Summer’s Wreath: Gavin Friday on Yeats

‘Summer’s Wreath’, a month long celebration of the works of the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, will conclude on Wednesday, June 30th at 8pm with a performance by Gavin Friday. In this unique event, Gavin will present his selection of Yeats’s work and will be accompanied by the renowned fiddle player Martin Hayes and guitarist Dennis Cahill.

Leading names from the world of music, stage, screen, visual arts, politics, literature and academia are coming together at the National Library of Ireland this June for its annual month-long celebration of the life and works of William Butler Yeats. With the programme now in it’s 4th year, ‘Summer’s Wreath 2010‘ offers free public readings, reflections, lectures and performances and will feature many prominent female contributors this year echoing the passionate and complex relationship which Yeats had with women throughout his life.

Gavin Friday on Yeats
National Library of Ireland
Wednesday 30 June at 8.00pm

Admission is free but booking is essential. To reserve up to two places, please call +353 1 6030277


  1. Mark Tynan on July 1, 2010 at 11:05 am

    The man who introduced Gavin Friday last night said that what we were about to see had never been attempted before; putting Yeats’ poetry to music. This is completely untrue. It has been done many times but particularly successfully by Mike Scott and the Waterboys. Last year in the National Library, Mike Scott gave a spine tingling rendition of a select number of Yeats’ poems and he made a show out of this, which was premiered in the Abbey Theatre in March of this year. Over 20 of Yeats’ poems were set to music by the Waterboys and it was one of the single greatest concerts I was ever at. I thought of this, and in particular the mesmerising version they performed of “The Stolen Child” in the Abbey, last night during Gavin Friday’s dull ego-fest. Not only has Yeats’ poetry been put to music before, but it has been done infinitely better. The Waterboys are doing their Yeats show again in the Grand Canal Theatre in November I would recommend anyone who was there last night going to this to see how Yeats’ poems should be set to music. Gavin Friday should go too.

  2. Cecilia on July 2, 2010 at 3:12 am

    Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I find what Mark is writing to be so far from what I experienced.
    I´m not a Dublin-resident so I have not seen Waterboys interpretation of Yeats, but to compare a full-on 20-song concert with a 45 minute, free entrance intimate reading accompanied by two instruments; that´s two different things.
    I took this as Gavin Fridays interpretation of chosen Yeats-poetry, which had to fit for this given time-slot. That means one person reading, and as any great artist, that means interpreting in a personal way and adding a piece of oneself. To call that “ego-fest”, that´s just plain rude. And please don´t hang what is said in an introduction around the neck of the performing artists! The man doing the introductions clearly wanted everyone to have a great evening and he also mentioned the importance of art in everyday life and how it enriches us, in another sense than the tumbeling financial world. If you thought it was dull, you certainly were in minority in that opinion on the night!

    I want to say thank you to superb fiddleplayer Martin Hayes, guitarist Dennis Cahill and to Gavin Friday, for a wonderful evening!

  3. Catherine on July 2, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    I thought Gavin was great, he really captured the reverie, other-worldly, interior, feeling aspect of Yeats. I thought he did a brilliant version of The Stolen Child. I liked it best when he spoke with the musicians playing in the background. I found myself thinking he should have dancers as well! It was a very enjoyable and actually stimulating evening, I hope he does it again.