William Butler Yeats, poet, playwright, politician, and Nobel prize-winner for literature always looked west. Yeats & the West considers what the west meant to him, and what that means for us.
For W.B. Yeats the west of Ireland was foundational. Sligo was his family home, and Galway was where he brought his own family. Significant events of his life were played out there; collaborations that changed his work were formed there.
The west of Ireland was the wellspring of Yeats’s imagination. A landscape of islands, stones, and solitary trees was the landscape of his poetry. The culture of the west, its history, its traditions of craft, story, and song shaped his sense of a past worth reviving and a present worth honouring, and by doing so shaped modern Ireland.
This cultural revolution occurred under western eyes. Yeats & the West describes the many artistic collaborations that centred on Coole Park, Galway, and highlights the gifted artists of Yeats’s own family.
It is true that Yeats often looked eastwards for philosophy, for religion, and all the arts in their service. But he turned west when grounding them. Yeats’s restoration of Thoor Ballylee, Galway, must be seen alongside the construction of his own poetry.
In fact Yeats’s most distant travels were to North America. Yeats & the West follows him and the Abbey players as they cross the Atlantic and bring back with them a renewed idea of the breadth of the western world.
Through images, words, film, and sound, using rare material from NUI Galway’s collections, and exclusive items from the Model’s collections and around the world, Yeats & the West tells anew an old story: a story of going west to find those places, real and imaginative, that change our sense of where and who we are.
Yeats & the West
An exhibition of western worlds
NOW OPEN at The Model, Sligo
24 March – 12 May
Curators Tours Thursdays 1pm
Public Talks Thursdays 6pm
This exhibition comes to the Model from NUI Galway, and explores Yeats’s life, work, and legacy through his connections to the west. Rare artworks, books, manuscripts, and exclusive images, photographs, and film feature in an exhibition that reveals the impact of western heritage on W.B. Yeats and the wider Yeats family. Their commitment to crafts and culture created a western revolution that shaped modern Ireland.
Curators Tours Thursdays 1pm. Public Talks Thursdays 6pm
The Model opening hours
Tues – Sat: 10am – 5.30pm
Thurs: 10am – 8pm
Sun: 12 – 5pm
June 2015 – February 2016
Hardiman Research Building
Full exhibition 9-5 Mon – Fri. From July open daily.