Yeats Society Sligo operates from the Yeats Building in Sligo town centre, a hub for literary culture and the arts. This impressive building is available to hire for book launches, poetry readings, musical evenings, lectures and public meetings. In addition to a vibrant programme of events that take place throughout the year, Yeats Society Sligo is well known for several key annual events.
Honorary President of Yeats Society Sligo
It is our great pleasure to announce that Ambassador Dan Mulhall has been named as the new Honorary President of Yeats Society Sligo.
In 2019 the Yeats International Summer School celebrated its 60th year. Now the longest running academic summer school in the world, the school brings students and professors from every country and continent to Sligo, Ireland, for a nine day cultural and literary experience in late July every year.
Yeats Society Sligo appointed a poet in residence for the first time in 2018 on Poetry Day Ireland. This ensures that the Society acknowledges the importance of contemporary poetry in the cultural world and supports living poets in their work.
We are always happy to encourage new work by launching poets’ work at the Yeats Building and the Yeats International Summer School always includes a poetry workshop element, alongside readings from a variety of poets. This is in keeping with Yeats’ own love of all poetry, which he read widely throughout his life, and his generosity to young and emerging poets – often forgotten.
Every year, we are fortunate to have the support of our amazing sponsors and patrons without whom it would not be possible to facilitate our International Summer School.
We welcome interns from third-level and transition year students and aim to give a real-life working experience to the students who come here.
Yeats Society Sligo is a Company Limited by Guarantee and a registered charity. It is managed by a director and has an independent board, comprised of eight people who live and work locally and who give of their time on a voluntary basis.
History of Yeats Society Sligo
In 1957 as part of a national tourism promotion drive (An Tostal), a small group of enthusiasts met in Sligo and decided to hold a Yeats Country Festival. The festival held on 11-15 May 1958 was a great success. The highlight was ‘Salute to Yeats’, directed by Jim McGarry, with Mrs. M. Watson, Jo Lappin and the Mullaney brothers reciting Yeats’s poetry.
Elated by that success, the group – Frank Wynne (Chairman), Nora Niland, Eileen Lambert (Hon Secretary), Sheelah Kirby, Tom McEvilly, Fr. Tom Moran and Jim McGarry (all deceased) met again on 20th May and established the Yeats Society, Sligo. Its purpose was to organise a Yeats Summer School, to which Tom Mullaney was appointed Hon. Secretary on 5th July 1959.
Dr. T.R.Henn of St. Catharine’s College Cambridge, a native of Sligo, was advisor of Sligo’s first Yeats International Summer School, held in late August 1960. He remained a guiding light for many years, and was Director from 1962 – 1968.
The School, of course, has since grown in strength and prestige and its story is told in most interesting detail in Jim McGarry’s ‘The Dream I Knew’ (1990). The warm reception given locally to visitors and the generous sponsorship by local business people also played an important part.
The diligent work of Yeats Society Sligo presidents, many council and other members over the years must also be acknowledged.
Successive presidents were:
F.Wynne, J.Keohane, T.Mullaney,Canon T.P.S.Wood, Mrs E.Lambert, J.Keohane (2nd time), A.Cantwell, M.McTighe, Edward J. Wylie-Warren, Michael Keohane, Aleck Crichton, Joe Cox, Damien Brennan, and Martin Enright.