| 9.1°C Belfast

Seamus Heaney was a real honour to know

Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney dies, aged 74 Close

Seamus Heaney...Irish poet Seamus Heaney, 1995. (Photo by Steve Pyke/Getty Images)...Ent

Seamus Heaney...Irish poet Seamus Heaney, 1995. (Photo by Steve Pyke/Getty Images)...Ent

File Pics Seamus Heaney Has Died Today.21/12/2011 Dr Seamus Heaney literary papers to National Library. Irish Nobel laureate Dr Seamus Heaney with Taoiseach and Fine Gael Enda Kenny, today handed over his literary papers to the National Library of Ireland. At the heart of the Archive are the manuscripts of Seamus Heaney's poetry, a comprehensive and vast collection of loose-leaf, typescript and manuscript worksheets and bound notebooks that span Heaney's literary career from the publication of his first major collection 'Death of a Naturalist' right through to 'Station Island' and Human Chain'. Photo Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

File Pics Seamus Heaney Has Died Today.21/12/2011 Dr Seamus Heaney literary papers to National Library. Irish Nobel laureate Dr Seamus Heaney with Taoiseach and Fine Gael Enda Kenny, today handed over his literary papers to the National Library of Ireland. At the heart of the Archive are the manuscripts of Seamus Heaney's poetry, a comprehensive and vast collection of loose-leaf, typescript and manuscript worksheets and bound notebooks that span Heaney's literary career from the publication of his first major collection 'Death of a Naturalist' right through to 'Station Island' and Human Chain'. Photo Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Photocall Ireland

File Pics Seamus Heaney Has Died Today.21/12/2011 Dr Seamus Heaney literary papers to National Library. Irish Nobel laureate Dr Seamus Heaney today handed over his literary papers to the National Library of Ireland. The event was attended by Taoiseach and Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. At the heart of the Archive are the manuscripts of Seamus Heaney's poetry, a comprehensive and vast collection of loose-leaf, typescript and manuscript worksheets and bound notebooks that span Heaney's literary career from the publication of his first major collection 'Death of a Naturalist' right through to 'Station Island' and Human Chain'. Photo Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

File Pics Seamus Heaney Has Died Today.21/12/2011 Dr Seamus Heaney literary papers to National Library. Irish Nobel laureate Dr Seamus Heaney today handed over his literary papers to the National Library of Ireland. The event was attended by Taoiseach and Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. At the heart of the Archive are the manuscripts of Seamus Heaney's poetry, a comprehensive and vast collection of loose-leaf, typescript and manuscript worksheets and bound notebooks that span Heaney's literary career from the publication of his first major collection 'Death of a Naturalist' right through to 'Station Island' and Human Chain'. Photo Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Photocall Ireland

File Pics Seamus Heaney Has Died Today.21/12/2011 Dr Seamus Heaney literary papers to National Library. Irish Nobel laureate Dr Seamus Heaney with Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, today handed over his literary papers to the National Library of Ireland. At the heart of the Archive are the manuscripts of Seamus Heaney's poetry, a comprehensive and vast collection of loose-leaf, typescript and manuscript worksheets and bound notebooks that span Heaney's literary career from the publication of his first major collection 'Death of a Naturalist' right through to 'Station Island' and Human Chain'. Photo Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

File Pics Seamus Heaney Has Died Today.21/12/2011 Dr Seamus Heaney literary papers to National Library. Irish Nobel laureate Dr Seamus Heaney with Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, today handed over his literary papers to the National Library of Ireland. At the heart of the Archive are the manuscripts of Seamus Heaney's poetry, a comprehensive and vast collection of loose-leaf, typescript and manuscript worksheets and bound notebooks that span Heaney's literary career from the publication of his first major collection 'Death of a Naturalist' right through to 'Station Island' and Human Chain'. Photo Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Photocall Ireland

File Pics Seamus Heaney Has Died Today.22/06/2013. Kennedy homecoming. Seamus Heaney pictured as a bust of the late Senator Edward Kennedy is unveiled at the Kennedy homestead in Dunganstown Co Wexford. Photo: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

File Pics Seamus Heaney Has Died Today.22/06/2013. Kennedy homecoming. Seamus Heaney pictured as a bust of the late Senator Edward Kennedy is unveiled at the Kennedy homestead in Dunganstown Co Wexford. Photo: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Seamus Heaney -
Ulster poet / writer

Seamus Heaney - Ulster poet / writer

Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley.

Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley.

Seamus Heaney Ulster Poet

Seamus Heaney Ulster Poet

Seamus Heaney Ulster Poet

Seamus Heaney Ulster Poet

File Pics Seamus Heaney Has Died Today.16/06/2011. Seamus Heaney receives Ulysses medal. (LtoR) Playwright Brian Friel and poet Seamus Heaney prior to the Bloomsday conferral ceremony where Mr Heaney was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature. June the 16th is Bloomsday and the most important honours day at UCD, where Joyce completed his Bachelor of Arts in 1902. Photo: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

File Pics Seamus Heaney Has Died Today.16/06/2011. Seamus Heaney receives Ulysses medal. (LtoR) Playwright Brian Friel and poet Seamus Heaney prior to the Bloomsday conferral ceremony where Mr Heaney was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature. June the 16th is Bloomsday and the most important honours day at UCD, where Joyce completed his Bachelor of Arts in 1902. Photo: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Photocall Ireland

File Pics Seamus Heaney Has Died Today.16/06/2011. Seamus Heaney receives Ulysses medal. Nobel Laureate, Poet, Seamus Heaney (right) with poet Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill in the grounds of University College Dublin (UCD) where he was presented with the Ulysses medal, the highest honor that the university can bestow. Ni Dhomhnall was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature. June the 16th is Bloomsday and the most important honours day at UCD, where Joyce completed his Bachelor of Arts in 1902. Photo: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

File Pics Seamus Heaney Has Died Today.16/06/2011. Seamus Heaney receives Ulysses medal. Nobel Laureate, Poet, Seamus Heaney (right) with poet Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill in the grounds of University College Dublin (UCD) where he was presented with the Ulysses medal, the highest honor that the university can bestow. Ni Dhomhnall was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature. June the 16th is Bloomsday and the most important honours day at UCD, where Joyce completed his Bachelor of Arts in 1902. Photo: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Photocall Ireland

13.04.2009...Seamus Heaney,Nobel Laureate, 70th Birthday Celebration at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham...Pic shows the ..Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney pic before his speech in the ..Great Hall.Pic Maxwells Dublin No Fee Pictured issued on behalf of RTE press Office contact Cathriona Edwards 087 6471120 or Rory coveney 086 8320979

13.04.2009...Seamus Heaney,Nobel Laureate, 70th Birthday Celebration at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham...Pic shows the ..Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney pic before his speech in the ..Great Hall.Pic Maxwells Dublin No Fee Pictured issued on behalf of RTE press Office contact Cathriona Edwards 087 6471120 or Rory coveney 086 8320979

File photo dated 20/06/06 of Seamus Heaney who has died aged 74

File photo dated 20/06/06 of Seamus Heaney who has died aged 74

PA

Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with Irish poet, Seamus Heaney as Irish President Mary McAleese, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Dr. Martin McAleese look on before a State Dinner at Dublin Castle, on May 18, 2011 in Dublin

Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with Irish poet, Seamus Heaney as Irish President Mary McAleese, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Dr. Martin McAleese look on before a State Dinner at Dublin Castle, on May 18, 2011 in Dublin

File photo dated 22/06/13 of Seamus Heaney reading a poem in front of a bust of Senator Ted Kennedy

File photo dated 22/06/13 of Seamus Heaney reading a poem in front of a bust of Senator Ted Kennedy

PA

Seamus Heaney (L) talks with Sir Ian McKellen after attending a memorial service for actor Paul Scofield on March 19, 2009 in London

Seamus Heaney (L) talks with Sir Ian McKellen after attending a memorial service for actor Paul Scofield on March 19, 2009 in London

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, UNITED KINGDOM: Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney, pictured during his first-ever appearance to the Edinburgh International Book Festival, where he talked about his work.
Photograph Colin McPherson, 15/08/02.
Tel. +44 (0)1968 661644 or 07831 838717.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, UNITED KINGDOM: Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney, pictured during his first-ever appearance to the Edinburgh International Book Festival, where he talked about his work. Photograph Colin McPherson, 15/08/02. Tel. +44 (0)1968 661644 or 07831 838717.

