Heaney clan to open new centre in his memory

The Seamus Heaney Centre, HomePlace
The Seamus Heaney Centre, HomePlace

The family of world-renowned poet Seamus Heaney will personally open the new centre honouring his memory.

The centre at Bellaghy, where he used to live, has been in development since 2014 and is called HomePlace.

The Seamus Heaney Centre, HomePlace

The Seamus Heaney Centre, HomePlace

Mr Heaney, one of the most admired poets of his generation, died on August 30, 2013.

Following his death, Ian Paisley had said of him: “It is an understatement to say that Seamus Heaney was a great poet, among the best in Ulster.”

Mid Ulster District Council said that members of the public will be able to visit his centre from Friday, September 30.

The day before, there will be an invitation-only opening ceremony, at which surviving relatives of the Nobel prize-winning poet will perform the opening ceremony.

There will be among roughly 200 guests in attendance.

The centre is described as a new arts and literary venue, dedicated to Mr Heaney’s life.

Photographs were released by the council on Friday.

They are believed to be the first images to be circulated of the building since it reached near-total completion.

In a statement, Ulster Unionist chairman of Mid Ulster council, councillor Trevor Wilson – representing the Cookstown area – said: “We have been privileged to enjoy the support of the Heaney family as this project has developed and are honoured and delighted that the family will open HomePlace.

“There can be no more appropriate people to do so than those to whom he was closest in life”.

The council said that the opening will be followed by a weekend of activities.

The council has previously said the event will “set the scene for a year-long programme of events”.

Called “12 Books, 12 Months”, it will see each month focus on one of Seamus Heaney’s twelve main collections of poetry in chronological order.

This is set to begin with Death of a Naturalist in October, and conclude with Human Chain in September 2017.