Belfast Telegraph

Seamus Heaney poem and striking images of the Troubles put up for auction

Rare maps and artwork among items going under hammer at Dublin’s Gresham Hotel

By Allan Preston

A rare handwritten Seamus Heaney poem and a collection of press photography from the Troubles will be among the treasured historical items up for auction in Dublin this month.

A signed holograph of the poem The Wishing Chair by the late poet (below), which has the Giant's Causeway as a dramatic setting, is expected to fetch between €1,000 to €1,500 (£843 to £1,264) when it goes under the hammer on December 13 at Dublin's Gresham Hotel.

A collection of 100 black and white press photographs recording the early years of the Troubles is expected to fetch between €300 and €500 (£252 to £421).

Billed as "a visually impactful and important record of a disturbing period in modern Irish history", the images feature civil rights marches, confrontations and battles between soldiers, and as images of the 1969 Bogside riots.

Famous faces featured include Ian Paisley, Bernadette Devlin, Terence O'Neill, Brian Faulkner, Cardinal Conway, Lord Carrington, James Chichester Clarke, Paddy Devlin and Gerry Fitt.

History lovers will also have the chance to acquire a number of rare maps showing Ulster locations in the 17th and 18th centuries.

One maps out a Ballycastle coalmine dating back to 1790 and has a starting price of €650 to €850 (£548 to £716). Another is an 1815 survey map for a line of navigation between Lough Erne and Lough Nenagh with a price of €200 to €300 (£168 to £252).

In total, the collection from Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers features more than 800 rare books, literature, manuscripts, maps and works of art.

An original signed manuscript of the children's classic Growly-wowly, also known as The Story of the Three Little Pigs, by Irish novelist Edith Somerville is priced at €3,000 to €5,000 (£2,529 to £4,216).

A copy of a proclamation signed in London details a treaty for the establishment of a new Irish Parliament is also available. The asking price is €1,000 to €1,500 (£843 to £1,264).

The top attraction, which may fetch up to €10,000 (£8,432), is Shakespeare's first printing outside England, The Works of Shakespeare, which came in eight volumes and was first printed in Dublin.

Also in the sale is a selection of images by one of the earliest pioneers of photography in Ireland, Sir Joscelyn Coghill, the first secretary of the Dublin Photographic Society.

More information on the items up for auction can be found at

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