The famous Abbey Theatre is no less than an Irish institution. It was founded in 1904 by Lady Gregory and WB Yeats as part of the movement to revive the Irish language. In 1924, it became the first state-subsidised theatre in the English-speaking world. For a time its programme gave rise to polemics, and even riots (in particular, the plays by Sean O'Casey it put on). Since a fire destroyed the early theatre in 1951, it has been housed in a rather unremarkable modern building.