#OTD in 1865 – Birth of writer and nationalist, W.B. Yeats, in Dublin.

William Butler Yeats was the son of painter John Butler Yeats. He spent much of his childhood in Co Sligo which was a huge source of inspiration for him, not least the beautiful ‘Lake Isle of Inisfree’.

Yeats was a major player in the Celtic Revival which endeavored (successfully) to raise awareness of the culture of Ireland, much of which had been decimated by English rule. His personal and political life was as interesting as his poetry. The love of his life Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne rebuked his marriage proposals on a number of occasions.

In 1899, Yeats co-founded the Irish Literary Theatre in Dublin which was to be a platform for the Celtic and Irish plays. As its chief dramatist, one of the first plays performed there was his Catheleen ni Houlihan, with Gonne portraying the main character.

In 1923, Yeats was honoured the Nobel Prize for Literature for his immense contribution to the English and Irish literature.

Yeats underwent a Steinach operation in 1934 and despite his severe illness, took the editorship of the Oxford Book of Modern Verses in 1936. He passed away on 28 January 1939 in Menton, France and was buried at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Keeping with his wishes, he was removed from there and was reinterred in Drumcliffe, Co Sligo in 1948.

W.B. Yeats Reading His Own Verse: https://youtu.be/u2FT4_UUa4I

Image | Yeats’s Grave, Drumcliff, Co Sligo, William Duggan Photography

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