Celebrating Seamus Heaney on his ‘Home Ground’

Thursday 24 July 2014

South-Derry-Bogland-940x400Those who recall the visits by the late Seamus Heaney to StAnza will remember how passionate he was about the connections between poetry and place, and our current project to Map Scotland with Poems is in sympathy with this. It’s also fitting that a festival devoted to Heaney is to be held among his own ‘home ground’, the landscapes he evoked in his poetry.

Celebrating Seamus Heaney On Home Ground 2014, will run from 11-14 September at Laurel Villa Guesthouse in Magherafelt (just 3 miles from Mossbawn where Heaney was born) and will celebrate his life, work and legacy of the poet through poetry, music and art.

It follows on from last year’s inaugural festival, which was named by Heaney himself before his untimely death last September. As a result the festival became a tribute to him.

Organised by Laurel Villa’s husband and wife team, Eugene and Gerardine Kielt, in partnership with the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry and curated by BBC arts broadcaster Marie-Louise Muir, this year’s festival will feature readings from some of Ireland’s finest writers and poets, children’s workshops, a poetry picnic, coach tours of ‘Heaney country’ and a rare re-showing of films made by the BBC which Heaney presented.

The full programme will be revealed by the Verbal Arts Centre tomorrow, on 25 July, but some events have already been confirmed: In Conversations with special guests – including Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody who will read Heaney poetry and perform songs, one of which he has dedicated to the late poet – and artist Colin Davidson, who painted Heaney’s last portrait, will be In Conversation with the writer Glenn Patterson. There will also be a session of music and readings with musicians Neil Martin and Rod McVey and actor Bríd Brennan.

The main venue, Laurel Villa Guesthouse, has long been a centre of poetry and outside the festival runs regular readings by well-known poets and tours of local ‘poetry places’.

More details are available online at http://theverbal.co/blog/story/2014/celebrating-seamus-heaney-on-home-ground-2014 and http://laurel-villa.com/.