THE LIFE of the much-loved poet Seamus Heaney was celebrated last night as some of the country's greatest writers, artists, actors and musicians gathered together to remember their lost friend.
Actors Stephen Rea, Sean McGinley and Marie Mullen were joined by a host of poets and artists including Rita Ann Higgins, Moya Cannon and John Behan for the event at NUI Galway, which honoured the life and work of the late poet. Throughout the evening, the late poet's friends took turns reading his works to the sold-out crowd of 650 people, who had queued in the rain to hear his poetry.
Twice during the performance, they were treated to audio of Heaney reading the poems 'Digging' and 'Postscript'.
Among the audience was Heaney's wife Marie, who was said to be touched by the event. The 74-year-old poet died on August 30 last year following a short illness.
Stephen Rea read the poem 'Lightenings'. He told the Irish Independent: "I'm very happy to be part of this memorial and to hear his wonderful words once again."
Sean McGinley who read 'The Singer's House' and 'The Door was Open' and 'The House was Dark' said he was honoured to be asked. "It's hard to think of him as not there; he's still with us. I think people feel bereft in some ways but the work will always be there and it's a privilege to be here," he said.
Proceeds from the night went to local charity Cancer Care West, and Chairman John McNamara expressed his gratitude to organisers. Just three years ago, Seamus Heaney had attended a reading for the charity in Galway before taking the time to meet with cancer sufferers.