In the Footsteps of Seamus Heaney

This full day tour offers an intimate and emotional journey through the landscapes and places that inspired the Nobel Prize Winning Irish poet, Seamus Heaney. You will be guided through your experience by Fergal Kearney, who knew the poet personally and has many stories to tell of these inspiring moments.

Seamus heaney tour

fergal kearney
Fergal Kearney

This is a private experience by private luxury vehicle and will take you to many places referenced in Seamus’ poetry collections, most of which are known only to your guide. Those who have taken this journey with us have often been overwhelmed by the beauty and complexity of Seamus’ writing, read aloud to you by your guide in the very places that inspired them. You will also enjoy a visit to the Seamus Heaney Homeplace where you can immerse yourself in the life and work of the poet in his own words.

Fergal will take you off the well beaten path for an intimate and moving insight into the life and work of Seamus Heaney.

Walk through the fields of Tamlaghduff within sight of Seamus Heaney’s family home at ‘The Wood’, perhaps enjoying a chance meeting with one of his brothers; stroll through the ‘squeaking sedge’ on the Strand at Lough Beg, made famous in Seamus’ eulogy for his murdered cousin; gaze out over the vast expanse of Toner’s Bog, from his eponymous poem ‘Digging’, now returned to its natural state in the total stillness of Ballymacombs. Or simply breathe the Bellaghy air that Seamus himself breathed as you immerse yourself in the totality of his amazing sense of place.

seamus heaney homeplace
A Visit to Seamus Heaney HomePlace is Included

Whether you’re a Seamus Heaney novice or a scholar of his body of work, this tour will be intimate, moving and arresting in equal measure, delivered with the characteristic humour, knowledge and subtlety of a fellow Bellaghy native.

Fergal says, “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, I feel uniquely gifted to follow in the footsteps of the great man and to share his journey through my eyes. This is no stranger’s view of the poet in his place, but that of a generation that has been influenced by Seamus over the years and known him personally for decades.”

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2 thoughts on “In the Footsteps of Seamus Heaney

    1. Seamus Heaney was born and grew up in Bellaghy, my own home town and lived a similar life to my own on a small farm in rural South Derry, albeit a generation earlier. I met Seamus in person for the first time at the William Carleton Summer School in August 1994, where he was keynote speaker. Afterwards at the Valley Hotel in Fivemiletown, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, we got talking over a few drinks at the bar and he was delighted to meet a fellow Bellaghy man. A lifelong bond was formed and through the following years I was in regular contact with him and sought his advice on various initatives and cultural programmes that I worked on in South Derry over the years. I later managed Bellaghy Bawn where Seamus had gifted many original manuscripts and items and where he was a regular visitor. Many’s a light hearted chat we had, mostly on a Sunday afternoon when he would call after visiting his brothers in Bellaghy. I was working with Seamus on a collaborative programme as part of Derry/Londonderry’s UK City of Culture in 2013 when the shock news of his death came through. My tour programme through Heaney’s Home Ground had begun many years before his death and I only offer these tours on select occassions. They remain both inspirational and emotional in equal measure, both for me and my guests as they bring back fond memories of the great man and the power of his work.

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