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Links between Heaney and Burns explored in new series of events at Seamus Heaney HomePlace

22 January 2018

As many celebrate the poetry of Robert Burns this week during Burns Night, Seamus Heaney HomePlace are preparing for ‘Pronounced in the Place’ (Friday 16th – Sunday 25th February), a series of events inspired by the essay by Seamus Heaney on Burns’s poetry, including conversation with John Gordon Sinclair (Gregory’s Girl), and music from Elsafty, Armstrong and Browne and Scottish songstress, Eddi Reader. 

The essay celebrates Seamus Heaney’s love for the poetry of Robert Burns, his belief in the power of words and poetry to connect rather than divide and the joy of language found in Ulster Scots, Gaelic and the everyday colloquial phrases of Ulster. 

Pronounced in the Place is supported by The Executive Office through District Council Good Relations Programme supported by Mid Ulster District Council.

The series of events kicks off on Friday 16th February with ‘Collapsing The Distance’ a discussion panel that will explore the tradition, language and culture of Ulster Scots and how it relates to Heaney’s arguments in Burns’s Art Speech. The panel comprises Damian Smyth, Matthew Warwick, Frank Ferguson, Nelson McCausland, Carol Baraniuk and John Erskine. 

No celebration of Seamus Heaney’s ‘Burns Art Speech’ would be complete without Robert Crawford. A friend of Heaney’s, Crawford is Burns’s biographer and editor of the original collection in which that essay appeared. His talk on Saturday 17th February will provide new ways of seeing, of hearing and of feeling Burns’s poetry. 

So, Sing On With Eddi Reader (SOLD OUT) will showcase her 2013 album ‘Sings the Songs of Robert Burns’ on Saturday 17th February, in what promises to be a highlight of the mini-festival! 

A growing interest in the life and work of Ian Cochrane suggests a revival of his reputation as a writer of note. Originally from Cullybackey, County Antrim, Cochrane’s novels explored village life in Northern Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s, using dark humour and Ulster Scots language to create a strong sense of people and place. ‘Cullybackey Gothic: An Ian Cochrane Revival’ (Thursday 22nd February) includes the launch of a new edition of Cochrane’s novel ‘F for Ferg’. 

Cathal Buí Mac Giolla Ghunna (c.1680-c.1756) was a Gaelic lyricist, songmaker and poet with firm connections to the Bréifne/ Fermanagh area but who ranged all over Ulster. Native of Benburb, Dr. Charles Dillon’s lecture on Saturday 24th February will examine the work of Cathal Buí and establish his place in the vibrant legacy of Gaelic poetry and song of south Ulster in the period. 

Elsafty, Armstrong & Browne will provide a vibrant evening of music and song in the penultimate event in the series on Saturday 24th February as they evoke the unique sound of early Ireland, combining the unmistakable voice of Róisín Elsafty, one of our finest sean-nós singers, with the hauntingly beautiful sound of the medieval Irish harp, played by Ireland’s foremost historical harper, Siobhán Armstrong, woven together with Ronan Browne’s flutes, whistles and 170-year-old pipes. 

Scottish actor and novelist, John Gordon Sinclair is no stranger to success. His breakout role as Gregory in the 1981 film Gregory’s Girl made him a household name. Now, with three novels under his belt, he is as respected for his writing as he is for his performing.

John has made no secret of his love for Robert Burns and has recorded several of his poems for the BBC. This entertaining event on Sunday 25th February to close the programme will see John chat to Hugh Odling-Smee about his writing, acting and love of the spoken and written word.

For further information and to book for any of the events, visit www.seamusheaneyhome.com or call Box Office on 028 7938 7444. 

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