The new building which is to be a focal point to highlight the life and work of the late poet and Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney, has been named and its identity revealed.
‘Seamus Heaney HomePlace’ will open in Bellaghy this September, named to reflect the physical position of the centre at the heart of the area where the poet was born, grew up and is buried, as well as its significance as a source of inspiration for Seamus Heaney’s work throughout his life.
The visual identity combines the poet’s signature with a pen, representative both of his craft and of the distinctive ‘Conway Stewart’ pen, the subject of a poem in his last published collection, Human Chain.
In the poem, Seamus Heaney describes a gift from his parents as he embarked on a landmark journey away from home, evoking the emotion of parting from his family, and yet looking to the future as he started on the next significant stage of his life at boarding school.
It also echoes the reference to the pen in what is perhaps his best-known work ‘Digging’, which was the opening poem in his debut collection, Death of a Naturalist, published 50 years ago this year.
Commenting on the announcement on behalf of Seamus Heaney’s family, his son Michael Heaney said:
"We are delighted with the naming of the Seamus Heaney HomePlace, which is a significant moment in a project that means so much to us as a family. We are especially grateful that his life and work will be celebrated in Bellaghy, among the people and places he knew so well and wrote about over the course of his lifetime."
The project is being developed by Mid Ulster District Council, and part funded by the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure.
Speaking as the new name and identity were revealed at the site of the new building, Chair of the Council, Councillor Linda Dillon, said:
“This is a unique project centred on a uniquely talented man who was renowned the world-over for his extraordinary work, and yet was rooted in the everyday. To properly and fittingly reflect and respect Seamus Heaney in everything that we do is paramount.
“I hope we have managed both in the name and the identity to encapsulate a sense of the man, his values and work.”
Councillor Kim Ashton, Deputy Chair of the Council, said:
“This is a milestone in the project which recognises Seamus Heaney’s enormous contribution to literature and his international standing, and brings us one step closer to opening what will be a flagship arts and literary centre in Mid Ulster, which we hope will inspire those who visit.”
Seamus Heaney HomePlace will open in September 2016 and will feature an interactive exhibition, using the latest touchscreen, video and audio technology, with a theatre and performance space, learning and creative zones for children and adults, as well as community space.