Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Seamus Heaney Center, Bellaghy, Northern Ireland

I grew up in Northern Ireland and now I'm giving all lovers of poetry, especially lovers of Seamus Heaney's poetry, a superb reason to visit the town of Bellaghy in County Derry, NI where he grew up if you're planning to visit Ireland. My connection to Bellaghy is that it's the town where I learned to ride a horse--unbeknownst to my father. As a 16-year-old high school student, I worked for Dad one summer when he had a contract to do road construction in Bellaghy and I used to sneak off and take lessons from a girl I'd befriended who practiced gymkhana at her home farm. All went well until Dad came back early from a meeting in Belfast (he'd warned me to show the men a good example by working hard) and caught them, including hsi foreman, watching me jumping on a gray mare very proudly. I got fired until Mum intervened but lost a day's wages as punishment. As an aside, my youngest brother was lucky enough to have been taught by the poet's wife while at primary school, though of course he was far too young to appreciate her connection to the poet. Behold the Seamus Heaney Centre

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