Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy to open
A new arts and literary centre is set to open in the Northern Ireland village of Bellaghy, at the heart of where Seamus Heaney was born, raised, and where he drew much of the inspiration for his poetry. Bellaghy is also his final resting place.
Purpose-built on the site of a former RUC police station, HomePlace was designed by W&M Given Architects, with the exhibition designed by Tandem Design. The 2,000m2 design is intended to combine modern architecture with a nod to the site’s historical past, and includes an elevated viewing platform with views across the surrounding countryside – allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the landscape which Seamus Heaney wrote about so often.
The core feature is a permanent exhibition about the life and literature of Seamus Heaney, arranged over two floors and filled with personal stories and artefacts, dozens of family photographs, video recordings from friends, neighbours, world leaders, cultural figures, and the voice of the poet himself reading his own words. The exhibition is fully interactive using the latest touch screen, video and audio technology and includes a recreation of the poet’s Dublin study.
In addition to the exhibition, the centre boasts a 189-seat performing arts space, education and learning spaces, a café, shop and an annex for community use. There is also a library containing a substantial selection of books from Seamus Heaney’s home, including biographies, works of fiction and the work of other poets. Translations of Heaney’s work in over 20 languages also feature. All have been donated by the Heaney family.
The building opens 30th September 2016.