The historic walled garden of Coole Park, and Thoor Ballylee Tower will host the annual Lady Gregory-Yeats autumn gathering.
Now in its 22nd year, the gathering has played a prominent role in exploring the theatrical, poetic, and cultural life of some of Ireland's finest poets. Lady Gregory and Yeats' work is often acknowledged in relation to the events of 1916, but their particular connections with the Rising and responses to the violence are not. This year's gathering will examine collaborations, creations, and disagreements present in 1916, and how the aesthetic conceptions of drama and poetry not only affected the Rising, but shaped a response to it.
The event will take place in Coole Park, the centre of the Irish literary revival, and Yeats' castle-home Thoor Ballylee. Within the walled garden of the park sits the famed 'autograph tree' where world-renowned authors such as Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Sean O’Casey, John Millington Synge, and George Moore, carved their initials. Along with a guided walk through the park, and the chance to see the autographs first-hand, the event will also include English literature lectures, a visit to the Abbey Theatre Archive at NUI Galway, social events and activities, and a play in Thoor Ballylee.
NUI Galway's Dr Adrian Paterson will discuss the relationship of art, life, politics, and violent revolution in theatre and poetry with respect to Yeats, Lady Gregory, and 1916. Dr Paterson was also heavily involved in the opening of the Yeats' exhibition in Thoor Ballylee Tower in the early summer months. Other speakers include Professor Lucy McDiarmid of Montclair State University, New Jersey, Cecily O’Neill, an internationally recognised authority on drama and arts education, and Catriona Crowe, head of special projects at the National Archives of Ireland.
Curlew Theatre Company's performance this year is called 'History: Reading the Easter Rising'. It will take a multifaceted approach to the Rising and its violent aftermaths, the Anglo-Irish War and the Civil War, bringing each event to life through the spoken word. Written and directed by Eamon Grennan, participants will enjoy an open forum discussion, entertainment, and candle lit dinner on Saturday evening.