Irish Stamps: 150th anniversary of the birth of W.B. Yeats (2015)

On the 11th of June 2015, An Post issued a stamp to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of the great poet W.B. Yeats.

On the 11th of June 2015, An Post issued a stamp to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of the great poet W.B. Yeats.

William Butler Yeats is widely considered to be one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century and this year marks the 150th anniversary of his birth in Dublin on 13 June 1865. More importantly, he is only one of eleven Irish Nobel prize winners – sadly, our list is a short one.

Although he belonged to the Protestant, Anglo-Irish ascendancy class Yeats was staunch in affirming his Irish nationality and celebrated his cultural roots by featuring Irish legends and heroes in many of his poems and plays.

  • He was one of the leading contributors to the so-called Gaelic Literary Revival movement
  • W.H. Auden claimed that Yeats had written “some of the most beautiful poetry” of modern times.
WB Yeats went to school in London and Dublin before entering the Metropolitan School of Art. His first volume of verse, Mosada: A Dramatic Poem, was published in 1886 followed by The Wanderings of Oisín in 1889. That was the same year that he met Maud Gonne – a celebrated and beautiful socialite – who was to inspire his poetry for decades.In 1893 he published The Celtic Twilight and The Wind Among the Reeds in 1899 along with many other famous works.

Yeats was an Irish nationalist at heart and in the earlier part of his life was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. As he got older, however, he hid much of his revolutionary spirit and distanced himself from the intense political landscape in the midst of the Easter Rising, even holding back his poetry inspired by the events until 1920.

  • He was appointed Senator for the Irish Free State in 1922. Yeats’ international reputation as a poet was assured from the 1920s, and in 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Laureate in Literature.
  • He died on 28 January, 1939.

The commemorative 68c stamp was designed by Detail. and is based on an iconic photograph of W.B. Yeats from The National Portrait Gallery, London, by photographer George C. Beresford.

  • It is a famous image and familiar to poetry students worldwide
  • The stamp design includes the poet’s name and dates


Technical Details:
Date of Issue: June 11, 2015
Value & Quantity: 68c (136,000)

Stamp Size: 29.8mm x 40.6mm
Colour: Single colour with phosphor tagging
Paper: TR PVA Gum 102 gsm
Make-up: Sheetlets of 16
Perforations: 14.1 x 14.3
Printing Process: Lithography
Printer: Cartor Security Printing

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