Yeats2015 events get underway in Galway

Yeats2015 – An Exciting Year Long Celebration to Mark the 150th Anniversary of the Birth of WB Yeats

 Yeats2015 is a yearlong programme of cultural and artistic events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Nobel prize-winning poet William Butler Yeats.   It forms part of the Irish Government’s decade of commemoration and celebrates Ireland, nationally and internationally, through the prism of one of its foremost literary figures.

This is the first time that Ireland will honour any one individual in this way.
The yearlong programme is centred around Galway, Sligo and Dublin and will feature contemporary, classical and traditional arts events spanning theatre, dance, poetry, literature, visual arts, music, educational events, concerts, readings, talks, exhibitions and festivals all centred around WB Yeats work, life and family and the landscape that inspired him.

WB Yeats had a special affinity for South Galway, spending many summers at Coole Park in the company of his great friend, Lady Gregory. Much of his poetry was inspired by his time there, including The Wild Swans of Coole and An Irishman Foresees His Death.
He purchased a former Norman Tower in the area, Thoor Ballylee, and he and his family lived there for over ten years.  A campaign is currently in place to reopen The Tower for this the 150th anniversary of his birth.
A number of events are coming up celebrating Yeats and his connection to Galway:


Saturday 7th March, 2015
Ceiliúradh – Coole Music Orchestra Festival
1pm & 6pm
Gort Community Centre, Gort, Co. Galway

An affiliated event of the Yeats2015 official programme, the 8th Annual Coole Music Orchestra Festival takes place on the 7th of March in Gort, Co. Galway.
With “Ceiliúradh!” as its theme, the festival will consist of two concerts involving young musicians and singers from all over Ireland.  In the afternoon (1pm) concert there will be performances from Athenry Music School Junior Orchestra, Young Orchestral Pops (Dublin), ICO Sing out with Strings (Limerick), Coole Music Crescendo Orchestra. Gort Convent School Choir and Coole Harmonies Children’s Choir.

The evening concert will take place at 6pm with performances by Coole Music Youth Orchestra, Ceol na Mara Orchestra (Limerick), Galway Youth Orchestra, Roscommon County Orchestra, Athenry Youth Choir and Gort Community School Choir.

This annual Festival not only provides a performance platform for young musicians to present their work, but, uniquely, also join with their peers in a gigantic ‘Festival Orchestra’ to perform a premiere piece for each concert Finale.  For the first time ever the Festival Finale will include a choral element in collaboration with orchestra.  This year, the Finale music written by Artistic Director of the Festival, Katharina Baker, will be based on Yeats’ poems ‘To a Squirrel at Kyle-na-No’ and ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’.
Festival Stalls will offer an array of music-related items and this year stall holders will include Irish book publisher Futa Fata , the Yeats Gregory Trail, Yeats Historical Society, Photography by Deirdre Holmes, Opus 2 Music Shop and also some crafts prepared by local individuals.




Wednesday 5th March, 2015
Harp Festival of Moons  (March – The Wind Moon)
7pm Kiltartan Church, Galway

On Wednesday March the 5th,  as the light of the March full moon brightens the landscape of South Galway, thirty young Harpists of the Athenry Music School and fifteen students of Kiltartan National School will come together to perform in memory of W.B. Yeats.

Supporting acts will be Pete Mullineaux, reading his poems to the accompaniment of Clair Egan on fiddle and, Eoin O’Neill on accordion.  Gerry Cooneely will read Yeats and local harpist Nichola Cahill will close the evening’s performances. With a nod towards ‘Among School Children’, poet Gerry Conneely will join children from Kiltartan National School in poetry readings.

Lady Gregory wrote several plays, among them ‘The Rising of the Moon’ and ‘The Full Moon’. Yeats penned ‘A Full Moon in March’ so where better to celebrate the March full moon than at Kiltartan, a place they both held so dearly.

The event is part of the Harp Festival of Moons, a yearlong festival of live harp recitals that will take place on every full moon in 2015.  As a blue moon year, with 13 full moons instead of 12, there will be 13 events in total. Yeats included the moon and landscape in much of his literary work and his connection to the harp as both a national emblem and a symbol on our coinage inspired the idea of hosting a harp focused event on the full moon of every month of 2015.  The locations for performances have been selected because of their association with the harp and/or Yeats’ work and life.

