Seamus Heaney, Man and Boy.
Original photographer - unknown.
On a recent trip to Ireland I visited the new arts and literary centre, ‘HomePlace,’in Bellaghy, dedicated to the legacy of poet and playwright, Seamus Heaney. Although, his poetry was very much rooted in the land of his birth, it continues to speak to people all around the world. His literary talent was recognised and acknowledged via The Nobel Prize for literature in 1995. He was hailed as the greatest poet since WB Yeats and awarded for “works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth”. Did you know that it took several days to track down Seamus Heaney to tell him he had won this prestigious award? Those were the days before mobile phones and internet! Heaney and his wife were eventually tracked down holidaying in Greece. Meanwhile, in his attic study in Dublin, reams of paper spilled from his fax machine with messages of congratulations.
Heaney took much of his inspiration from the landscape around him. He wrote earnestly of folk, family and friends. Many of his poems captured the everyday-ness of events and people who influenced him. Sometimes it was at the work they toiled, places he was drawn to and political events of the time. Heaney was not afraid to tackle the emotional landscape of pain, grief and loss in his writing. At ‘HomePlace’, there is the opportunity to listen to Heaney recite several of his beautiful poems as you wander through the exhibition. You may recognise other voices reciting his poetry, people like Stephen Fry, Bono and Bill Clinton, to name a few.
There is much to see, hear and read at HomePlace. There’s a chance to ‘release your inner artist’, work with words and should you require a little nourishment, I can highly recommend coffee with cake at the Café.
It’s well worth the visit and a great place for an Artist’s date too.