After a wet winter, sun shines on Thoor Ballylee as Sabina Higgins opens Yeats exhibition

Sabina Higgins cuts the ribbon at the reopening of Yeats Castle, Thoor Ballylee on Saturday with Joe Hassett, Fidelma Healy Eames, Rena McAllen, Sr DeLourdes Fahy. Back row. Helen Monaghan, Deirdre Holmes, Angela Guillemet, Lelia Doolan, Joe Byrne. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Sabina Higgins cuts the ribbon at the reopening of Yeats Castle, Thoor Ballylee on Saturday with Joe Hassett, Fidelma Healy Eames, Rena McAllen, Sr DeLourdes Fahy. Back row. Helen Monaghan, Deirdre Holmes, Angela Guillemet, Lelia Doolan, Joe Byrne. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

On Saturday the sun bathed South Galway for the unveiling of the new Yeats Exhibition in Thoor Ballylee which is now open to the public every day over the summer.

The Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society was delighted to welcome Sabina Higgins who officially opened the exhibition, and shared her perspectives on the significance of love in Yeats’s poetry. Since the tower flooded last winter, it was unimaginable that the beauty and tranquility of Ballylee would be enjoyed so soon again.

Fidelma Healy Eames, Chair of the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society remarked, following this year’s redecoration, that the tower gets better after every flood. Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council, Michael Connolly was also present and together with Minister Sean Canney, pledged to ensure that Thoor Ballylee would continue to be prioritised in local flood management programmes.

Cllrl Connolly also stressed the important role that Thoor Ballylee had to play in bringing national and international visitors to the area and stressed its importance as an integral part of the Galway 2020 offering. Without the generosity of Yeats scholar Joseph Hassett, the exhibition would not have been possible.

Mr Hassett was thrilled at the event and gave a steering speech about the symbolism of the tower in so much of Yeats’s poetry. The new exhibition, curated by Dr Adrian Paterson, Lecturer in English at NUIG, explores Yeats’ relationship with the people and places that most inspired his work.

It looks at the culture of the west, its crafts, stories, and songs; the central importance of the women in his life, most especially of his wife George; and his close connections with the landscapes and people of County Galway, with Coole Park and with Thoor Ballylee.

Children attending the opening were also delighted to complete the new Thoor Scavenger hunt which will be available for all families to complete over the summer. A series of cultural events will be organised over Summer 2016 to honour Yeats’s memory, his heritage and his links with the literary revival and with 1916. The Tower and Exhibition will be open to visitors throughout the summer from 10am to 6pm Monday – Sunday.

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