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The Seamus Heaney HomePlace Experience

45 Main Street, Bellaghy, County Londonderry, BT45 8HT
  • A photograph of Seamus Heaney is admired by a tour group

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Step into the Seamus Heaney HomePlace, and discover the world-renowned poet in his beloved hometown. Journey through the life and works of this literary giant, greatly valued worldwide for his decency and humility, and experience the place, the people and the landscape that so inspired his work.

Here, you’ll see Seamus Heaney’s leather school satchel and his wooden desk from Anahorish Primary School, handwritten transcripts from the poet, and books donated by the Heaney family. You’ll learn about the figures who were integral to his life and poetry: his mother, his father, his brother Hugh, Barney Devlin at The Forge, and many others from the area. You’ll also find yourself immersed in the multi-award-winning exhibition’s audio-visual displays - on the video wall, you’ll see and listen to reflections from family, friends and leading figures such as former US President Bill Clinton and U2 frontman Bono.

HomePlace’s ‘word-hoard’ celebrates the language Seamus Heaney used within his poetry, giving insight into local dialect and his use of it. Elsewhere, step into the centre’s interpretation of his attic study, and watch the emotional reactions of Heaney, his family and friends when he won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature for "works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth". You can’t fail to be moved by this emotional journey and the beauty of poems such as Digging and Mid-Term Break, not to mention Heaney’s evocative description of the simplest tasks, from turf-cutting to potato peeling.

But perhaps the best way to hear Seamus Heaney’s work is to step outside, into the fresh Bellaghy air and the very landscape that inspired him. In a new aspect of the experience, Open Ground, you will be able to explore the region in a unique way, enjoy Heaney’s site-specific works, and connect his words with the locations, landscape and traditions that inspired them. Through creative interpretation, audio devices, sculptural pieces and augmented reality, you can interact with each site - and engage your senses - in a tangible and immersive way. The emotional connection felt here – whether it’s in discovering Heaney's work for the first time, or as an avid reader of his poetry - is evidence of the truly unique, authentic and welcoming spirit of the Seamus Heaney HomePlace.

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