Rich literary heritage celebrated at Lady Gregory-Yeats Autumn Gathering

Coole Park and Thoor Ballylee! The magic of the Autumn Gathering is to bring people together from all corners of the world - to listen and learn, laugh and share, with academics and artists, locals, historians and literary figures; to meet descendants of Lady Gregory and Yeats, renew friendships and make new friends – all enjoying and celebrating the prominent role of Lady Gregory in shaping the theatrical, poetic and cultural life which thrives today.

In Coole Park, Lady Gregory provided the space and support needed by the literary giants of the time to shape the nation’s artistic and literary response to the times, e.g. W. B. Yeats’ Easter 1916 poem. Celebrated amidst the rich and unrivalled landscape of the trees and beauty of south Galway, the Gathering includes lectures, discussions, theatre, social events, a guided walk through Coole Park woods and the special experience of Thoor Ballylee, described by the late Nobel laureate, Seamus Heaney, as ‘the most important public building in Ireland’.

Within Coole Park’s historic walled garden, sits the famous ‘autograph tree’ where world-renowned authors such as Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Sean O’Casey, John Millington Synge and George Moore, carved their initials, marking Coole Park as the centre of the Irish Literary Revival in the 20th century.

The play, Nobel Words by Peggy Monahan, will be performed tomorrow Friday 29 September 2023 in the presence of Catriona Yeats, the guest of honour. The Wild Swan Theatre Company will mark the anniversary of her grandfather’s Nobel Prize for Literature in the Gort Town Hall Theatre at 8pm, together with members of Lady Gregory’s family.

Ben Kennedy, Great-Grandson of Lady Gregory, will formally open the Gathering in Coole Park on Saturday at 10.00. Angela Bourke, Member of the Royal Irish Academy and full professor emerita at the UCD School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Irish Folklore, will Chair the Gathering.

Antonio Bibbò, Lecturer in English and Translation at the University of Trento (Italy ), will present Pilgrimages in the West: Lady Gregory and the Irish Revival in Italy. Melissa Sihra, Associate Professor of Drama and Theatre at Trinity College Dublin, will moderate Lady Gregory, Teresa Deevy; Visions and Influences - Contemporary Perspectives, with speakers Nora Grimes, Viviane Monteiro and Katla Arsaelsdottir, from the Drama Department, Trinity College Dublin. ‘But where is the brush that could show anything / Of all that pride and that humility?’ - James Pethica, Professor of Irish Studies, Drama and Modernism at Williams College in Massachusetts, speaks on Yeats’s Coole Park poems.

In Thoor Ballylee on Sunday at 10.00, Catriona Yeats will present the prizes for the inaugural Yeats Thoor Ballylee Poetry Competition. Adrian Paterson, Lecturer in English, School of English and the Creative Arts University of Galway, will speak on Meditations in Time of Civil War. Dr. Cecily O’Neill, writer and dramaturg and the author of several books on drama education, will present A Gentle Friendship. This performance will explore the long friendship between Lady Gregory and George Bernard Shaw. They shared a love of theatre and an endless delight in laughter. Performances by Nora Grimes and Katla Ársælsdóttir, from the Drama Department, Trinity College Dublin, and Catherine Sheridan.

Participants can continue to enjoy the Open Forum discussion, Candlelit Dinner plus entertainment and the famous Barm Brack!

For further information and booking, please go to eventbrite.

You can also contact Marion Cox, 1 Kiltiernan East, Kilcolgan, Co. Galway H91 YH1F.

email: [email protected] and Tel: 086-8053917.


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