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    Seamus Heaney – A Nobel Celebration

    The Irish poet and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney drew his inspiration from the land of his childhood. Seamus Heaney’s amazing work has showed us the wonder to be found in the ordinary, in everyday objects and in the beautiful, scenic, rural landscapes of the emerald isle.

    ‘Man & Boy’. Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy, Co. Derry. © Pól Ó Conghaile

    He travelled a long way, from Mossbawn Farm, the poet’s childhood home in Bellaghy County Derry to acclaim as one of the world’s greatest poets. By the time he won the Nobel prize for literature in 1995, he was one of the most beloved names in poetry, praised by the judges for his “works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”.

    Seamus Heaney & his Nobel Prize for Literature during the Nobel ceremonies in Stockholm December 10th 1995 – © Getty Images

    In his beloved hometown, Bellaghy, County Derry, an exciting interactive visitor centre, Seamus Heaney HomePlace, celebrates this wonderful wordsmith’s life and legacy. Step into Seamus Heaney HomePlace, and journey through the life and works of this literary giant, greatly valued locally for his decency and humility, and experience the place, the people and the landscape that so inspired his work.

    Seamus Heaney Homeplace ©Courtesy of Mid-Ulster District Council

    A Nobel Celebration – ‘more spacewalk than stepping stone’

    Actors, authors and an ambassador come together for a one-off programme of performances to mark the 25th anniversary of the award of the Nobel Prize in literature to Seamus Heaney.

    Seamus Heaney Home Place, the literary centre which celebrates the poet’s life and work, is staging a series of virtual events to celebrate the anniversary when Seamus Heaney became one of only four Irish writers to receive the most prestigious literary award in the world.

    The online programme will include:

    A Reading by Ciarán Hinds

    A Keynote Address by Ambassador Daniel Mulhall

    ‘Heaney and the Nobel’ – A discussion with Dr Rosie Lavan and Roy Foster, chaired by Glenn Patterson

    Fiona Shaw performs an excerpt from ‘Happy Days’ by Samuel Beckett

    Fintan O’Toole lecture on George Bernard Shaw

    ‘The Centre Cannot Hold’ – a discussion on Yeats’ ‘The Second Coming’ and the Apocalypse with Fintan O’Toole and Mark O’Connell chaired by Paula Shields (in conjunction with the Yeats Society, Sligo)

    Lisa Hannigan discusses her recording of ‘Anahorish’ and introduces a recorded performance of the song.

    This exciting, varied and lauded line up will provide a thoroughly unique perspective on Irish literature and its celebrated writers during these unprecedented times, while showcasing the breath and quality of guests and performers regularly appearing at Seamus Heaney Home Place.

    Each ticket purchased will provide the customer with a link to the event on the Seamus Heaney Home Place website. The customer will also have the opportunity to watch and re-watch the entire event from Friday 11th December through to Sunday 20th December, ensuring the programme can be enjoyed more than once and at a time that is suitable for everyone.

    Online Friday 11 December 2020, 19:00 – Full price £15

    Seamus Heaney Homeplace, Co. Derry © Brian Morrison

    At the Seamus Heaney Homeplace, you’ll see Heaney’s leather school satchel and his wooden desk from Anahorish Primary School, handwritten transcripts from the poet, and books donated by the Heaney family.

    Seamus Heaney Homeplace – His school desk © Pól Ó Conghaile

    You can’t fail to be moved by this emotional journey and the beauty of poems such as Digging and Mid-Term Break, not to mention Heaney’s evocative description of the simplest tasks, from turf-cutting to potato peeling.

    The Mid Ulster District Council, hope to create trails of Seamus Heaney’s ‘HomeGround’, including Lagan’s Road, Moss Bawn, Devlin’s Forge and Toner’s Bog… places richly resonant in his poetry, and all within easy reach of Bellaghy.

    In Bellaghy, you will see “The Turf Man” bronze statue, which was inspired by the Seamus Heaney poem “Digging”, the opening poem of his debut collection from his book “Death of a Naturalist”.

    The Turf Man Statue, Bellaghy, Co. Derry © Courtesy of Tourism Northern Ireland

    Barney Devlin, was a blacksmith & neighbour of Seamus Heaney. He wrote two iconic poems about Barney & his craft: ‘The Forge’ & ‘The Midnight Anvil’. Barney Devlin’s well-preserved forge has become an essential stop-off on the Seamus Heaney trail in Co Derry.

    All I know is a door into the dark…….”

    Barney Devlin’s Forge, as featured in Seamus Heaney’s ‘Door into the Dark’. © Pól Ó Conghaile

    Have a photo stop at Moyla River in County Derry –  In “Something to Write Home About”, an essay in Finders Keepers, Selected Prose 1971-2001, Seamus Heaney explores how a boundary, a divider such as a river, can also be a uniter, a place shared.

    Moyola River © Tourism Ireland and Photographer Arthur Ward

    Ireland – Where Great Stories Begin….

    From the Sea and the cities to the Valleys and the Mountains, get in touch with us to plan your next visit to Ireland and discover the landscapes that influenced great Irish writers, playwrights and poets.

    Bring the pages of your favourite Irish writer’s works to life and plan a trip of a lifetime around literary Ireland. The Emerald Isle has stunning scenery, a wonderful theatre culture, and a sense of immense pride that makes the entire island of Ireland a special place to visit any time of the year.

    To begin planning your journey to Ireland our “Gift of Ireland” gift certificates make perfect sense, especially in the current climate. You have the freedom of choice to decide what to do & plenty of time to plan, as our gift certificates won’t expire for 5 years from the date of purchase. They make wonderful gifts for friends and family, who might be planning to explore Ireland with you. You are guaranteed to create magical memories with the “Gift of Ireland” – a gift that they’ll treasure forever.

    To contact Specialized Travel Services email to or complete the contact form and don’t forget to keep in touch with us on facebook.

    Begin your next great story in Ireland…..

    A fountain pen exhibited in Seamus Heaney HomePlace. © Pól Ó Conghaile



    Note: Featured image at the top of the blog is of Moyola River. Photographer Arthur Ward. © Tourism Ireland and Arthur Ward

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      Photo Gallery

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      Seamus Heaney Homeplace, Bellaghy, Co. Derry © Arthur Ward & Tourism Ireland
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      The Turf Man Statue, Bellaghy, Co. Derry © Tourism Northern Ireland
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      Seamus Heaney's final resting place, Co. Derry © Tourism Ireland & Arthur Ward
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      St Mary's Church, Bellaghy, County Derry ©


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