THE LATE SEAMUS Heaney, whose died a year ago yesterday, was honoured at a series of events in his hometown of Bellaghy.
Among those attending was deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, who is pictured here with Patrick Brennan, Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Seamus Heaney – A Dedication which was event held at Bellaghy Bawn last night:
Speaking at the event McGuinness said:
I am truly honoured to be here to celebrate and commemorate one of Ireland’s finest, Seamus Heaney. Coinciding with the first anniversary of his passing this is a fitting way to celebrate his contribution to literature and his legacy for future generations of poets. His writings originate from a deeply schooled soul, one that is a product of immense cultural pride and I have no doubt the work of Seamus Heaney will continue to move us deeply and enrich all our lives.
The event came after the announcement last week that the a new Seamus Heaney centre has been approved for Bellaghy.
Chairperson of the organising committee Patrick Brennan said that the Poetry House 2014 “has been developed as both an honorific and celebratory occasion that is mindful of the deep loss to his family and friends and to our global culture, while recalling Seamus’ good humour, the playful twinkle in his eye, his celebrated mischievous ‘chuckle’, his unique voice and his deep love of his place”.
Bellaghy Bawn saw talks and tours of the site throughout the weekend, which took in the history, the environment and the life of Seamus Heaney.
There was also a visit to Heaney’s resting place at the cemetery at St Mary’s Church, where poems were read by graduates of the Heaney centre at Queen’s University Belfast.
A specially commissioned harvest bow was then laid on his grave, recalling Seamus’ elegiac poem The Harvest Bow.
This was followed by a procession of celebration through the village to the Turfman sculpture. The afternoon saw a number of musical events, such as traditional Irish music and Scottish dancing.
A documentary is being made about this weekend’s event.
The Poetry House was first mooted to Heaney in 2012, and more information can be found on it online.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Fergal Kearney said that the Poetry House event was “a mixture of serenity and pride”, but also sadness at Heaney’s death and how that still resonates with people.
The year’s anniversary is “a marker because history tells us that a year of mourning is an appropriate period of time. We were still mourning Seamus but also saying we’ll have to move beyond the fact he isn’t with us”, added Kearney.