Photo courtesy of Val Robus
The Nobel Dinner at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Sligo will launch this year's special Sligo Yeats Day celebrations, marking the 151st birthday of Nobel poet, W.B. Yeats on June 13th 1865.
The dinner will take place on Thursday, June 09th at 7.30pm and will be a literary and musical experience to savour; a fitting start to the great birthday celebrations of the weekend.
This year's guest of honour is author and actor Pauline McLynn.
Tickets and tables can be booked directly with Berni Chambers in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Sligo on 071 9192414, 0860436816, [email protected] or from Hotel Reception. Closing date for ticket sales is Monday, 6th June 2016.
The ticket price of €45per head includes drinks reception, meal, wine, poetry and music.
We look forward to your company at this great launch event for Yeats Day.
Actor Pauline McLynn turns her attention to WB Yeats
This year, the celebrations for Yeats Day and the LilyLolly Craftfest kick off with the Nobel Dinner at Sligo’s Radisson Hotel on Thursday June 9. WB Yeats was the first Irish writer to win a Nobel medal – in 1923. Indeed the news of the prize came by telephone from the The Irish Times.
Yeats was living in Merrion Square in Dublin at the time and the paper’s reporter RM Smyllie called him to tell him the good news. Phones of course were still a great novelty at that time; owning one would have been a signal of status and wealth, although in Yeats’ case, he constantly worried about money and had relied heavily on his two sisters Elizabeth and Susan in his earlier years in London. This explains Yeats’ now famous reported response to Smyllie; ‘how much money is it Smyllie, how much is it?’ And who can blame him; the prize was of the order of £7,000 – a small fortune in the early 1920s, especially for a man used to stretching and borrowing.
By coincidence, Robert Smyllie, known as ‘Bertie’ had grown up in Sligo, attending Sligo Grammar School. His father was editor of The Sligo News. He reported from the front in World War I and got a job at The Irish Times on his return to Ireland. He was appointed editor of the paper in 1934, and known as a larger than life figure, complete with sombrero hat, large cloak and Sherlock Holmes pipe.
Yeats recalls the events of the time in his Autobiographies, recalling how there was speculation in early November 1923, by newsagent Reuters that the Nobel prize would be awarded either to Yeats or to the author Thomas Mann. “Herr Mann has many readers, is a famous novelist, with his fixed place in the world, and, said I to myself, well fitted for such an honour; whereas I am but a writer of plays which are acted by players with a literary mind for a few evenings, and I have altered them so many times that I doubt the value of every passage. I am more confident of my lyrics, or of some few amongst them…” As it happened, Mann had to wait another six years before the Nobel Academy gave him the prize that Yeats was so sure he deserved.
Yeats goes on to explain that the call from The Irish Times came late - “between ten and twelve at night” and was followed ten minutes later by a telegram from the Swedish ambassador to Ireland. Then he says that “journalists come for interviews.” When the excitement had died down a little, Yeats says “my wife and I are alone and search the cellar for a bottle of wine, but it is empty and as a celebration is necessary we cook sausages.”
Guest of honour at this year’s Radisson dinner is author and actor Pauline McLynn. She is best known for her role as the extraordinary Mrs Doyle in Father Ted and has gone on to star in many TV and film roles. Pauline lives in London but was born in Sligo and grew up in Galway. She is going to talk about Sligo and Yeats and the beautiful west coast of Ireland and read some of her favourite Yeats poems. Pauline has also written ten novels and has been known to knit teacosies. She was one of the writers of the 2001 Amnesty International serial book Yeats is Dead.
This is the third annual Nobel dinner and, once again, the MC will be Damien Brennan, a man whose love and knowledge of Yeats and Sligo is hard to match. In addition to introducing Pauline, Damien will be inviting various guests to read their choice of Yeats poems as the evening progresses
The specially-created menu will be prepared by Radisson chef Joe Shannon and his hard-working team and the event is managed by Berni Chambers. Tickets, including wine are 45euro and available from The Radisson Blu, Sligo at 071 9192414/ 086 043 6816 or email [email protected]