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Another super Sligo fest! Tread Softly Festival

Yeats statue, Sligo, Ireland

WB Yeats statue, Sligo Town

Another super Sligo fest! Tread Softly Festival

Sligo’s Festival in Celebration of the Yeats Family

27th July – 8th August

The third Tread Softly festival, celebrating the link between Sligo and the Yeats family will take place 27 July – 8 August 2014.

The many dimensions of this family of famous artists –

Nobel Prize winning poet William Butler,

Painter Jack B,

Embroiderer Susan

Fine press printer Elizabeth

will be brought to life over two weeks of theatre, exhibitions, cinema, music, literary events, talks and tours, alongside a programme of children’s events.

The Yeats Experience menu, host, silverware

The Yeats Experience

W. B. Yeats is considered by many to be the greatest English language poet of the 20th Century. Throughout his life he wrote about Sligo and the beauty, folklore and spirituality of the surrounding landscape. His brother Jack once said he never created a painting ‘without at least a thought of Sligo in it’. Sisters Susan and Elizabeth Yeats ran the Cuala Press which printed the work of W. B. Yeats and many other well-known writers including Ezra Pound, Douglas Hyde, Rabindranath Tagore and Elizabeth Bowen.

You all may remember that I was in Sligo in June for the So Sligo food & culture festival, and that I was mighty impressed with all that Sligo Town & countryside has to offer. You’ll see that for yourself in Tread Softly’s many events. I’ll just point out 3 which I’ve taken part in myself.

The Yeats Experience

This is a unique and beautiful experience of Irish hospitality, history, and of course, Yeats. I was lucky enough to attend the dinner with the other So Sligo visiting bloggers, one of whom is Dee Sewell, who wrote this post about  the evening. (Yeats &  Sligo worked their magic on us, and the wonderful So Sligo tour inspired us to create Green & Vibrant...more on that another time!)

When you go and enjoy this special experience, keep a look out for the  lovely cows there in the yard 😀

“The Yeats Experience is situated overlooking Lough Gill providing magnificent views over landscapes described in four of Yeats’ earlier poems for your group (10 to 50 people). A unique Sligo experience. Dine at Lunch or dinner on the finest contemporary Irish cuisine, locally sourced and/or grown in our own garden. As you dine you and your guests learn of the early life of William Butler Yeats, the Sligo of his youth and the wonderful poetry he wrote out of his experience in the Land of Heart’s desire. Enjoy it all in the style and comfort of a private home.”

calf dinnertime at Yeats Experience

Calf dinnertime at the Yeats Experience!

Booking: Booking Essential to Damien Brennan (10 person minimum) at 087 2320820

Streedagh Seaweed Walk

Try this guided exploration of the beautiful beach near the famous mount Benbulben. There you’ll be amazed at the truly tasty seaweeds you can nibble straight from the ocean, and Prannie’s knowledge and recipes are top class. This walk is another fab activity I took part in during So Sligo, and it totally inspired me! You can read more about it, & try Terry’s Easy Seaside Summer Bean Salad recipe here.

“Guided walk by author, chef and seaweed expert Dr Prannie Rhatigan on the rich and varied seaweed growing in the backdrop of bare Benbulben. Walkers will learn about harvesting and using this natural resource.”

Start time: 11am
Degree of difficulty: Easy, looped walk
Duration: 2 hours
Start Point: Streedagh Beach Car Park
Tickets: FREE

Walking Tours of Sligo Town with Yeats Family Points of Interest

Sligo Town, Ireland

Walking tours with a great guide are one of the very best ways to get under the skin of a place whilst having a bit of craic. We certainly did just that when we did the Sligo Town tour with Niamh! Best FREE you’ll ever spend 😀

Start time: 11.00am
Days: Monday – Saturday
Duration: 2 hours
Tickets: FREE
Booking: Booking, pick up and return at 1.00pm from Tourist Information Office

Here are a few more tidbits on the Tread Softly festival:

This year’s festival’s theatrical highlights include performances of The Man in the Woman’s Shoes by Mikel Murfi and A Brief Taste of Lightening performed by Blue Raincoat Theatre Company.

An exhibition entitled Jack B Yeats The Music Has Come at the Model will look at his interest in song.  The venue is also presenting a display of Norah McGuinness’s illustrations of William Butler Yeats, The Stories of Red Hanrahan and the Secret Rose, and the first comprehensive solo exhibition of work by Susan Hiller.

The Hamilton Gallery will be home to Confluence: A Merging by Janet Pearse, reflecting on her experiences in Ireland and India in recent years, and The Factory Foyer to Wandering Shades by Katie McDonagh, inspired by the ‘dance plays’ of W. B. Yeats, which were in turn influenced by Japanese Noh Theatre.

The Factory will also be the venue for one of the films featuring in the programme, Sanctuary by Blue Raincoat co-founder Malcolm Hamilton, based on the stage play of the same name.

Speaker’s Corner is a new departure for the festival programme this year; an informal gathering of politicians to discuss their visions for Ireland as the centenary of 1916 approaches. Such a discussion seems a fitting element in any celebrations of Yeats’ life and work.

Out and about, the festival will offer a programme of walking tours Yeats and the landscape – Walking in the Footsteps of Yeats. 

The festival runs alongside the 55th annual Yeats International Summer School, Ireland’s longest running summer school, which will be opened this year by Alan Gilsenan at the Hawk’s Well on 27th July. The Summer School continues until 8thAugust.

Have a gander of the full list of Tread Softly events here.

For full information and programme details: or contact Sligo Tourist Office O’Connell Street Sligo on Tel: 071 91 61201

Ticket Booking: The Hawk’s Well, Temple Street, Sligo Tel: 071 9161526

For more posts on Sligo, have a look here.

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