Sunday 27 May 2018

Public pay respects as book of condolence opened

Valerie Loftus

WHILE the family and friends of Seamus Heaney said their final goodbyes at his funeral Mass in Donnybrook in Dublin, admirers of the late poet gathered to sign a book of condolence at the Mansion House in the city.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisin Quinn opened the book of condolence yesterday to allow members of the public to pay tribute to the Nobel Laureate, following the opening of books of condolence in the cities of Belfast and Derry.

The people who gathered to sign the book were from all walks of life: young, old, from Ireland and abroad, writers and teachers who were inspired by his work, and those who knew him not just as a renowned poet but as a "generous" and "kind" man.

Stephanie Frances O'Brien, from South Dublin but living in London, credits the Nobel Laureate as the inspiration for her writing career.

"I've lived in London for the last seven years teaching Heaney's poetry to young people," she said.

"I've always found that for any young person who can't get into poetry, if you teach Heaney it all makes sense."

"He wrote about simple, everyday things like peeling potatoes with his mother and watching his father digging," said Sarah Ni Ruaric of Portmarnock in Dublin. "We could all see a bit of ourselves in him and in his poetry."

"I studied him for my Leaving Cert last year," said Katie Campbell of Rathnew, Co Wicklow.

"His poetry connected with a lot of people in my class – the way he wrote, the way he seemed to understand. Everyone liked him, even if they didn't like poetry."

Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisin Quinn was the first to sign the book of condolence, and praised Heaney for his "generosity" towards his adopted hometown of Dublin, where he had been living since the 1970s.

The book of condolence for Seamus Heaney will be available for signing in the Mansion House in Dublin between 10am and 5pm today and tomorrow, before being delivered to the Heaney family.

Irish Independent

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