Step into the Seamus Heaney experience

Blogs, Derry~Londonderry, Co. Londonderry, Things to do, Experiences

Posted by Discover Northern Ireland

Published January 15, 2020


Northern Ireland is home to many a literary legend, but perhaps none more legendary than the Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney. Step into the Seamus Heaney experience and explore his beloved home place, Bellaghy. Discover the life and literature, and the faces and places that inspired Northern Ireland’s most famous son.

Seamus Heaney Tours and HomePlace

Inside Seamus Heaney HomePlace

Seamus Heaney HomePlace

In 2016, HomePlace – an arts and literary centre dedicated to the life and work of the late poet – opened for the first time.

The centre spans two floors and visitors can enjoy recordings, photographs and personal stories, as well as listen to Heaney read his own words. A series of exhibitions, workshops, tours and performances and a seasonal programme of events are all available.

Stay in Heaney Home Ground

For an immersive Seamus Heaney experience, plan a break in 4* Laurel Villa Guest House in Maghaerfelt, just a short drive away from HomePlace. This homely, family-run property is owned and managed by husband and wife team Eugene & Geraldine Kielt.

Not only is this a gorgeous Victorian property built in 1872, but the Kielt family were honoured to be involved in Heaney's life, and as a fitting tribute, the property is littered with his legacy.

Laurel Villa Guest House has created its own unique Seamus Heaney Exhibition showcasing a rare collection of Heaney first editions and broadsides. For literary connoisseurs, this is more than just a guest house.

Alternatively, why not stay in 4* Ardtara Country House. Tucked away in 10 acres of woodland, a short drive away from Heaney HomePlace, this country house is a perfect retreat with an award-winning restaurant on-site.

Glenavon House Hotel just outside Cookstown and approximately 30 minutes drive from HomePlace, offers a relaxing stay and its central location is the perfect base for exploring the surrounding area and further afield.

If you prefer to DIY in self-catering cottages, then 5* Annagh Cottage in Bellaghy is perfect and in an ideal location for exploring the area which inspired Heaney. The quaint 3-bedroomed cottage combines traditional with modern - activities nearby to try include walking, bird-watching, fishing and golf.

Places to eat in the area

The Elk Complex in nearby Toome, has a variety of menus offering good food in a relaxed and cosy environment.

Galgorm Spa and Golf Resort is a short drive away from Heaney HomePlace and has a number of dining options on-site.  Fratelli provides the best of Italian cuisine with a modern twist while Gillies Grill has a more traditional menu with classic brasserie options and a grill selection as well as Asian themed dishes.

Ardtara Country House has an award-winning restaurant and offers fine dining with local produce at the heart of the menu, set in a stunning location, within 10 acres of woodland.

Tours of Heaney Country

Learn and explore more of Heaney's native home land in Co. Londonderry with a bespoke 5* Tour of Heaney Country led by Blue Badge tour guide, Eugene Kielt.

Tailored for individuals or groups, Eugene will personally escort you to key points where you will discover the inspirational people and places behind some of Heaney's most famous works.

Visit his birthplace at Mossbawn, the villages of Castledawson and Toome, and the renowned Turf Man sculpture – a life size representation of Digging.

Plan your short break

If you've been inspired to explore the heartland of one of Northern Ireland's most famous writers, visit discovernorthernireland.com and start planning your literary short break.



Discover Northern Ireland

Posted by Discover Northern Ireland

Want to know more about Northern Ireland? Get in touch! Email info@discovernorthernireland.com


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