A Season of Yeats – a new exciting tourism initiative for Sligo which sets out to widen the local appeal and increase the tourism value of W. B. Yeats and the wider Yeats Family connection to Sligo has just been awarded €150k in funding from Fáilte Ireland to support the initiative over the next three years.
The Season of Yeats is being led out by Fáilte Ireland and local interest groups and tourism businesses to once and for all cement the poet’s strong association with Sligo and through this connection, to deliver on a high quality literary and entertainments programme that will go from strength to strength.
Speaking about the event, Minister Ring emphasised:
“A Season of Yeats is a clever and innovative way to fill a gap in Sligo’s cultural calendar. It presents a variety of cultural events and will deliver a unique visitor experience for national and international visitors to Sligo – especially those wishing to connect with all aspects of the Yeats Family’s cultural heritage and legacy.
“I know that the opening event, Yeats Day, was recently launched in both Dublin and Sligo but I want everyone to know that there will also be a further six weeks of Yeats-related activities. If you like culture, beautiful landscapes and friendly people, then Sligo should be firmly on your map this Summer.”
A SEASON OF YEATS – THE PROGRAMME
A Season of Yeats begins on June 13th (the anniversary of the poet’s birthday) and will continue over a six week period initially growing to a longer season over the three year period. Events will be supported by community level activation and animation. Fáilte Ireland are engaging with local businesses to ensure all stakeholders are involved in Yeats Season. Animations such as walking tours, pop-up shops and poetry recitals will bring Yeats and his works to life.
The programme will feature exhibitions of Jack and John Yeats’ work at The Model, readings and performances of W.B. Yeats’ work at Hawk’s Well and Blue Raincoat’s Theatre and at Drumcliff; a series of talks and films surrounding the Yeats Family; promoting an integrated inclusive Yeats programme in Sligo which will see a series of quality events around music performances and further exhibitions.
Fáilte Ireland in the North West is driving the Yeats initiative A Season of Yeats in close collaboration with all stakeholders, ensuring Sligo can deliver a quality programme of Yeats’ themed events, appealing to a wide audience at home and abroad.
Fáilte Ireland has also developed a dedicated website www.seasonofyeats.com which will contain information on all of the events and activities that are part of A Season of Yeats. The website, launched on 25th May, is delivering on a strong social media strategy which includes a forum, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Fáilte Ireland’s Cultural Tourism Report (2008) highlighted the significant attraction of highly authentic cultural products to lure visitors from both home and abroad.
Martina Bromley, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Operations in the North west explained how this translated locally:
“We, in Fáilte Ireland in the North West and local tourism interests in Sligo, came to the conclusion that the development and promotion of a unified Yeats theme would be key to creating a distinctive selling point for Sligo, alongside the landscape, crafts, literary, music and arts appeal.
“Sligo is Yeats country and, given that the Yeats family are now almost a Global brand, it’s absolutely imperative that we use this perfect local asset to market ourselves to tourists and visitors”.
The Yeats International Summer School, now in its 53rd year, has long been a champion of the Yeats legacy in the region and has maintained the academic integrity and quality of Yeats work on offer to an international audience. This integrity is key to the growth of the festival and A Season of Yeats is working closely with the society and its president to maximise the potential of Yeats in the most appropriate way.
Fáilte Ireland intends to build on the international appeal of the Nobel Prize winner, by delivering a strong Yeats themed programme of events, located in Sligo and targeted at overseas visitors. To this end, Fáilte Ireland has allocated €200,000 to be distributed over a three year period to deliver on an engaging programme around Yeats.
Image Caption: At the official launch of the festival were (l-r) Bernie Butler, Chairperson of the North West Forum, Roasleen O' Grady, Mayo of Sligo, Minister Michael Ring, Martina Bromley, Fáilte Ireland's Head of Operations in the North West and Michael Fleming, Cathaoirleach, Sligo County Council.