Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Special Collections Book of the Month - 'Life in the West of Ireland', Jack B. Yeats

 Jack B. Yeats
Life in the West of Ireland
(Dublin: Maunsel, 1912)
 Our Book of the Month for January 2013 is
Jack B. Yeats.  Life in the West of Ireland
The curator of the digital exhibition of Yeats material at Villanova University has described Life in the West of Ireland as “a collection of forty illustrations representing life in the west of Ireland. Yeats often said he painted what he saw and this book provides an interesting look at country life at the turn of the century. Titles such as The Country Shop, A Political Meeting, The Race Day and Gathering Seaweed describe daily life. Looking at the illustrations the viewer will see many segments of social class, folkways, local characters, daily chores, and recreational events”.  
The book, which is on display at our Special Collections and Archives Reading Room for the month of January, contains color prints, line drawings, and reprints from oil paintings. Some of the works illustrated in the book were later exhibited. It is a summary of his work at the age of 40. 
The copy here in the Hardiman Library would have been received at the time of publication. Related contextual material would include copies of the Cuala Press Broadsides, produced by Yeats’ sisters and for which he also created many illustrations. Researchers may view the original hardcopy Broadsides on request in the Special Collections Reading Room. A digital archive has been created by Villanova as part of their extensive Yeats collection and is viewable at
The Metal Man
The illustration shown here is that of the Metal Man, well-known to anyone with Rosses Point, county Sligo, connections. Local sources indicate that the Metal Man was placed on his 15ft high pedestal at the entrance to Sligo Harbour in 1821 in an effort to guide ships away from dangerous rocks in the area. He stands 12 ft high and is dressed in the uniform of a Royal Navy Petty Officer. A similar metal man stands at the entrance to the bay in Tramore, county Waterford.

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