Attack on Heaney was a gross insult
Madam – Maybe, just maybe, William Barrett's claim (Sunday Independent, Letters, September 8, 2013) that Yeats's poem gave "an aura of romance, glamour, respectability and authenticity to the 1916 debacle" is justified.
However, his attack on the work of Seamus Heaney is a gross insult. The fact that he spent "an hour trying to interpret the meaning of one line from a poem" indicates that the fault was "at the receiver and not the transmitter".
To say that Heaney "failed spectacularly to rise above his time" is worse than what Eamon Dunphy wrote 18 years ago. At least Dunphy had the good grace and humility to, eventually, admit that he was wrong.