One of the Finest Yeats collections in Ireland comes to UL

Gilsenan Yeats Collection, Glucksman Library, University of Limerick

The Glucksman Library at the University of Limerick has launched a collection of rare first editions books by William Butler Yeats.  This magnificent collection of books by Yeats was donated to the library by Professor Michael Gilsenan with the aid of the American Ireland Fund. The collection features copies of all of Yeats’ work such as The Tower, The Winding Stair, Wind Among the Reeds and Plays for an Irish Theatre. UL is now home to one of the finest Yeats collections in Ireland which will change the study of Yeats at the university and in the region in general, providing focus and inspiration for further scholarship.

Director of the Yeats Summer School and the President of the International Yeats Society, Professor Margaret Harper commented “W. B. Yeats knew better than most that “Words alone are certain good,” and he knew also that those words live in material objects. He made sure his books were works of art in themselves. Having Michael Gilsenan’s astonishing collection of first and rare editions of Yeats’s very beautiful books is a gold mine, putting UL firmly on the international map of places to go for Yeats scholarship. But this collection is first and foremost a tremendous resource for anyone who loves books and the words of Ireland’s great poet and playwright.”

Gobnait O’Riordan, Director of the Library & Information Services at UL added, “The significant donation of a very fine and beautiful first and rare printed editions of William Butler Yeats along with the Cuala and Dun Emer Press publications to the University of Limerick by Professor Michael Gilsenan is an important milestone in building rare and archival collections at UL.  We are deeply grateful to Professor Michael Gilsenan for the gift of a one of the finest Yeats collections to the Glucksman Library and also for his belief and trust in us. The gift of the carefully selected Gilsenan Yeats collection will make a very significant addition to the Glucksman Library. It means that the University of Limerick is now home to one of the finest Yeats collections in Ireland.”

The launch was in conjunction with the inaugural conference of the International Yeats Society being held in UL.  From 15th to 18th October, in time for the 150th anniversary of the birth of the pre-eminent Irish poet and dramatist W. B. Yeats, UL hosted the first conference of the newly formed International Yeats Society (IYS). The IYS links the many Yeats societies around the world, making it possible from scholars from around the globe to share their research. For the first conference, some 50 scholars from nearly 20 countries came to Limerick for three days of intellectual exchange and arts events.

They experienced a new production of one of Yeats’s dance plays in Hungarian, a multi-media art installation, a concert and contemporary dance performance by members of the Irish World Academy, a poetry reading by award-winning Irish poet Caitríona Ní Chléirchín, and a post-conference tour of Yeats’s famous tower, Thoor Ballylee, in Gort. Delegates were treated to the launch of a major Yeats collection in the UL Library.
On hand were Senator Susan O’Keeffe, leader of Yeats2015, the government project sponsoring and linking the hundreds of events taking place around the world this year; and Ambassador István S. Pálffy of Hungary, whose government generously co-sponsored the play with Limerick 2020.