independent

Thursday 23 May 2019

Screening of Yeats's burial shown

The first public screening of rare 70-year-old film showing the 1948 burial in Sligo of the poet WB Yeats's remains marked the launch on Friday of the programme for the 60th Yeats International Summer School.

The longest running academic summer school in the world will run from July 25th to August 2nd with a mix of contemporary poetry, world-class lectures, walks, music and theatre.

The programme for this year's school was launched by IT Sligo President Dr Brendan McCormack, who is chair of the Summer School committee, at the Yeats Building, Sligo.

The Society also screened in public for the first time, rare colour archive footage, shot by musician Jim Barclay, of the reinternment of WB Yeats in September 1948 and donated to the Society by his Jim's nephew, Alan Aston.

The film had been in Alan's possession for many years, unidentified and unseen.

When Alan had the film transferred to digital format, he realised that the four minutes of colour pictures showed scenes of the ceremony that marked WB Yeats body being returned from France for burial at Drumcliffe.

The Nobel poet had asked to be buried there, in the lines written in his famous 1938 poem, Under Ben Bulben: 'Under Bare Ben Bulben's head, in Drumcliffe churchyard, Yeats is laid.'

Dr McCormack welcomed the film as an important donation to the Yeats Society in the year that the Society marks the wonderful achievement of its 60th Summer School.

He said: "It is an important landmark event, for Sligo and the world, to be able to continue to celebrate WB Yeats as one of the great global poets.

"To receive this film is very special this year and will be of great interest to so many people."

This year's Summer School will feature a special event Salute to Seamus, to mark the great friendship that existed between Seamus Heaney and the Summer School; this year marks Seamus' 80th birthday.

Poets attending include Paul Muldoon, Eileán Ní Chuilleanáin and Bernard O'Donghue.

Students will also get to enjoy stand-up paddling on Lough Gill.Co-directors of the School are Professor Matt Campbell (University of York) and Dr Lauren Arrington (University of Liverpool).

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