The obvious way to commemorate the poet [Yeats] is by a summer school devoted to the works of the poet and his contemporaries.
TR Henn 1958
Setting up a Summer School devoted to WB Yeats may have been obvious to the Yeatsian scholar Dr TR Henn in 1958, but it wasn’t obvious to anyone else! There was no other summer school of such scale in the world at the time and the idea was a revolutionary one, especially in Sligo. The School was launched in August 1960.
The revolution has lasted 60 years and still has its eyes firmly set on the future. In 1958, Dr Henn was teaching at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge and would have understood how transformative an experience it would be for students to immerse themselves in the exact place that inspired the Nobel poet Yeats. Dr Henn was born in Sligo and he understood that the simple act of transporting students to the hills, lakes and wilds of this county would prove an act of transformation for each of them.
And that transformation is at the heart of the success of the School. Those who come and those who return repeatedly find a combination of warmth and magic unmatched anywhere else. Each student finds their own special part of the School with which to challenge their own intellect and create a trove of learning and memories.
In addition, the School has created an extended, global family which comes and goes and comes again and is held together by the Yeatsian Sligo thread of time, love of the work and the experience of breathing the Sligo air and absorbing its inspirational capacity.
The School was created and moulded by Dr Henn, Nora Niland, Frank Wynne, Eileen Lambert, Jim McGarry, Tom McEvilly, Fr Tom Moran and Sheelah Kirby. Our thanks to them as we strike forward for the next 60 years; let us all continue to ‘run on the top of the dishevelled tide.’
The Academic Board
The Academic Board of The Yeats International Summer School
• Jonathan Allison (University of Kentucky)
• Massimo Bacigalupo (University of Genoa)
• Patrick Crotty (University of Aberdeen)
• Roy Foster (Hertford College, Oxford)
• Warwick Gould (University of London)
• Margaret Mills Harper (University of Limerick)
• Geraldine Higgins (Emory University)
• Colbert Kearney (University College, Cork)
• John Kelly (St. John’s College, Oxford)
• Bernard O’Donoghue (Wadham College, Oxford)
• Mitsuko Ohno (Aichi Shukutoku University, Japan)
• Ronald Schuchard (Emory University)
• Helen Vendler (Harvard University)
• Seamus Heaney (1939 – 2013).
• George Watson (1942-2009)
1960 Professor Denis Donoghue University College, Dublin
1961 Dr. Oliver Edwards University College, Derry
1962 -1968 Dr. T.R. Henn St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge.
1969 – 1971 Professor Norman A. Jeffares University of Leeds
1972 -1976 Professor John Kelly University of Kent at Canterbury
1977-1978 Professor Kevin Nowlan University College, Dublin
1979-1981 Professor Augustine Martin University College, Dublin
1982-1984 Professor Donald Davie Vanderbilt University, Tennessee
1985-1987 Dr. Declan Kiberd University College, Dublin
1988-1990 Professor Elizabeth Butler-Cullingford University of Texas at Austin
1991 Professor Barbara Hardy Birkbeck College, University of London
1992-1993 Dr. Patrick Sheeran University College, Galway
1994 Professor Helen Vendler Harvard University
1995-1997 Professor Ronald Schuchard Emory University
1998-2000 Professor George Watson University of Aberdeen
2001-2002 Professor Bernard O’Donoghue Wadham College, Oxford
2003-2005 Professor Jonathan Allison University of Kentucky
2006-2008 Professor Patrick Crotty University of Aberdeen.
2009 Professor Jonathan Allison University of Kentucky
2010-2012 Professor James Pethica Williams College, Massachussets
2013-2015 Professor Margaret Mills Harper University of Limerick