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Tenth anniversary of Seamus Heaney's death marked with new Radio 4 series

A new BBC Radio 4 series marks the life of the late Seamus Heaney Picture by Hugh Russell
A new BBC Radio 4 series marks the life of the late Seamus Heaney Picture by Hugh Russell A new BBC Radio 4 series marks the life of the late Seamus Heaney Picture by Hugh Russell

The 10th anniversary of the passing of Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney will be celebrated with a series of programmes on BBC Radio 4, each focusing on a different aspect of his work.

Beginning on Sunday August 20, the weekly episodes of Four Sides of Seamus Heaney are presented by different people with personal knowledge of Heaney.

The first episode begins with a recording from the BBC archive of Heaney reading some of his own work.

It is presented by poet and broadcaster John Kelly and explores the importance of place in Heaney’s work.

Hugh Heaney, brother of Seamus Heaney. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Hugh Heaney, brother of Seamus Heaney. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin Hugh Heaney, brother of Seamus Heaney. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

John visits the village of Bellaghy in Co Derry, where Heaney was born, went to school, and where he is buried.

Though he spent most of his life in the Republic of Ireland, taught in America and travelled all over the world, much of Seamus Heaney's poetry is rooted in his home village of Bellaghy; the landscape, its people and their work, and their language.

One of his earliest poems describes ploughing, one of his last a baler.

In the programme, John speaks to Heaney’s brother Dan Heaney, who commented "he never really left the parish”.



They visit the sculpture of a turf digger in the village and share something few know about the genesis of the famous poem, Digging.

They also go to the Strand at Lough Beg where, in the poem of that name, Seamus imagines meeting his cousin, murdered in the Troubles. And they visit the family's farmyard and the Seamus Heaney HomePlace performance space.

In Bellaghy, a former fortified police station now houses the Seamus Heaney Homeplace visitor attraction
In Bellaghy, a former fortified police station now houses the Seamus Heaney Homeplace visitor attraction In Bellaghy, a former fortified police station now houses the Seamus Heaney Homeplace visitor attraction

The second episode is presented by Catherine Heaney, Seamus Heaney's daughter, as she explores love in her father's poems.



Read more:

Seamus Heaney HomePlace to mark 10th anniversary of Co Derry poet's death with weekend of poetry, music and film


Brothers of Seamus Heaney speak of their childhood 



He wrote many love poems about love of different kinds, and they became some of his best-known works.



In the episode, his daughter visits Glanmore, his cottage in rural Wicklow, to talk to her brothers about the poems and how they came to be.

Four Sides of Seamus Heaney is broadcast on BBC Radio Four at 4pm and also available on BBC Sounds.