June 13, 1865

William Butler Yeats, Ireland’s most famous poet and one of the leading literary figures of the 20th century, was born in Sandyhurst, Co. Dublin on this day in 1865 to an upper class Protestant family. He spent much of his childhood in Co. Sligo, which heavily influenced Yeats’s natural themes, and he read classics like Shakespeare, Donne, Alighieri and Shelley. With Lady Gregory, he helped establish the Gaelic Literary Revival and founded the Abbey Theater in Dublin. He was the first Irishman awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923, followed by Shaw, Beckett and Heaney.

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