Heaney papers for National Library

Seamus Heaney.
Seamus Heaney.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be the guest of honour at a reception to mark the hand-over of the literary papers of Irish Nobel laureate Dr Seamus Heaney to the National Library of Ireland in the Library’s Reading Room tomorrow.

The donation of the archive will be received by the Taoiseach, accompanied by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Mr Jimmy Deenihan.

The event will be attended by Dr Heaney and members of his family.

Dr Heaney - a former pupil of Derry’s St Columb’s College - is one of four Irish Nobel literature laureates along with WB Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett.

The National Library of Ireland already holds the papers of WB Yeats. The main corpus of Shaw papers is in the British Library, while the Beckett papers are in Trinity College Dublin.

In recent years, the Library has acquired the literary papers of several internationally acclaimed Irish writers, including Marina Carr, Roddy Doyle, Paul Durcan, Brian Friel, Hugo Hamilton, John Montague, Edna O’Brien, Colm Tóibín and Edna O’Brien.

It also holds the papers of major literary figures such as James Joyce, Maria Edgeworth, George Moore, Kate O’Brien, Patrick Kavanagh, Brendan Behan, Benedict Kiely, Christy Brown and James Plunkett.

The acquisition of the Seamus Heaney literary papers adds immeasurably to the National Library of Ireland’s treasury of literary culture.

Seamus Heaney was born in 1939 at the family farmhouse of “Mossbawn” near Castledawson in Co Derry, and educated intially at Anahorish Primary School. He later won a scholarship to St Columb’s College in Derry.

At St. Columb’s College, Heaney was taught Latin and Irish and these languages, together with the Anglo-Saxon which he would study while a student of Queen’s University, Belfast, were determining factors in many of the developments and retrenchments which have marked his progress as a poet.