A blacksmith who inspired the Seamus Heaney poem ‘The Forge’ is to be laid to rest on Sunday.
Barney Devlin was the subject of the 1969 poem, and the 96-year-old died on Thursday at his Castledawson home.
His funeral will be 1pm Mass at St John’s Church, Milltown.
The grandfather and great-grandfather was the husband of the late Margaret (Peg) and father of Clare McCusker, Joe, Anne Scott, Kieran, Barry, Patricia Kelly, Teresa, Gerard and the late Hugh.
A tribute to Barney on the website ‘Time to Consider the Lilies’ describes him as a man “with heart and craft and good humour”.
“Tonight, I think only Heaney would know what to say about Barney’s passing. He would have the right words,” it said.
Here is the poem that Barney inspired:
All I know is a door into the dark.
Outside, old axles and iron hoops rusting;
Inside, the hammered anvil’s short-pitched ring,
The unpredictable fantail of sparks
Or hiss when a new shoe toughens in water.
The anvil must be somewhere in the centre,
Horned as a unicorn, at one end and square,
Set there immoveable: an altar
Where he expends himself in shape and music.
Sometimes, leather-aproned, hairs in his nose,
He leans out on the jamb, recalls a clatter
Of hoofs where traffic is flashing in rows;
Then grunts and goes in, with a slam and flick
To beat real iron out, to work the bellows.