Social Context

Yeats’s sketches and paintings tell us a lot about Ireland in the 1900s: how people behaved, how they dressed, what they liked to do, what made them laugh etc.

Examine The Liffey Swim (1923) and Bachelor’s Walk, in Memory (1915) and discuss the changes you can see between the 1900s and now.
Take note of where the people are, the clothes they are wearing, and their means of transport.


History Focus: The Liffey Swim, 1923

Can you name the bridge in the background of The Liffey Swim?

What is missing from top of the Custom House (back left)?

What do you think happened to the Custom House?

On the left hand side there are people watching the swim from a tram. Why did the council get rid of the trams in the 1940s?

What replaced the trams as public transport in Dublin?

The artist has included himself in this painting. He is standing beside his wife 'Cottie' who is dressed in green. Can you find him?

Why do you think he included himself in this painting?


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