Western Development Commission Receives National Award for Digital Excellence

Closing out the landmark year, which celebrated Ireland’s foremost literary icon on the 150th anniversary of his birth, The Western Development Commission receives an Ireland E-Government Award for the Yeats2015 project’s innovative use of social media.

Yeats2015, the first national and international celebration of an Irish literary figure, took place throughout 2015 – with initial estimates suggesting the project’s programme and activity reached in the region of twenty million people at home and abroad.  Featuring a diverse and engaging programme with performances and exhibitions ranging from theatre and music, to visual arts, literature and dance – Yeats2015 delivered in the region of one thousand events during the celebratory year.  The project was funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and administered by the WDC.

Having just recently concluded the project’s activities in December with a worldwide recitation of one of W. B. Yeats most well-known and loved poems, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” – a concept which saw recitations shared online with great fervor– on the 29th of January, The Western Development Commission received an Ireland eGovernment Award for social media.  The awards which took place in Dublin Castle, recognize innovators and forward thinkers who are pioneering changes and helping deliver better services for Irish citizens today. The awards are Ireland’s most sought-after accolades in Irish eGovernment, honouring the leaders driving digital services, communication and democracy online.  The awards were officiated by Alex White TD, Minister of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources.

This prestigious win for The Western Development Commission highlights the importance of digital platforms in engaging audiences, particularly the diaspora and international followers – whose participation and interaction has been a pivotal element of the Yeats2015 project’s success.  Yeats’ works are internationally renowned and his following spans the globe, a fact which made the use of social media critical to the programme’s reach.  Furthermore, young people and audience segments whose predisposition to the arts or, specifically, poetry, may have been limited – now had access and insight to one of Ireland’s leading Nobel-winning laureates, a crucial legacy for Yeats2015.

Speaking about the recent eGovernment Award win, the WDC’s Acting CEO, Ian Brannigan stated that “The WDC is delighted to receive such recognition for the excellence of the Yeats2015 project from our peers. Marking this national commemoration of one of our greatest creative minds, the Yeats2015 campaign connected with over twenty million people in forty countries. From schoolchildren to artists and academics, over one thousand events brought W. B. Yeats to the world in 2015. The Trojan efforts of the WDC and our partners has highlighted the fact that Ireland and in particular its westerly region remains a clarion call for creative expression as it was in W. B. Yeats’ time.”

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Notes to Editor:

A year-long programme, Yeats 2015 encompassed a wide range of artistic and cultural events, as well as legacy projects.  Key programme highlights of this year-long celebration included a worldwide celebration of Yeats Day on June 13th (W. B. Yeats’ Birthday), an exhibition of John Yeats paintings at the National Gallery, a celebratory music and poetry weekend of events at the National Concert Hall, an expanded Yeats Summer School in Sligo, theatre and dance performances at national arts festivals and widespread literary, academic and poetry events throughout the year.

The National Library hosted a series of events at its award-winning exhibition, the Life and Works of William Butler Yeats, as did the Galway City Museum and The Model in Sligo.

International programme elements included a series of events in London, including a poetry event at the British Library in London, exhibitions at Ireland’s embassy network and at international library locations facilitated by the Department of Foreign Affairs.  Tourism Ireland also ran an international campaign to grow visitor numbers to Ireland by increasing awareness of Ireland’s great literary heritage and the places that inspired Yeats including Sligo, Galway and Dublin.

An internationally renowned poet and playwright, Yeats was cited by the Nobel Academy in 1923, as having ‘given expression to the spirit of a whole nation.’ He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in December 1923, the first Irish man to do so.  His love of Ireland and of places in Ireland that were of particular inspiration to him such as Sligo, Galway and Dublin were also celebrated as part of the programme.

Yeats 2015 has been funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht as part of the national decade of commemorations initiative.  The Western Development Commission (WDC) was appointed as secretariat by the Department to deliver the programme on their behalf.

All programming detail can be accessed via the Yeats2015 website.


W: www.yeats2015.com

F: www.facebook.com/yeats2015

T: www.twitter.com/yeats2015WB