PACEMAKER BFST 27-01-04Poet Laureate Seamus Heaney guest speaker at the Holocaust Memorial  event in the Waterfront Hall.
30/08/2013 Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday. He was a legendary Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature

PACEMAKER BFST 27-01-04Poet Laureate Seamus Heaney guest speaker at the Holocaust Memorial event in the Waterfront Hall. 30/08/2013 Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday. He was a legendary Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature

Pacemaker Press 5/12/07  Seamus Heaney who is a past pupil at Annahorish Primary School in Toome
30/08/2013 Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday. He was a legendary Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature

Pacemaker Press 5/12/07 Seamus Heaney who is a past pupil at Annahorish Primary School in Toome 30/08/2013 Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday. He was a legendary Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature

Seamus Heaney
Pic: Mark Condren
4/4/08

Seamus Heaney Pic: Mark Condren 4/4/08

NEWS 16/06/11
Bloomsday, synonymous with James Joyce and his novel Ulysses, is the most important honours day at University College Dublin (UCD), the alma mater of this great 20th century author. Joyce completed his Bachelor of Arts at the university in 1902.
The UCD Ulysses Medal was awarded to Seamus Heaney. This is the highest honour that the university can bestow.
Picture by Shane O'Neill / Fennells.

NEWS 16/06/11 Bloomsday, synonymous with James Joyce and his novel Ulysses, is the most important honours day at University College Dublin (UCD), the alma mater of this great 20th century author. Joyce completed his Bachelor of Arts at the university in 1902. The UCD Ulysses Medal was awarded to Seamus Heaney. This is the highest honour that the university can bestow. Picture by Shane O'Neill / Fennells.

File Pics Seamus Heaney Had Died Today. Irish Poet Seamus Heaney at Sandymount in Dublin. 1995 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Seamus Heaney Had Died Today. Irish Poet Seamus Heaney at Sandymount in Dublin. 1995 Pic Photocall Ireland

Photocall Ireland

File Pics Seamus Heaney Had Died Today. Irish Poet Seamus Heaney at Sandymount in Dublin. 1995 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Seamus Heaney Had Died Today. Irish Poet Seamus Heaney at Sandymount in Dublin. 1995 Pic Photocall Ireland

Photocall Ireland

File Pics Seamus Heaney Had Died Today. Irish Poet Seamus Heaney(M) with Dunnes Stores Workers at a anti apartheid demo. 19/10/1985 Photo: Eamonn Farrell Photocall Ireland

File Pics Seamus Heaney Had Died Today. Irish Poet Seamus Heaney(M) with Dunnes Stores Workers at a anti apartheid demo. 19/10/1985 Photo: Eamonn Farrell Photocall Ireland

Photocall Ireland

Pacemaker Press Belfast.10/09/09
Poet Seamus Heaney unveils the key stone on the site of the new Lyric Theatre. Poet laureate Seamus Heaney at the unveiling ceremony of the Threshold Stone at the site of the new Lyric Theatre
Photo; Colm O'Reilly Pacemaker Press
30/08/2013 Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday. He was a legendary Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature

Pacemaker Press Belfast.10/09/09 Poet Seamus Heaney unveils the key stone on the site of the new Lyric Theatre. Poet laureate Seamus Heaney at the unveiling ceremony of the Threshold Stone at the site of the new Lyric Theatre Photo; Colm O'Reilly Pacemaker Press 30/08/2013 Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday. He was a legendary Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature

