Monday 15 July 2019

Timing is everything at Yeats launch

Olwen Fouéré rehearsing a reading from WB Yeats The Tower in the National Library
Olwen Fouéré rehearsing a reading from WB Yeats The Tower in the National Library

"How much is it?" poet and playwright WB Yeats supposedly asked upon hearing he had nabbed the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.

But one academic was quick to quash that rumour at the launch of Yeats 2015 in the United Arts Club this week.

"Of course WB didn't care about the money," the learned gent said gruffly. "That's nothing more than tittle-tattle invented by idle Dublin gossips." Some things never change.

The year-long programme celebrates Yeats' work and marks the 150th year since the good chap was born. "He was an indomitable, indefatigable, joyous dreamer," Senator Susan O'Keefe said.

"I also can't tell you how relieved I am he was born in 1865 and not 1866," she said, referring to the upcoming 1916 commemorative celebrations.

"Clearly, Yeats was a very organised individual with a great sense of timing."

Duncan Stewart, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, Minister Heather Humphreys and artist Steven Mannion all posed for pictures while British ambassador Dominick Chilcott chatted about his Christmas plans and his pet dog Pumpkin - who, by all accounts, sounds adorable. The clink of wine glasses subsided when actress Olwen Fouéré read 'Sailing to Byzantium'.

By this stage, the room had grown stiflingly hot so I dashed across the road to the Merrion Hotel for their Christmas bash.

The party, which was being hosted by general manager Peter MacCann, was in full swing with lots of Christmas carols and champagne. "They know how to throw a five-star party," Louise Johnston noted.

- KBK

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