Monday 26 August 2019

A cherished legacy of Yeats


Countless members and volunteers of the Yeats Society have been praised by the Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, Cllr Tom MacSharry for keeping the cultural legacy of Sligo's most iconic literary figure W B Yeats alive

Cllr MacSharry was speaking at the official opening of the 60th Yeats International Summer School last Thursday evening at City Hall.

He said the committees and volunteers have worked with passion, energy and spirit to promote Yeats.

"Through your work, you have brought a new appreciation of the wonderful landscape that inspired and enchanted Yeats. The unifying theme that has characterised all your endeavours is 'inclusion.'

"There may have been a time long ago when the magical world of Yeats was perceived in some quarters as the exclusive preserve of the academic or literary historial but through your efforts, this is certainly not the case today. All that is required of the reader is a sense of imagination and wonder.

"Due to the tireless efforts of the Sligo Yeats Society, the life and work of our most famous poet is celebrated with the same verve and enthusiasm as it was when it was founded. Your fusion of tradition with innovation is to your eternal credit,

"you have opened new and exciting vistas for a new generation of Yeats enthusiasts, and long may this exemplary work continue," said Cllr MacSharry.

It is the longest running literary summer school in the world and runs until Friday next.

Students have travelled from Brazil, US, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, the Netherlands, UK and Ireland to enjoy an immersion in Sligo and the work of the national poet, WB Yeats.The first school took place in Sligo in 1960, the brainchild of Professor TR Henn, St Catharine's College, Cambridge.

The official opening at City Hall, with special guest and patron, Caitríona Yeats, granddaughter of WB Yeats, was livestreamed for the first time.

Academics at this year's School include Paul Muldoon, Stephanie Burt (Harvard) and Margaret Mills Harper (UL).

Readings include Eoin McNamee and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Ireland's ambassador to the US, Dan Mulhall will give a talk and chair the Yeats Salon.

A special event last Friday marked the great conribution made by Seamus Heaney to the School over many years. A Salute to Seamus was hosted by RTE's Northern Editor, Tommie Gorman. It is an acknowledgement of the great work and influence of Seamus Heaney, his long and strong relationship with the Yeats Summer School and his warm and generous friendship with Sligo. Poet Bernard O'Donoghue will read and members of the Yeats and Heaney families also attended.

An open mic,a talk on smuggling, Irish dancing and a documentary, made by Leitrim-based Johnny Gogan, about the 50th Moon landing will also all be part of the School.

Sixty cafes, bars and shops created a wave of Yeatsian poetry across town on Saturday in celebration of 60 years of the Summer School.

Sligo Champion