I’ve loved Seamus Heaney’s poetry since reading ‘Digging’ almost 50 years ago. That poem led to me requesting his collected works as a present on my 22nd birthday, a tome that still graces my bookshelves.
Following our wonderful stay in Bangor we embark upon an hour long journey into mid-Ulster towards Bellaghy where the Seamus Heaney Home Place has been established – a building entirely worthy of it’s subject. Heaney, who died in 2013, is as internationally renowned as Yeats and visitors come here from all over the world.
Home Place is the venue for cultural events of every variety and I occupy the stage from which Van Morrison performed a week earlier.
Stephen Walker is my interviewer and I’m privileged to meet his family including his 95 year old father Ron who moved to Northern Ireland from London in the 60’s but has not lost any of his cockney accent.
We manage not to repeat the previous evening’s show word for word (for the sake of our wives who will have been at both). Afterwards we meet Seamus’s brother Ken who tells us how deeply rooted Seamus was in his home soil. ‘Digging’ is certainly a testament to this and so is Home Place.
The photo is of me in the wonderful Ulster countryside on a walk from our hotel – the stately Ardtara Country House which has one of the best hotel restaurants we’ve ever eaten in.