theatre company Blue Raincoat, KBC Great Music in Irish Houses Festival, The Model – home of the Niland Collection, Cúirt Literature Festival, Coole Music in Galway and Liz Roche Dance Company.

Blue Raincoat will present a series of site-specific plays written by W. B. Yeats, performed in open-air settings in Sligo that inspired the poet’s writing. Coole Music in Gort, Co. Galway will celebrate the anniversary of W. B. Yeats’ birth by presenting combined choral and orchestral music based on Yeats’ poetry in two festival concerts with young Irish orchestras performing music by Irish composers. Dublin based SO Fine Art will present a contemporary exhibition of visual art works based upon a poem by W. B. Yeats with artists including well-known printmakers from Ireland, the UK, Sweden, Japan and USA.

Commenting on the Yeats 2015 fund announcements, Acting CEO of the WDC, Ian Brannigan stated that “Celebrating the enormous legacy of Yeats’ work and his role in shaping the critical elements of the nation’s cultural foundations, it is appropriate and fitting that so much new artistic work will be produced and presented for 2015”

Funded initially by the Department of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht as part of the official Decade of Commemoration; the Yeats 2015 programme will celebrate the artistic and cultural vibrancy of Ireland, through the prism of one of its most renowned literary icons. This is the first time that Ireland will honour any one individual in this way and it is anticipated that the year will help draw up to 85,000 additional visitors to Ireland in 2015.

Speaking about the announcement, the Chair of Western Development Commission, Paddy McGuinness added that: “This is a very exciting time for Ireland. Renowned for our creativity and cultural vibrancy, this is a great opportunity to celebrate our artistic and creative excellence and our hugely inspiring landscape ”

The list of recipients is:

  • Coole Music
  • Cuirt Literary Festival
  • Hawk’s Well Theatre & Fidget Feet Aerial Dance Company
  • John Carty
  • Leitrim Co Co/ The Glens Centre & Benbo Productions
  • Liz Roche Dance Company for Bastard Amber
  • National Gallery of Ireland
  • SO Fine Art Editions
  • The Model, home of the Niland Collection
  • Dublin City Council Arts Office
  • Ceol Productions
  • KBC Great Music in Irish Houses Festival
  • Sligo County Council for Tread Softly
  • The Hamilton Gallery
  • Blue Raincoat Theatre Company
  • Lily & Lolly Craftfest
  • Tidy Towns
  • European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies
  • The Yeats Society

Full programme details and further announcements will be made through

Yeats 2015

Yeats 2015 Launches with Invitation to Celebrate National Icon

Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht officially launched Yeats 2015 at the United Arts Club in Dublin on Tuesday, 02 December.

Funded by the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht as part of the Decade of Commemorations; Yeats2015 offers a unique opportunity to celebrate Ireland, through the prism of one of its most renowned literary icons. A year long programme of cultural and artistic events is planned to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Irish Nobel prize-winning poet William Butler Yeats.

This is the first time that Ireland will honour any one individual in this way.

An internationally renowned poet and playwright, Yeats was cited by the Nobel Academy in 1923, as having ‘given expression to the spirit of a whole nation.’ He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in December 1923, the first Irish man to do so. His love of Ireland and of places in Ireland that were of particular inspiration to him such as Sligo, Galway and Dublin will also be celebrated as part of the programme.

Ahead of the launch, Minister Heather Humphreys said: “Yeats2015 promises to be a very exciting and engaging year long programme of events to celebrate the life and work of WB Yeats. As Ireland’s first winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and through his role in the Literary Revival and the founding of the Abbey Theatre, Yeats has left a rich legacy, which has had a huge impact both in Ireland and internationally.

“Yeats2015, with its keen focus on education and engagement, will allow us the opportunity to reflect on the Ireland of 100 years ago and reflect on the period surrounding the formation of our nation state. Yeats was a provocative social commentator and I am looking forward to hearing from members of the public in the coming months on how they want to commemorate this major event in our history.

