Seamus Heaney Walking Tour of Bellaghy
Welcome to the definitive Seamus Heaney Walking Tour of Bellaghy, his home town and final resting place.
Your guide for this walk is Fergal Kearney.
Having known and worked with Seamus Heaney over many years and having grown up in the same fields and lanes and knowing the same people in his native Bellaghy, Fergal is uniquely placed to follow in the footsteps of the great man and to share the poet’s home place through his own eyes. This is no stranger’s view of the poet in his place, but that of a man who has been powerfully influenced by Seamus Heaney and known him personally over many years.
Walking Tour available Saturday and Sunday.
Walking Tour of Bellaghy + admission to Seamus Heaney HomePlace available at extra cost on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Visit the very place that inspired the Nobel Poet, Seamus Heaney, and walk the streets that he walked as a boy and that so influenced his literature. Get to know significant landmarks in Seamus’ life and work, including:
- Bellaghy Bawn
- The Turf Man Sculpture – Seamus’ final contribution to his native village
- Castle Street – where he recalls his father herding cattle to the market
- The Women’s Sculpture – Local women were inspired by Seamus’ work to create this artwork
- St Mary’s Graveyard – The great poet’s final resting place
- Our tour starts at the Turf Man Sculpture at Bellaghy Bawn where you will hear the enchanting tale of how this bend in the road changed Seamus Heaney’s life forever.
- Next will be to the Wolfe Tone’s Gaelic Athletic Association Club where you get to understand the powerful influence of Gaelic games on the life of the community and how the local GAA celebrated Seamus Heaney’s winning of the Nobel Prize for literature.
- A short walk will take us back to Castle Street where you will learn of the long history of this roadway that dates from 1612 and one of the most tumultuous times in Irish history. You will also hear from Seamus Heaney himself through the poetry where he recalls the cattle market here.
- Our next stop will be at the sculpture in William Street, the outcome of a Bellaghy Women’s Group project to celebrate the working life of women in the area over the years. You’ll also hear the frightful tale of the strange goings-on in the old shirt factory across the way!
- We will make our way up the ‘stair head’ – one of Bellaghy’s oldest features – on our way down William Street towards St Mary’s Church and graveyard, where Seamus Heaney lies at rest. On the way you’ll hear about some of the characters from Bellaghy’s history and the old rectory, sadly now lying empty on the edge of the village.
- On arrival at St Mary’s, you will hear the history of this 19th century Roman Catholic Church and how it has played a pivotal role in the long and sometimes troubled history of Bellaghy. You can sign the visitor’s book in Seamus Heaney’s memory here, before making your way to the poet’s final resting place ‘in the elbow to the stone wall and the oak tree’.
- After walking back up through Bellaghy, you will hear the history of St Taoide’s Church of Ireland, the Manor House and Police Station
- Finish your tour in style at the purpose-built Seamus Heaney HomePlace to complete the life story of the great poet (if this option is chosen)