Northern Ireland news

Stars of stage and screen mark the continued global interest in Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney

Stephen Rea on stage at the event to highlight the Seamus Heaney HomePlace. Picture by Paul Sherwood

STARS of stage and screen have gathered in Dublin to mark the continued global interest in Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney.

Actors Stephen Rea, Tara Lynne O'Neill and Laurence Kinlan, as well as musician Neil Martin and singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan, gave a unique and moving performance to celebrate Heaney's work at Christ Church Cathedral yesterday.

The 'Embrace a Giant Spirit' event was organised by the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy, Co Derry, which takes visitors on a journey through the life and literature of the poet.

There were performances of Heaney's work, including an adaptation in words and music of an excerpt of Aeneid: Book VI and a haunting performance of Anahorish as performers came together to highlight the literary connections between HomePlace and the 'Listen Now Again' exhibition at the National Library in Dublin.

Almost 300,000 people have visited the two attractions dedicated to Heaney.

The event comes as HomePlace prepares to extend its visitor experience into the landscape which inspired the poet and features in his work.

Five locations of significance to the poet are being developed, among them being Lough Beg, a place of 'special memories' for the writer where a boardwalk will lead visitors to a viewing point to see Church Island and its famous spire.

A riverside walk by the Moyola River is also being created and a sculpture will form the focal point for visitors to hear and read poetry at the eel fishery in Toome.

Fiona Cunningham from Tourism NI, which organised the event, said: "Visitors are coming from all over the world to soak up the beautiful place, people and landscapes in Northern Ireland that inspired him so much and we want to encourage people from across Ireland to make the unforgettable trip to follow his journey, walk the paths he took and explore through his words at Seamus Heaney HomePlace".

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