Friday 18 August 2017

Home Sweet HomePlace: New Seamus Heaney centre set to be unveiled

Bellaghy's €4.9m build

Inside Seamus Heaney HomePlace, the new arts and literary centre in Bellaghy, Co. Derry
Inside Seamus Heaney HomePlace, the new arts and literary centre in Bellaghy, Co. Derry
Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy, Co. Derry. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
Inside Seamus Heaney HomePlace, the new arts and literary centre in Bellaghy, Co. Derry
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Seamus Heaney HomePlace, a new arts and literary centre in Bellaghy, Co. Derry, opens to the public tomorrow.

The £4.25 million (€4.9m) building, which celebrates the life and literature of the poet and Nobel Laureate, will host a gala opening this evening.

Marie Heaney, together with children Michael, Christopher and Catherine, will be joined by close to 200 guests at the official inveiling.

Set on the site of a former RUC police station in Bellaghy, the multifaceted building is rooted in the landscape where Heaney spent his formative years.

Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy, Co. Derry. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy, Co. Derry. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile

Interactive exhibitions, artefacts such as the poet's school desk and bag, and rich galleries of personal stories fill several spaces.

It also includes a library, performance space (The Helicon) and cafe.

Exhibits include an interpretation of the poet's Dublin study, where film footage shows reaction to his Nobel Prize win in 1995, and a fax machine reminds visitors that Heaney was in Greece at the time, unaware for two days of his achievement.

Seamus Heaney died after a short illness in 2013, at the age of 74.

Inside Seamus Heaney HomePlace, the new arts and literary centre in Bellaghy, Co. Derry
Inside Seamus Heaney HomePlace, the new arts and literary centre in Bellaghy, Co. Derry

"I'm delighted with HomePlace," said Catherine Heaney, the poet's daughter.

"It's all very well seeing it on paper, but nothing prepares you for how you feel walking into it. Today, I feel happy and proud."

Seamus Heaney HomePlace is funded by the Mid Ulster District Council and Northern Ireland's Department of Communities.

Tonight's opening also includes performances by Paul Brady, readings by Stanley Townsend, and a specially-created piece of music, 'LifeCycle'.

For more, see seamusheaneyhome.com.

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