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Seamus Heaney treasure trove on show for first time

By Rebecca Black

A host of treasures from Seamus Heaney's earliest works are set to go on public display for the first time in Northern Ireland.

The pieces include manuscripts and poems the Co Derry wordsmith wrote at his family's cottage at Glanmore in Co Wicklow - the inspiration for some of his most significant work, including the evocative Glanmore Sonnets.

The unique exhibition, which opens today at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy, aims to bring together the two centres of his imaginative writing - Bellaghy and Glanmore.

Heaney fans will even have the chance to see the original manuscripts of some of his most loved poems, from first draft to final print.

This will include first editions, signed limited editions and contemporary reviews and artefacts from the Seamus Heaney Literary Papers housed in the National Library of Ireland.

Among the items set to go on display at the The Hedge School of Glanmore exhibition are the first hardback editions of Wintering Out (1972) and North (1975), as well as a manuscript and typescript of the poem Exposure.

The exhibition will also include letters, selected essays, interviews with the poet and a typescript and limited edition of The Blackbird of Glanmore.

John Dunne, curator and collector of Heaney works for more than 40 years, said the display would give a unique insight into the poet's work.

"The environment and landscape were key inspirations for Seamus Heaney, and we are delighted to be bringing this new exhibition to Seamus Heaney HomePlace, a centre of celebration of the Nobel Laureate, to offer a unique insight into Glanmore Cottage, the beloved writing retreat where he produced some of his most famous and imaginative work," he said.

The new exhibition will run at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace from today until Friday, March 31.

To coincide with the programme, a panel discussion on the importance of the cottage, and of Glanmore to Seamus Heaney's writing with curator John Dunne, Pat Brennan and writer Michael Kinsella will take place at Seamus Heaney HomePlace tomorrow at 11am.

Tickets for the event are priced at £5.

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