Monday 23 April 2018

Steady stream of fans pay respects in his village

Anna Maguire Bellaghy

"SEAMUS – for Digging, thank you," read an anonymous card at the gates of Bellaghy parish cemetery.

It lay beside a bunch of red carnations, not far from Seamus Heaney's family plot.

Signs of the late poet are all over the south Derry village of his childhood. The cast-iron man bending over his spade greets people as they enter, a sculpture inspired by 'Digging', one of Heaney's most famous poems.

The Nobel laureate (74) had been due to attend a poetry weekend in nearby Magherafelt, but died on Friday.

Just down the road, a steady stream of people pulled up to the Old School Centre yesterday to leave their final words for Bellaghy's famous son.

"You always remembered where you came from," Dolores Mulholland wrote in a book of condolence.


"Thank you for speaking and writing so beautifully about this lovely townland and for making Bellaghy people so proud of you," wrote Bronagh Currie.

Erin Mullan (13), left a poem, which re-worked Heaney's 'Digging' from his late father's point of view.

"As I turn the soil I wonder about our son, Our Seamus, I wish and pray he will have a life he will enjoy," she wrote.

Earlier, the Lyric Theatre in Belfast was packed for a special tribute event. Tickets had been snapped up by Heaney's friends, admirers and literary enthusiasts within hours of being released on Friday.

Poets Michael Longley, Franks Ormsby, Damian Gorman and Sinead Morrison were among the figures who gathered to share recollections and read Heaney's poetry to a captivated audience.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin will formally open a book of condolence at 10am at the Mansion House today.

Other books are at the Guildhall in Derry and Belfast City Hall.

Irish Independent

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