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The University of Dublin, Trinity College

Irish Genius': The Yeats Family and The Cuala Press

February 12, 2004

The 'Irish Genius': The Yeats family and The Cuala Press exhibition opens today Thursday 12th February in the Long Room at Trinity College Library and will be on view until late May 2004.

The Cuala Press was the most important literary publishing house in Dublin in the first half of the 20th century, producing the first editions of several works by WB Yeats. On display is a wide range of material produced by the Cuala Press, including these first editions of Yeats' works, in addition to hand-coloured broadsides and greeting cards.

The Dun Emer Press, which became the Cuala Press, was established in 1902 as part of the Dun Emer Industries. It operated as a book, print and greeting card publisher until 1985, although book publishing was suspended between 1946 and 1970. The inspiration behind this undertaking was the arts and crafts movement and the objective was ' to find work for Irish hands in the making of beautiful things'.

The principal figures, in Dun Emer Industries, were Evelyn Gleeson who organised the weaving, Lily Yeats, the embroidery, Elizabeth Yeats, the printing, and William Butler Yeats as literary adviser to the press. Following the dissolution of the partnership in 1908 the Yeats sisters renamed the press as the Cuala Press. Books, broadsides and greeting cards were the staple work of the press and these activities continued in the hands of other family members after the sisters died, until it finally closed.

Also on display is the Albion handpress used in printing the books. This press, built in 1853, is one of few surviving in this country. Constructed out of cast iron, these presses, with the rival Columbian Presses, were the workhorses of the nineteenth-century printing business.

The opening times of the exhibition are Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 5pm and Sunday 12 noon to 4.30pm. Admission to this exhibition also includes viewing the Old Library and The Book of Kells 'Turning Darkness into Light' exhibition. Admission Rates: Adults €7.50, Students €6.50, OAPs €6.50, Group rate available. School groups when accompanied by their teachers have free admission from 1st
Oct to 30th June.

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Last updated March 3, 2004 by Secretary@tcd.ie
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