Main content

Colm Toibin

Writer Colm Toibin tells the story of Lady Gregory's fighter pilot son, whose death inspired one of Yeats's most famous poems, and reflects on Ireland's role in World War I.

Taking Robert Graves' phrase Goodbye to All That as their starting point, five writers from countries involved in the First World War reflect on a turning point moment in their own histories and interpret the phrase with the ambiguity that Graves intended.

These five essays that have been curated by writer Lavinia Greenlaw to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One, as part of 14-18 Now, a major cultural programme across the United Kingdom.

Tonight, Colm Toibin tells the story of Lady Gregory's fighter pilot son, whose death inspired one of Yeats' most famous poems, 'An Irish Airman Foresees His Death'.

Written and read by Colm Toibin
Produced by Emma Harding.

Available now

15 minutes

Broadcast

Part of...

Marking the centenary of World War One across the BBC

The Book that Changed Me

Five figures from the arts and science introduce books that changed their lives and work.

Download The Essay

Download all the episodes from the series and listen at your leisure.

Podcast