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Funeral takes place of poet Seamus Heaney

Funeral takes place of poet Seamus Heaney

THE Funeral has taken place of poet Seamus Heaney who passed away on Friday at the age of 74.

The Funeral Mass for the Nobel Laureate was held in The Church of The Sacred Heart in Donnybrook, Dublin. Burial then took place in his home town of Bellaghy in south Derry. To view full details of the funeral arrangements,  click here.

Among the mourners were Irish President Michael D. Higgins and the Prime Minister Enda Kenny as well as many people from the arts and politics. 

The poet’s son, Michael, paid an emotional tribute to his father. He told the mourners: “His generosity in spirit as well as obvious gifts as poet left everyone who met  him feeling lucky to have known him.”

Mr. Heaney also revealed what his father’s final words had been: “In his last few words, in a test message he wrote to my mother minutes before he passed away, were in his beloved Latin, and they read: ‘Noli timere’ — don’t be afraid.”

To view a report on the funeral, click here.


Mr. Heaney was regarded by many in the literary world as perhaps the most important Irish poet since W. B. Yeats.

Brought up on a farm in Bellaghy in the south Derry area, Mr. Heaney’s work often reflected his intense love of nature, at times focusing on the natural landscape and how people interact with it.

He was a teacher before deciding to concentrate on being a poet. His collection, Death Of A Naturalist, was awarded the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize in 1968. The collection included Digging (see below).

His other work included Wintering Out (1972), North (1975), Station Island (1984) and Seeing Things (1991).

The poet’s standing in the literary world was reflected in the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. 

Throughout his life Mr. Heaney retained strong links with his alma mater, Queen’s University, Belfast. In 2003, the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry was opened at the university. The centre houses a record of his oeuvre. 

Mr. Heaney donated his literary papers, including manuscripts of his poetry and bound notebooks, to the National Library of Ireland in 2011.

His last major work was Human Chain, which was published in 2010. The collection, his 12th, reflected his experiences after suffering a stroke in 2006. The poet admitted that the work was his most personally revealing.

Tributes were led by Irish President, Michael D. Higgins. He said: “As tributes flow in from around the world, as people recall the extraordinary occasions of the readings and the lectures, we in Ireland will once again get a sense of the depth and range of the contribution of Seamus Heaney to our contemporary world. But what those of us who have had the privilege of his friendship and presence will miss is the extraordinary depth and warmth of his personality.

“The presence of Seamus was a warm one, full of humour, care and courtesy — a courtesy that enabled him to carry with such wry Northern Irish dignity so many well-deserved honours from all over the world.” 

The Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness also paid tribute, describing Mr. Heaney as “a colossus of literature”. He added: “We are all much poorer as a result of his passing and I feel it very deeply.”

Mr. Heaney, who had lived for many years in Dublin, passed away after a period of ill heath. He is survived by his wife Marie and children Michael, Christopher and Catherine Ann.

To view footage of Mr. Heaney reading Digging click here.

To see an excerpt from an archive interview with Mr. Heaney, click here.

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