Updated June 11

The Irish Times has conveniently collected several essays about Yeats for your reading pleasure:

William Butler Yeats was born a century and a half ago, on June 13th, 1865. This collection of articles marks the depth of his engagement with Ireland and with his art, both as a historic legacy and as a living, changing force in the life of a country he might scarcely have recognised.

No Gabriel Byrne here, but lots of his friends and colleagues, so give it a read!

yeats700x420William Butler Yeats, 1865-1939

When I was in graduate school, I began reading Robert Parker’s Spenser novels. Spenser was a cool dude–a detective, to be sure, but such a literary and cultured guy, behind the broken nose and the fighter’s physique, and he and his friend Hawk proved an interesting and earth-bound diversion from the philosophical Romantic literature I had been reading. One of Parker’s titles for the Spenser series is The Widening Gyre (“Turning and turning in the widening gyre/The falcon cannot hear the falconer;/Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold…” from Yeats’ masterpiece “The Second Coming”). I remember thinking, as I looked at the cover of the book in the bookstore (yes, I still roamed bookstores in those days), that only Robert Parker would use a quote from Yeats as a title for a detective novel! I was happy to combine poetry and mean streets to while away an afternoon.

All of this is by way of saying: Yeats Lives! wink

We celebrate the 150th birthday of poet William Butler Yeats this year on June 13 and Gabriel Byrne is celebrating in a BIG way over the next few days (in two different countries!). I have grabbed the details for you:

Yeats: The Celebration

June 9, 7:00 pm at the Irish Rep in New York City

The Irish Rep’s 2015 gala, hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of W.B. Yeats, the Nobel Prize-winning poetic voice of Ireland and co-founder of the renowned Abbey Theatre.

Special guests, including Neil Bradley, Gabriel Byrne, Gabriel Donohue, Terry Donnelly, Olympia Dukakis, Melissa Errico, Peter Gallagher, Danny Gardner, Colum McCann, Bridget Moynahan, Ciarán Sheehan, John Slattery, J. Smith-Cameron and the students of the American Ballet Theatre, will perform readings, dance, and music capturing the incredible beauty, wit, and poignancy of Yeats’ poetry and illuminating the poet’s legacy for Irish culture around the world.

More information:


The Dalkey Book Festival

June 13, 7:00 pm in Dalkey (Dublin) Ireland

Gabriel Byrne in conversation with Caroline Erskine

A lover of the arts, Byrne has recited Yeats’ poetry for numerous recordings and events. Former RTE broadcaster Caroline Erskine will explore Gabriel’s life, his career and why he reserves a special place for Yeats in Ireland’s literary pantheon. This is going to be a very special event on a special anniversary…

And it is sold out!

 Bloomsday on Broadway

June 16, 7:00 pm at Symphony Space in New York City

This year’s event features a whirlwind tour through the episodes of Ulysses; a reading from the breathtaking Molly soliloquy by Terry Donnelly; as well as a section dedicated to W.B. Yeats in honor of the 150th anniversary of his birth, led by New Yorker poetry editor Paul Muldoon and featuring Colum McCann and Gabriel Byrne; and a special recreation of a BBC radio play interviewing Joyce’s friends and family directed by Neil Hickey. Hosted by Belinda McKeon.

More information: http://symphonyspace.org/event/8508/Literature/34th-annual-bloomsday-on-broadway

Presented by Irish Arts Center NYC and Symphony Space

As pics and possibly videos become available from these events, you can be sure you will see them here. In the meantime, I leave you with Gabriel Byrne and Martin Hayes–and Yeats. heart

William Butler Yeats, by Dan Sproul


  1. I just “inherited” 31 Robert B Parker books and “The Gyre” is one of them!!

    • Arlene, that is just too cool! I read a bunch of Parker’s Spenser novels when they first came out and then moved on to other writers. There is another Spenser book with a title from the same poem by Yeats : Ceremony (“the ceremony of innocence is drowned”). I loved those books. Hope you will enjoy them. <3

  2. Mary Byrne

    Happy Birthday William B
    we celebrate your life each celtic day
    the literary treasures you left to us to cherish
    inspire us more than mere words could ever say

    Remembering wonderful journeys to Glencar Lissadell and Drumcliffe following in your literary footsteps -memories to treasure -a life to treasure

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