By John Ensor •
Published: 16 Sep 2023 • 15:13
Dublin Marathon Medal 2023.
Credit: Irish life Dublin Marathon/X
The organisers of the upcoming 2023 Dublin marathon have fallen for heavy criticism following the unveiling of its commemorative medal.
On October 29, around 22,500 participants in the Dublin Marathon will receive silver medals inscribed with a quote believed to be from the renowned poet William Butler Yeats. Above this quote is an image of the Sligo-born poet, commemorating a hundred years since he received the Nobel Prize for Literature, as reported by the Irish Examiner.
The official Irish Life Dublin Marathon X page shows an illustration of the medal along with the statement: ‘Dublin Marathon Medal .. a tribute to W.B Yeats on his 100th anniversary of receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature.
‘His quote “There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met,” is engraved on the front & embodies the values of our Marathon’
The public was swift to pick on this and didn’t mince their words, one person posted: ‘Yeats didn’t say that rather trite quote.’ While another said: ‘The values of your marathon are that you don’t do basic research on a national icon before engraving a fake quote onto thousands of medals?’
Another commenter didn’t hold back his disdain: ‘Terrible looking medal and almost certainly a fake quote. Keep up the slide Dublin Marathon.’
Susan O’Keeffe, the director of Yeats Society Sligo, informed the press that there’s ‘no evidence of any kind’ that Yeats penned those words, neither in his extensive writings nor in his vast collection of poems and plays.
Quote Investigator, a prominent fact-checking entity, discovered that the phrase appeared in a 1961 advertisement by the Irish Tourist Office in the New York Times. Interestingly, the ad did not credit the saying to anyone.
O’Keeffe expressed her understanding of the confusion, stating, ‘It’s been made by so many people before this, along with several other quotes. Some records have, of course, been lost, during his lifetime or afterwards. But, as we are here in 2023, there is no evidence for what indeed is the perfect quote for a marathon where strangers do indeed make friends.’
Yeats’s poetic masterpieces like ‘The Second Coming’, ‘Adam’s Curse’, and ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ are still widely studied. In 1923, he was honoured with the Nobel Prize for his poetic expressions that resonated with the spirit of an entire nation.
The Dublin Marathon, often referred to as the ‘friendly marathon,’ is celebrated as one of Europe’s finest, thanks to the immense backing from countless volunteers and the cheering Dublin crowds.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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