£4m Heaney centre will launch with weekend of celebration
Admirers of Seamus Heaney will soon be able to visit a new centre in Bellaghy to celebrate the late poet.
Mid-Ulster District Council has announced the £4m Seamus Heaney HomePlace - which is expected to attract more than 35,000 visitors every year - will open on Friday, September 30, kicking off a weekend of celebrations of the life and literature of the Nobel laureate, who died in August 2013.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Paul Brady will headline musically, with other performances by traditional musicians drawn from across nine countries with which Heaney was closely associated.
Celebrated writers, from Tom Paulin and Julie O'Callaghan to John Horgan and Olivia O'Leary, will be taking part.
A unique classical music experience - Bach to Broagh - will see renowned cellist Christian Poltéra play three of Bach's Cello Suites, intercut with readings of Heaney's poems.
Aspiring writers and actors from the Bellaghy area and from the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen's University Belfast are to feature, too.
As will the acclaimed Off The Cuff theatre group from Magherafelt.
The opening weekend programme runs from September 30-October 3, and sets the scene for a year-long programme of events - 12 Books, 12 Months - with each month focusing on one of Heaney's 12 main collections of poetry.