W.B. Yeats 150th birthday celebrations

Pictured: Yeats’s former home at 5 Sandymount Avenue.

Pictured: Yeats’s former home at 5 Sandymount Avenue.

Beyond the local happenings on June 13th, there is a host of events taking place around Dublin and Ireland as part of the Yeats 150 annual festival and celebrations.

2015 is a blue moon year, which means 13 full moons will appear throughout the 12-month cycle. In honour of this extra full moon, and with a nod to the symbolism of the moon in Yeats’s work, a year-long series of special concerts: The Harp Festival of Moons, have been scheduled around the country.

Yeats was instrumental in promoting the harp as an emblem for Ireland and an enduring symbol on our coinage. Each of the individual concerts features the Irish harp among other lyrical and musical elements. All performances coincide with a full moon, and are held in locations relevant either to Yeats or the Harp itself.

On January 5th 2015, with the rise of the Quiet Moon, the current owner of No. 5 Sandymount Avenue, Yeats’s former home, opened up his private residence for the first harp recital and full moon of the year.

The Horse Moon on June 2nd will be the closest to Yeats’s birthday and as such there is an open call for harpists and musicians to play their own unique tributes throughout the country.

July holds the double-performance full moon and will feature recitals in both Donegal and Sligo. The concert series continues on a lunar cycle throughout the year, culminating with a graveside recital at Yeats’s final resting place in Sligo on Christmas day. For more information see: www.yeats2015.com/yeats-150-harp-festival-of-moons

Upcoming concerts:
• Horse Moon: Tuesday June 2nd 2015: Various Locations.
• Calm Moon: Thursday July 2nd 2015: Glencolmcille Folk Village, Donegal.
• Blue Moon: Friday July 31st 2015: Drumcliffe Tearooms, Sligo.

If you feel like going a little farther afield, head to Yeats Country for a variety of musical and literary events taking place on and around June 13th. The Poetry Train departs Connolly Station for Sligo at 11am, June 13th, and offers passengers a poetry-themed journey.

For sustenance after the journey join the Wine and Sausage food trail taking place in various local restaurants. This culinary event is inspired by the story of Yeats’s celebratory dinner upon news of being awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature, whereby he cooked whatever was in the cupboards! www.yeatsday.com/events/
For more information on the man himself, pop into the free exhibition The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats showing in The National Library on Kildare Street.

There is a great collection of artefacts and stories to be found, and free guided tours are available upon request. www.nli.ie/en/udlist/current-exhibitions.aspx
June is a big literary month for Sandymount, with the annual Bloomsday celebrations taking place shortly after Yeats’s birthday on June 16th. Keep your eyes peeled for Joycean enthusiasts dressed in vintage costume and following in the footsteps of Joyce’s infamous character Leopold Bloom who walked along the strand during the course of his Dublin adventures in Ulysses.

By Caoimhe Fox