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Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney was born at Mossbawn on 13 April 1939 near the village of Bellaghy, the eldest of 9 children. He attended Anahorish Primary School before leaving in 1951 to continue his education as a boarder at St Columb’s College in Derry.

He gained a first class honours degree in English Language and Literature from Queen’s University, Belfast (QUB) in 1961 and it was during this period that his first poems were published in student magazines.

He went on to qualify as a teacher, taking up a post in St Thomas’s Secondary School in Belfast before being appointed Lecturer in English at St Joseph’s College of Education.

In 1966 his first collection of poems, Death of a Naturalist, was published and in the same year he was appointed to the faculty of QUB as lecturer in English. He was subsequently a professor at both Harvard University and Oxford University.

He wrote and published poetry, plays, essays and translations throughout his life and in 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, sealing his reputation as one of Ireland’s literary and cultural giants.

He died in Dublin in 2013 and chose Bellaghy as his final resting place.

‘I rhyme
To see myself, to set the darkness echoing.’