Seamus Heaney Homeplace

I was lucky enough to grow up in Northern Ireland’s Heaney country, so it was a treat to get home and visit the new Seamus Heaney HomePlace, in the village of Bellaghy.

In a purpose built building, there’s so much to explore including artefacts from Heaney’s childhood, recorded readings of each of his poems, and a mock up of his writing studio. The poems are mapped beautifully around the Lough Neagh area too.

Have a listen as he reads one of the first poem many of us encountered…

I’m sure I use many of the words below in normal everyday conversation. It’s a fun way of depicting language use.

Visitors can listen to the poet reading each of his poems, and there are some lovely reminders of his childhood and influences. In another lovely touch, many pupils from Annahorish Primary School and other local secondary schools join more well known names to share their experiences of the poet and his writings.


The space’s Helicon theatre is a great addition to the local area, hosting regular sessions from poets, writers, musicians and more that definitely make me want to go back more often.

I’m looking forward to a return visit soon.

What’s your favourite Heaney poem?


  1. Hard to choose a favourite, so I’ll give you 3 of my favourites: Blackberry Picking, Digging and Sloe Gin. If you force me to choose only one, I think I’ll pick Digging.
    We share something in common,apart from a love of Heaney’s work, I’m also from N.I. or was. I come from Newry but left there a very long time ago. I travel back occasionally to see family members who still live there.

  2. It’s a pleasure to encounter you. Thanks for visiting Under Western Skies. I intended to start digging in to your many posts about Italy, until I saw this about your visit to the Heaney homeplace. Impossible to choose a single poem, although in this house, with the specific interests here, his translation of Beowulf stands as a magnificent achievement … and I’ve read more than few translations in the past 40 years, some of them by former professors of mine, who may have hewed more closely to word meanings, but without Mr. Heaney’s brilliant sense of the poetry locked in that ancient hoard.

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