Cuala Press

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The Cuala Press was an Irish private press set up in 1908 by Elizabeth Yeats with support from her brother William Butler Yeats that played an important role in the Celtic Revival of the early 20th century.


Elizabeth Yeats had started her career working with William Morris in London.[citation needed] In 1902, Elizabeth Yeats and her sister Lily joined their friend Evelyn Gleeson in the establishment of a craft studio near Dublin which they named Dun Emer. Dun Emer became a focus of the burgeoning Irish Arts and Crafts Movement, specializing in printing, embroidery, and rug and tapestry-making. Elizabeth Yeats ran the printing operation, and Lily managed the needlework department.[1]

In 1904, the operation was reorganized into two parts, the Dun Emer Guild run by Gleeson and Dun Emer Industries under the direction of the Yeats sisters, and in 1908 the groups separated completely. Gleeson retained the Dun Emer name, and the Yeats sisters established Cuala Industries at nearby Churchtown, which ran the Cuala Press and an embroidery workshop.[2][3]


It was intended that the new press would produce work by writers associated with the Irish Literary Revival. They ended up publishing over 70 titles in total, including 48 by William Butler Yeats. The press closed in 1946.

The Cuala was unusual in that it was the only Arts and Crafts press to be run and staffed by women and the only one that published new work rather than established classics. In addition to Yeats, Cuala published works by Ezra Pound, Jack B. Yeats, Robin Flower, Elizabeth Bowen, Oliver St John Gogarty, Lady Gregory, Douglas Hyde, Lionel Johnson, Patrick Kavanagh, Louis MacNeice, John Masefield, Frank O'Connor, John Millington Synge, John Butler Yeats, Rabindranath Tagore and others.

After Elizabeth Yeats died in 1940, the work of the press was carried on by two of her long-time assistants, Esther Ryan and Marie Gill under the management of Mrs. W. B. Yeats.[4] The final Cuala title was Stranger in Aran by Elizabeth Rivers, which was published on July 31, 1946.

In 1969 the press was taken up by W. B. Yeats' children, Michael and Anne Yeats, with Liam Miller. Some titles were run in the 1970s, and valuable archives are still held by the press.


  1. ^ Sheehy 1980, p. 158
  2. ^ Sheehy 1980, p. 161
  3. ^ History of the Cuala Press
  4. ^ A Brief Account of the Cuala Press Formerly the Dun Emer Press Founded by Elizabeth Corbet Yeats in MCMIII (1971)

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • William M. Murphy. 'Dun Emer, 1902–1908'; 'William Butler Yeats and the Weird Sisters'; 'Cuala: the Partnership 1908–1923'; 'Cuala: the Separation, 1924–1940': in Family Secrets: William Butler Yeats and His Relatives. Syracuse University Press, 1995; Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1995.

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