Heaney to be brought home to Bellaghy

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Poet, playwright, and Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney will be laid to rest tomorrow, Monday, in his birthplace of Bellaghy after a funeral service at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook.

Thousands from the world of literature, politics and education are expected to attend the funeral service for the man described as the greatest Irish poet since W.B Yeats.

Chief among the mourners will be Seamus Heaney’s wife, Marie, his sons Christoper and Michael and daughter Catherine Anne.

As tributes poured in from Ireland and across the world yesterday, Derry’s Mayor Martin Reilly opened a book of condolences in the city’s Guildhall. It’s less than a month since Seamus Heaney read his work in Derry’s Millennium Forum as part of the sell out ‘Piper and the Poet’ event during the Fleadh Cheoil, one of the poet’s final public appearances. His sudden death has sent shockwaves through the world of literature and beyond.

Former US president Bill Clinton was among those who paid tribute to the former St Columb’s College pupil describing him as “our finest poet of the rhythms of ordinary lives” and a “powerful voice for peace.”

In another moving tribute, Archbishop Eamon Martin, former president of St Columb’s College said:

“We were all quietly ambushed by sadness at the announcement today of the death of Seamus Heaney RIP, Ireland’s foremost poet. Honoured on the world stage, our Nobel Laureate was always at heart a quiet Irish man who wrote our story without rhetoric. In his work he observed ordinary country people going about their ordinary lives. His father, his mother, his aunts, his neighbours were Seamus’s quiet heroes as he became ours. Anthologised for primary and secondary students for decades, his poetry excavated the past and found coordinates for the present. He saw history as our story – the story of ordinary humankind.”

See today’s Sunday Journal for extensive coverage on the death of one of Derry’s most famous sons.