“I hope the Yeats celebrations will encourage people to rediscover his great work and to reflect on this fascinating period in our history.”

Yeats was a key figure in Irish life and history – engaged, committed, and curious – and the Yeats2015 programme will be both about celebrating his achievement and creating new art and memorable experiences in that passionate and creative tradition. Yeats2015 is a journey, physical and imaginative, in which all the varied events and places are linked

The Yeats2015 programme will showcase the creative and cultural vibrancy of contemporary Ireland. The year-long celebrations will include Yeats Day (June 13th) and feature exhibitions, performances, festivals and events across all the artforms throughout the island of Ireland.

Speaking at the launch, Chair of Yeats2015 Senator Susan O’ Keeffe said, “Every facet of Irish society is being invited to participate in this year long celebration. Already there has been a considerable response. Our National Cultural Institutions, including the National Library, National Gallery and The Abbey Theatre are all programming Yeats themed exhibitions and events in 2015. “

O’Keeffe added, “The Western Development Commission, through an open call to the creative community for funding to develop creative, artistic, innovative and contemporary programme elements for Yeats2015, received over 150 applications from 20 countries such was the level of interest and enthusiasm for this national icon. The Department of Foreign Affairs is planning readings and screenings at the embassies all over the world such is the international significance of the man and this celebration. We are delighted to have the support of a wonderful Steering Committee and of both Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland. We are also delighted that education will feature so strongly in our programme, with a primary schools education programme planned to which we invite every child in the country to participate. Poetry Aloud, the hugely popular annual poetry-speaking competition for post-primary schools, which is jointly organized by the NLI and Poetry Ireland each year, will feature prescribed Yeats poems in 2015.”

O’Keeffe concluded by issuing the following invitation: “Any organisation holding a Yeats themed event in 2015 is also being invited to submit their event through which is also being launched today. The website contains information on existing and new events taking place next year and will make it easy for people at home and aboard to experience Yeats in 2015.”

Commenting on the Yeats 2015 Open Call, Acting CEO of the WDC, Ian Brannigan stated that  “The WDC felt it was extremely important to have a programme with cultural creativity at its heart. The west of Ireland has such an inspiring landscape and a wonderfully creative, cultural community and this is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate that. Together with the enormous legacy of Yeats work and his role in shaping the critical elements of the nation’s cultural foundations, we think this is a very real opportunity to celebrate what Ireland does so well, culture and community, as part the Government’s decade of commemorations.”

Key programme highlights include a worldwide celebration of Yeats Day on June 13th, an exhibition of John Yeats paintings at the National Gallery, a celebratory music and poetry weekend of events at the National Concert Hall, an expanded Yeats Summer School in Sligo, theatre and dance performances at national arts festivals and widespread literary and poetry events throughout the year. The National Library will host a series of events at its award-winning exhibition, the Life and Works of William Butler Yeats, as will the Galway City Museum and The Model in Sligo.

International programme elements will include a series of events in London, including a poetry event at the British Library in London, exhibitions at Ireland’s embassy network and at international library locations facilitated by the Department of Foreign Affairs. Tourism Ireland will also run an international campaign to increase awareness of Ireland’s great literary heritage, the places that inspired Yeats and in Ireland’s national Yeats 2015 celebration.

Yeats 2015

Yeats 2015 Presents a “Significant Cultural Opportunity for Ireland”

Extensive research and business case analysis conducted by the Ross School of Business at Michigan University has highlighted the cultural and economic possibilities associated with the upcoming Yeats 2015 programme. MBA students at Ross School of Business, in collaboration with the Western Development Commission (WDC), have recently undertaken the detailed exploration of the planned Yeats 2015 celebration.

