Arts and literary centre dedicated to Seamus Heaney opens in Northern Ireland village
The site of a former RUC police station in Northern Ireland has opened on Friday 30 September as the Seamus Heaney HomePlace, an arts and literary centre exploring the life, literature and inspirations of the Nobel prize-winning poet. He died on 30 August 2013 and is buried in the nearby graveyard.
The centre in the village of Bellaghy includes a permanent exhibition documenting Heaney’s life and poems. There are also video recordings from friends and neighbours, world leaders and cultural figures; audio of Heaney reading his poems; and a viewing platform looking across the south Derry countryside that inspired much of his work.
Heaney was born in his family’s farmhouse near Castledawson in 1939, and grew up in the nearby village of Bellaghy. As well as the Heaney exhibition, there is a 189-seat performing arts space, a library, education and learning spaces, and an annex for community use. The library includes the desk Heaney used in his attic study.
To mark the opening of HomePlace,15 events are planned over four days in the arts and literary centre, including a performance on Saturday evening of Heaney’s translation of Beowulf.
The weekend’s inaugural poetry reading will bring together Michael Longley and Sinéad Morrissey, and two special discussions will see Tom Paulin, Christopher Reid and Julie O’Callaghan on Saturday 1 October, followed by Pater Fallon, Olivia O’Leary and John Horgan on Sunday 2 October.