Event is free and open to the public.  No booking required.
Supported by Galway County Council Arts Office and the Lady Gregory Yeats Trail.

10th of March, 2015
6pm Launch of Cúirt International Festival of Literature

An affiliated event of the Yeats2015 official programme, Cúirt International Festival of Literature takes place April 21st – 27th, 2015 in Galway.

Cúirt International Festival of Literature, now in its 30th year, will feature a number of events marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of WB Yeats and his connections to Galway.    As one of the affiliated events under the Yeats2015 programme, Cúirt will celebrate the strong connections Yeats had with South Galway and his profound impact on the literary and cultural evolution of Ireland.

The official launch of the festival is taking place March 10th, where full details of the 2015 programme will be announced, including the Yeats themed events.  The first event is taking place on Tuesday the 21st of April where there will be a literary outing to Coole Park and Thoor Ballylee where a dramatic recital of Yeats work will take place.  This will be followed by an event on Friday 24th April, at 8pm at An Taibhdhearc Theatre, featuring poems of Yeats accompanied by musical compositions.

Full programme details will be announced on March 10th and be available at


13th – 21st March 2015
‘I Will Arise and Go Now’ Festival
Gort Library, Gort, Co. Galway

‘I Will Arise and Go Now’ is a weeklong festival taking place in Gort, Co. Galway  to coincide with the Yeats2015 celebrations.

The festival kicks off on Friday March 13 at 7pm with the launch of the KAVA (Kinvara Association of Visual Artists) Art Exhibition and music by Sonic Strings.   On Wednesday, March 18th at 11am “ A Little Aloud with Yeats” will take place, a casual coffee morning where people are invited to read aloud from Galway Poems of Yeats.  On the same day, a special Over the Edge open reading at Gort Library will be a highlight of the programme and begins at 6.30pm with featured readers Susan Lindsay, Christopher Meehan & Marion Cox.   The MC for the event, Kevin Higgins, will also read his favourite Yeats poem.   On Saturday, March 21st at midday there will be a family puppet show with Tommy Baker.

Supported by Galway City Council, Poetry Ireland & The Arts Council.

For more information on all events taking place in Ireland and throughout the world as part of Yeats2015, see:




For further information, please contact:

Louise McDonnell
M: +353 87 9291125


Notes to Editors:


Officially launched in December 2014, Yeats 2015 is a yearlong programme of arts and cultural events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of WB Yeats and is estimated to draw up to 85,000 additional visitors to Ireland.

It will also feature a wide scale programme of international events including Yeats and Irish poetry as part of Poems on the Underground in London, launching March 2nd.

Yeats2015 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) has been appointed as secretariat by the Department to deliver the programme on their behalf.  The programme is also supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland.

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 will also be celebrated as part of the programme.

Coole Music Orchestra Festival
The 2015 participants will be:
Afternoon Concert (1pm)
Athenry Music School Junior Orchestra, Conductor Katharine Mac Mághnuis
Young Orchestral Pops, Dublin, Conductor Liobhan Boylan
ICO Sing out with Strings, Conductor Kathrine Barnecutt
Coole Music Crescendo Orchestra, Conductor Noreen McDermott
Gort Convent School Choir, Conductor Mary Grehan
Coole Harmonies Children’s Choir, Conductor Noreen McDermott
Evening Concert (6pm)
Coole Music Youth Orchestra, Conductor Katharina Baker
Ceol na Mara Orchestra, Conductor Peter Sebestyen
Galway Youth Orchestra, Conductor Michael Dooley
Roscommon County Orchestra, Conductors Gerry Lacey, Natalia Gorovenco and Cathal Roche
Athenry Youth Choir, Conductor Helen Farrell
Gort Community School Choir, Conductor Edel Quinn
Admission to each concert is €8 adults/€5 per child.  Tickets available at the door or in advance at Gort Educational World, Gort.
Coole Music & Arts Ltd. was founded with the aim of making classical music education more available to the community in south Galway and surrounding areas. It is dedicated to joyful, creative and supportive music making.

Contact:  Fiona Buckley, Festival Manager or Katharina Baker, Artistic Director
Mobile:  0863467245   Email  Web: