First visit to Seamus Heaney country

I spent three days in County Londonderry, based in the town of Magherafelt at a guest house run by Eugene Kielt, the local expert on Heaney and his poetry.  Eugene took me on a full day tour visiting Heaney’s birthplace and other places in the area associated with his life and work, and was generous in sharing his knowledge. The landscape in that part of Northern Ireland is, in Heaney’s description, “scraggy” – truly remarkable that such an ordinary setting could have produced such a towering literary figure.

An excellent museum devoted to Heaney (known as the Seamus Heaney Homeplace) has recently opened at Bellaghy.

A few images from the trip are posted below:

At Heaney’s birthplace – spades, shovels and other implements figure widely in his poetry
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A lane near Lough Beg


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The eel fishery at Toomebridge – referred to as the eelworks in Heaney’s poetry


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Cleaning the nets at the eelworks
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Holy Well Church


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Heaney’s grave at Bellaghy


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Inside the Seamus Heaney Homeplace