How WB Yeats changed his wife’s name to George, and annoyed his lifelong friend Lady Gregory as a result, is one of the lighter topics to be explored during this year’s 15th Autumn Gathering.
Held annually to celebrate the life of Lady Gregory of Coole, this year’s gathering takes place from September 25 to 27.
Brenda Maddox, who will explore Yeats’ decision to change his wife’s name, is no stranger to Galway. Although a native of Massachusetts who lives in London, she spent some time here researching two successful biographies, one on Joyce’s wife Nora Barnacle, and another on Yeats’ wife George Hyde-Lees and her gifts of spiritualism when the Yeats lived in south Galway.
Other speakers include James Pethica, currently working on the authorised biography of Lady Gregory for Oxford University Press, and Galway lecturer Adrian Frazier, who has published extensively on Irish poetry, drama, and fiction in the 20th century.
A variety of activities are on offer at this year’s event, including a guided walk in the woods at Coole, a visit to the Kiltartan Museum with its founder Sr Mary de Lourdes Fahy, a visit to Thoor Ballylee, a candlelit dinner in the old stables (now the visitors’ centre ) at Coole. There are performances, including a participatory event, titled ‘Spirits of Coole’.
The Autumn Gathering has been described as a fun and interesting few days “which enriches our knowledge of Coole Park and the amazing people who lived and worked there”.
The weekend begins with a public reception at the Lady Gregory hotel on Friday at 7pm. Places are limited. For information contact Marion Cox 086-8053917 or e-mail: [email protected]