Pacemaker Belfast - Archive
Field Day Theatre Company performing "The Cure at Troy" by Seamus Heaney, directed by Stephen Rea.
30/08/2013 Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday. He was a legendary Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature

Pacemaker Belfast - Archive Field Day Theatre Company performing "The Cure at Troy" by Seamus Heaney, directed by Stephen Rea. 30/08/2013 Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday. He was a legendary Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature

Mandatory Credit Darren Kidd/Presseye.com 02/04//09
 
International Fund for Ireland

NEW SCULPTURE MARKS THE COMPLETION OF COMMUNITY REGENERATION SCHEME IN BELLAGHY
 
A sculpture, which marks the completion of the Bellaghy Community Regeneration Improvement Special Programme, was unveiled today (Thursday 2nd April 2009) by the Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney.

Mandatory Credit Darren Kidd/Presseye.com 02/04//09 International Fund for Ireland NEW SCULPTURE MARKS THE COMPLETION OF COMMUNITY REGENERATION SCHEME IN BELLAGHY A sculpture, which marks the completion of the Bellaghy Community Regeneration Improvement Special Programme, was unveiled today (Thursday 2nd April 2009) by the Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney.

Darren Kidd_Press Eye

Mandatory Credit Darren Kidd/Presseye.com 02/04//09
 
International Fund for Ireland

NEW SCULPTURE MARKS THE COMPLETION OF COMMUNITY REGENERATION SCHEME IN BELLAGHY
 
A sculpture, which marks the completion of the Bellaghy Community Regeneration Improvement Special Programme, was unveiled today (Thursday 2nd April 2009) by the Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney.

Mandatory Credit Darren Kidd/Presseye.com 02/04//09 International Fund for Ireland NEW SCULPTURE MARKS THE COMPLETION OF COMMUNITY REGENERATION SCHEME IN BELLAGHY A sculpture, which marks the completion of the Bellaghy Community Regeneration Improvement Special Programme, was unveiled today (Thursday 2nd April 2009) by the Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney.

Darren Kidd_Press Eye

Mandatory Credit Darren Kidd/Presseye.com 02/04//09
 
International Fund for Ireland

NEW SCULPTURE MARKS THE COMPLETION OF COMMUNITY REGENERATION SCHEME IN BELLAGHY
 
A sculpture, which marks the completion of the Bellaghy Community Regeneration Improvement Special Programme, was unveiled today (Thursday 2nd April 2009) by the Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney.

Mandatory Credit Darren Kidd/Presseye.com 02/04//09 International Fund for Ireland NEW SCULPTURE MARKS THE COMPLETION OF COMMUNITY REGENERATION SCHEME IN BELLAGHY A sculpture, which marks the completion of the Bellaghy Community Regeneration Improvement Special Programme, was unveiled today (Thursday 2nd April 2009) by the Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney.

Darren Kidd_Press Eye

Pacemaker Press Belfast 6-07-2010: A new £50m library at Queen's University was officially opened on Tuesday. The McClay Library was opened by the Nobel laureate, Seamus Heaney. The Vice Chancellor of Queen's, Professor Peter Gregson said it marks the next step in the university's development.
Picture By: Arthur Allison.
30/08/2013 Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday. He was a legendary Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature

Pacemaker Press Belfast 6-07-2010: A new £50m library at Queen's University was officially opened on Tuesday. The McClay Library was opened by the Nobel laureate, Seamus Heaney. The Vice Chancellor of Queen's, Professor Peter Gregson said it marks the next step in the university's development. Picture By: Arthur Allison. 30/08/2013 Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday. He was a legendary Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature

Pacemaker Press Belfast 6-07-2010: A new £50m library at Queen's University was officially opened on Tuesday. The McClay Library was opened by the Nobel laureate, Seamus Heaney. The Vice Chancellor of Queen's, Professor Peter Gregson said it marks the next step in the university's development.
Picture By: Arthur Allison.
30/08/2013 Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday. He was a legendary Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature

