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New exhibition telling the story of Seamus Heaney to open in Dublin next year

The exhibition 'Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again', will draw on the National Library’s extensive archive of Heaney documents

THE "transformative power of poetry" that Seamus Heaney dedicated his life to sharing is to be celebrated in a new exhibition telling the story of the Nobel Laureate's work.

A unique archive of the Co Derry poet's original manuscripts, unpublished works and diary entries are among the exhibits to go on show next year at the National Library of Ireland (NLI) in Dublin.

The exhibition, 'Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again', will draw on the National Library's extensive archive of Heaney documents, which also include photographs, note books and multi-media recordings.

Due to open next summer, the exhibition, which goes on display at the new Cultural and Heritage Centre within Bank of Ireland's College Green complex, will take the visitor on a multi-sensory journey from Heaney's origins through his remarkable poetic career.

Speaking at an event last night to release details of the exhibition, director of the NLI Sandra Collins, said it would be "emotional, intimate and inspiring".

"When Seamus Heaney left his writer's archive to the National Library of Ireland we knew we wanted to do something really transformational to open up this wonderful archive and share it with the world," she said.

"The opportunity to be the first exhibition in the historic building on College Green was a perfect chance to achieve this ambition.

"We are very excited to announce the plans for this new landmark exhibition now. The exhibition will be an emotional, intimate and inspiring encounter with Heaney's work."

Mr Heaney's daughter Catherine also told the reception that the family are "honoured" that his work if being celebrated.

"In 2011, my father donated his literary papers to the National Library so that they would find a permanent home in Ireland and be accessible to anyone with an interest in his work," she said.

"That those manuscripts and notebooks should now be at the heart of this ambitious and visionary exhibition, in this historic setting, would have meant a great deal to him.

"And we, his family, are extremely proud and honoured that his archive is being brought to life and celebrated in this way."

Josepha Madigan, minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said: "Not only does Seamus Heaney hold a special place in the heart of Irish people, he has also been a wonderful ambassador for Ireland and this unique exhibition will allow the National Library to tell the story of his work.

"I have no doubt that visitors will come from far and wide to visit this exhibition, and I hope they leave with the same infectious appreciation of the transformative power of poetry that Seamus Heaney dedicated his life to sharing."

Francesca McDonagh from Bank of Ireland added: "For more than 200 years, Bank of Ireland has been part of the fabric of Irish life, and our buildings on College Green are an important part of Ireland's history and heritage.

"Given this, it is particularly fitting that the centre's inaugural exhibition will focus on the life and work of Seamus Heaney, a person of immense national significance."

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