Yeats Day 2012

Celebrate the birthday of one of the most influential writers of the 20th Century.

On June 13 1865, W.B Yeats, the man who was to become one of the foremost figures of 20th Century Literature, came into the world. Born in Dublin, he spent a lot of his childhood in Sligo, which was to be the beginning of a long standing relationship formed with the county, one which played a part in his work throughout the years.

W.B Yeats was key figure in the establishment of the Abbey Theatre; he went on to found the theatre in 1903 along with Lady Augusta Gregory. On December 27th 1904, the Abbey Theatre opened its doors for the first time.

The establishment of the theatre was just the start of his relationship with the Abbey; he was also a prolific playwright with many of his plays being performed in the theatre throughout the years, as well as sitting on the board of directors. W.B Yeats was involved in the theatre right up until his death in 1939. He was the first Irishman to be awarded the Nobel prize in Literature in 1923 and it is only fitting that such a man be honoured on this day.

Yeats Day 2012 is being celebrated in Sligo in a programme of events that will honour the poet in various forms.

One such event, which will take place in Hawk’s Well Theatre in Sligo, is brought courtesy of the Abbey Theatre’s Literary Department, in the performance of Yeats and the Abbey in his Own Words. Edited and compiled by Aideen Howard, Literary Director at the Abbey Theatre and performed by Bríd Ní Neachtain, Derbhle Crotty and Arthur Riordan, these readings will celebrate the life of Yeats through his letters, poems and plays. The excerpts give an insight into the life and work of the writer during his work on the foundation of Ireland’s national theatre, the Abbey Theatre.

Other exhibitions, celebrations and readings of Yeats work will take place in Sligo for the duration of the day, with further information and the full programme of events available at

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