Pacemaker Press Belfast 6-07-2010: A new £50m library at Queen's University was officially opened on Tuesday. The McClay Library was opened by the Nobel laureate, Seamus Heaney. The Vice Chancellor of Queen's, Professor Peter Gregson said it marks the next step in the university's development. Picture By: Arthur Allison. 30/08/2013 Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday. He was a legendary Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature

Pacemaker Press Belfast 6-07-2010: A new £50m library at Queen's University was officially opened on Tuesday. The McClay Library was opened by the Nobel laureate, Seamus Heaney. The Vice Chancellor of Queen's, Professor Peter Gregson said it marks the next step in the university's development.
Picture By: Arthur Allison.
30/08/2013 Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday. He was a legendary Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature

Pacemaker Press Belfast 6-07-2010: A new £50m library at Queen's University was officially opened on Tuesday. The McClay Library was opened by the Nobel laureate, Seamus Heaney. The Vice Chancellor of Queen's, Professor Peter Gregson said it marks the next step in the university's development. Picture By: Arthur Allison. 30/08/2013 Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday. He was a legendary Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature

Caption: ©Press Eye Ltd - Northern Ireland 10/09/2009. Mandatory Credit - Matt Mackey /  Presseye.com 

Poet Seamus Heaney at Lyric Threshold Stone unveiling at the widely recognised Lyric Theatre as the unveiling of the threshold stone highlights the progress that has been made with the construction of the new theatre which is scheduled for completion in early 2011.

Picture by Matt Mackey/ Presseye.com.

Caption: ©Press Eye Ltd - Northern Ireland 10/09/2009. Mandatory Credit - Matt Mackey / Presseye.com Poet Seamus Heaney at Lyric Threshold Stone unveiling at the widely recognised Lyric Theatre as the unveiling of the threshold stone highlights the progress that has been made with the construction of the new theatre which is scheduled for completion in early 2011. Picture by Matt Mackey/ Presseye.com.

Seamus Heaney...Irish poet Seamus Heaney, 1995. (Photo by Steve Pyke/Getty Images)...Ent

I was honoured to meet Seamus Heaney on a number of occasions through our mutual friendship with Des Kavanagh, a Galway orthodontist and Donegal native.

Seamus and Des had boarded in St Columba's in Derry. I had boarded in a similar diocesan secondary school, St Brendan's, Killarney, and at the same time -- the early 1950s. So we had that much in common.

Seamus Deane, a fellow poet, was a day boy in the school with Seamus. He describes well the regime that applied both in Derry and Kerry.

The fate of boarders seemed to us day boys a dismal one. They lodged in the college, ate lousy food and had to attend regular supervised homework sessions.

Seamus had played Gaelic football, as did those other poets, Patrick Kavanagh and Brendan Kennelly. I once confessed to him that when I got involved in a debate on who was the best poet, I stood back from that; but said I knew which poet was the best footballer -- and that was Brendan Kennelly.

Seamus wryly conceded the justice of that.

Brendan was one of the best Kerry minor footballers but was deprived of an All-Ireland medal in dubious circumstances in 1954. He did not progress to senior ranks, concentrating on his teaching and his poetry.

Another example of Seamus's self-effacement came about when he was hospitalised with a stroke some years ago. Former President Clinton came to visit him in hospital. Seamus took satisfaction in reporting that Clinton's visit had created more of a stir among the hospital staff than his confinement.

Another personal reminiscence: Des Kavanagh had a son, Rory, who was good friends with our son, also Rory. Rory Kavanagh, a most gifted youth, died young and here is the first verse of the lovely tribute Seamus Heaney paid him with a harking back to his own Derry schooldays:

Now that the rest of us have no weeping left

These things will do it for you:

Willows standing out on Leitrim Moss,

Wounds that "wept" in the talk of those before you,

Rained-on statues from Clonmany to Ahascragh,

Condensation on the big windows

And walls of a school corridor in Derry

Where I drew with warm fingers once upon a time

To make a face that wept itself away

Down cold black glass.

Belfast Telegraph