Seamus Heaney HomePlace marks 10 year anniversary of poet's death

8th August, 2023

To mark the 10 year anniversary of Seamus Heaney’s death in August 2013, the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy is hosting a special programme of events this summer, reflecting on the poet’s life and legacy.

Four poets stand in front of two large black and white portraits of Seamus Heaney, pictured as man and boy
Poets Dean Browne, Dawn Watson and Matthew Rice are pictured at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace with Damian Smyth, Joint Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Seamus Heaney was always a keen supporter and champion of new and emerging poets on Saturday 22nd July, Arts Council of Northern Ireland joint Head of Literature Damian Smyth welcomed three of the brightest new poetic voices based in Ireland and Northern Ireland to read from their work: Dean Browne, Matthew Rice and Dawn Watson.

Dean Browne is from Co. Tipperary and lives in Cork. He was a recipient of the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2021 and his pamphlet, Kitchens at Night, was a winner of the Poetry Business International Pamphlet Competition in 2022. His poems have appeared widely in journals such as Poetry Magazine, Poetry Ireland Review, Stinging Fly, and elsewhere.

Matthew Rice was born in Belfast. He was runner-up in the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing 2017 and selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series the same year. His debut collection, The Last Weather Observer (Summer Palace Press), was published in 2021 to critical acclaim and Highly Commended for the Forward Prize for the Best First Collection.

Dawn Watson is a writer from Belfast. Her debut poetry collection We Play Here is published by Granta Books in August 2023, and she is the author of pamphlet The Stack of Owls is Getting Higher (The Emma Press). Dawn’s work has appeared on BBC Radio 4 and in Granta magazine, The Manchester Review, and Blackbox Manifold. Dawn is a lecturer in creative writing at Queen’s University.

A special programme of events to commemorate Seamus Heaney will be held from Friday 25th- Sunday 27th August. Paul Muldoon, Ireland Chair of Poetry will open what promises to be an unforgettable weekend. On Saturday evening musician Colm Mac Con Iomaire will perform at The Helicon and across Saturday and Sunday afternoon, ten poets from across Ireland and the UK will read from their work and talk about the influence Heaney had on their work and poetry in general. The weekend will close with a screening of the acclaimed Arena documentary Seamus Heaney and the music of what happens, followed by a Q & A with the film’s producer Martin Rosenbaum and Director Adam Low.

Damian Smyth, Joint Head of Literature and Drama, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: 

“Seamus Heaney’s life and work continues to resonate across the world and its languages. It is wonderful that the HomePlace, built in his native village, can assemble a line-up of superb artists to mark the tenth anniversary of the great poet’s death. The weekend promises to be an outstanding and memorable one.”

Brian McCormick, Manager of the Seamus Heaney HomePlace commented: 

“SHHP is honoured to be hosting a weekend of events to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the death of Seamus Heaney. This important occasion will be marked by poets, musicians and an acclaimed director and producer from the work of television and film. Everyone at HomePlace is looking forward to the very special programme.”

For more information on events and tickets visit