So. Marie Heaney, Seamus Heaney’s wife, has spearheaded the construction of a new outdoor experience which allows visitors to listen to Seamus Heaney reading his poetry in the landscapes that moved him most.
“Open Ground,” part of the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy, is a series of five locations which held special significance for Heaney; in each location, interpretation panels provide context for visitors, and listening posts let visitors hear the poems inspired by each place. The Strand at Lough Beg, a place of “special memories” for Heaney, has been opened to visitors for the very first time specially for this project.
Chris Heaney, Seamus Heaney’s son, said—as reported by news outlet Derry Now—“The names of the locations that make up this particular open ground—Bellaghy, Magherafelt, Toome, Moyola, Lough Beg—are familiar to people from this locale, but they have also become familiar to readers of my father’s poetry throughout the world . . . there is something special and genuinely powerful hearing the poems read in their own ‘home places.’”