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29 Apr 2015

New online film featuring Michael Gambon launched to celebrate Yeats2015

Film highlights Sligo and its connection with Nobel Prize-winning poet WB Yeats to potential visitors around the world

A new online film, specially created to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of WB Yeats, was unveiled today at the launch of the Yeats Day programme for 2015.

Tourism Ireland supported the production of the short film featuring Irish-born actor Sir Michael Gambon reading Yeats’ poem The Song of Wandering Aengus. This year marks 150 years since the birth of world-renowned poet and Nobel laureate, WB Yeats, so Yeats2015 is a key theme for Tourism Ireland in its promotions around the world.

The short film highlights Yeats’ special connection with Sligo and features wonderful images of this part of Ireland – including the spectacular Ben Bulben – giving people everywhere a flavour of what to expect when they visit. It is directed by well-known Irish director Thaddeus O’Sullivan. It will be promoted through a specially-created page on Tourism Ireland’s website,, as well as on the organisation’s social platforms – including Facebook (almost three million fans worldwide), Twitter (270,000+ followers) and YouTube.

To view the film, click here.

Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s central marketing director, said: “The events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the birth of WB Yeats provide a wonderful hook for Tourism Ireland to highlight Sligo and Ireland around the world. Our world-renowned literature excites many of our potential visitors who want to experience something of Ireland’s culture while they are here. We are therefore taking every opportunity to shine a spotlight on the Yeats2015 programme – leveraging the tourism benefits of the anniversary and showcasing the island of Ireland and the North West as a destination with a rich literary heritage.”

Ian Brannigan, CEO and head of regional development, Western Development Commission: ”From the hazel wood to Hollywood we think WB would have been pleased to see his words accompanied in such a sympathetic manner. Our hope is that this piece provides a gateway to the great man’s work for a whole new generation. As such, the WDC is proud to be associated with the Yeats2015 commemoration.”

Senator Susan O’Keeffe, chair of Yeats2015, said: “Michael Gambon and Thaddeus O’ Sullivan have given a great gift to the celebration of Yeats2015. It is a beautiful piece of work and brings a new joy to poetry for the public.”

Yeats2015 features extensively in Tourism Ireland’s programme of promotions around the world this year. For example:

  • Tourism Ireland’s social media activity is playing a major part in spreading the word about the Yeats anniversary. For example, in Britain, Tourism Ireland targets its ‘culturally curious’ audience on Facebook, with its #WednesdayWords posts each week – matching a beautiful image with an inspirational quote from Yeats;
  • Information about Yeats features in e-newsletters sent to more than one million subscribers to Tourism Ireland’s databases in Great Britain, the United States, Australia, France and Germany;
  • Tourism Ireland is promoting the Yeats theme – including places that were of particular inspiration to him, such as Sligo, Galway and Dublin – to its international media contacts. Articles about Yeats2015 have already appeared in major publications like The Telegraph and the Wall Street Journal. And about 24 influential travel and lifestyle journalists from around the globe will undertake a Yeats-themed visit in June and will attend the Yeats Day events in Sligo, as guests of Tourism Ireland;
  • In Italy, Tourism Ireland is working with La Feltrinelli, the largest chain of bookstores in Italy to highlight the anniversary; and in Spain, Yeats 150 was one of the featured themes at a media event in Madrid this spring, where Tourism Ireland gave a book of translated Yeats poetry to the influential journalists in attendance;
  • Yeats2015 is also being promoted at all major overseas consumer and trade fairs this year.

Notes To Editors

  • Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
  • Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
  • In 2014, we welcomed an estimated 8.6 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €4.26 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, available in ten different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world. In 2014, attracted about 14.25 million visitors.