Commenting on the Michigan University report, Head of Regional Development and Acting CEO of the WDC, Ian Brannigan stated that “The potential of Yeats 2015 from both an economic and cultural perspective is very clearly defined in the Ross report. This year-long celebration will attract visitors from Japan, the US and continental Europe – W.B. Yeats has a substantial international following with Yeatsian societies in many countries. It is estimated that Yeats 2015 could attract thousands of additional international visitors netting millions in international tourism and cultural revenues”

While recent tourism initiatives such as The Gathering have illustrated the scope and economic impact of focused international marketing campaigns – Yeats 2015 offers a distinctly unique cultural opportunity to celebrate Ireland, through the prism of one of its most renowned literary icons. Given the geographical resonance of much of Yeats’s writing, there is also a distinct connection between the writer and the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’.

Speaking about their involvement in the research project underpinning Yeats 2015, Ross 2015 MBA student Evan Botsford stated that “Based on our extensive research and analysis, our team concluded that, with the help of our report’s recommendations, the Yeats 2015 event has potential for a very positive long-term impact on not only marketing Ireland and its’ culture, but also developing unique, sustainable partnerships, and unifying the myriad of ideas and passions regarding the legacy of WB Yeats around the globe.”

The Yeats 2015 celebration was officially launched earlier this year by the former Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan T.D., and its programme will commence in early 2015. The WDC has also recently issued a call for tenders in respect of the development of the celebrations’ website and expects to issue a request for ‘Expressions of Interest’ in the coming weeks to engage with the creative industry nationally and regionally regarding potential linkages.

To find out more about the Yeats 2015 celebration, contact the WDC at 094-9861441 or visit

Yeats 2015

Final Call for Expressions of Interest from Creative Community for Yeats 2015 Programme Awards

Yeats 2015 has issued a call for ‘Expressions of Interest’ for two Awards (Creative/Artistic and Regional) in respect of the development of elements of the Yeats 2015 programme. The call is managed by the Western Development Commission (WDC) on behalf of the Yeats 2015 National Steering Group. Senator Susan O’Keeffe, chair of the Steering Group welcomed the call. “This will be a year-long national and international celebration of Yeats and of contemporary Irish creativity. The year will succeed because of the great talent we have in Ireland across the creative sector. This is the first time an Irish literary figure is to be celebrated in this manner.”

Successful proposers may secure between €2,000 and €25,000 in funding to develop and deliver their programme element. The call will close on 29th September 2014.

The Yeats 2015 programme will feature a sequence of national, regional and international events to celebrate the life and work of one of Ireland’s foremost literary figures. It is part of the official Decade of Commemoration and is funded by the Department of the Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht.

Born in 1865, W.B. Yeats is a poet of international renown – his Nobel Prize, won in 1923, was awarded for his “always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation.” The Yeats 2015 programme will celebrate the 150th anniversary of W.B. Yeats’ birth and in so-doing, shine a light on the literary, artistic and cultural wealth which Ireland has so abundantly produced.
The call seeks to engage individuals, organisations and interested parties from arts, cultural, tourism and heritage sectors. Speaking earlier today Acting CEO of the WDC Ian Brannigan said, “This call is of central importance to the successful delivery of the Yeats 2015 programme. It is our wish that key sectors, individuals and organisations become actively involved with the programme. We are interested in receiving applications across a range of disciplines and different communities of practice and regions.” Details for both awards are available on the WDC website.

Yeats 2015’s call offers the opportunity for individuals, collectives and organisations to submit applications for innovative and collaborative programme elements. There are also opportunities for significant regional proposals. Funding for both applications is offered on the basis of applicants securing 25% matching financial support, and further detail regarding the application process is clearly set-out on the WDC’s website.
Interested parties can access further information regarding the call for Expressions of Interest at

Contact Details:

Senator Susan O’Keeffe, Chair Yeats 2015 – 085 1314084
Ian Brannigan, Head of Regional Development and CEO(a) WDC: / 094 9861441
Karan Thompson, Yeats 2015: 086 2550291

Image Credit: Yeats 2015 Website


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