Longford writer Belinda McKeon was among the many stars of the arts world to pay tribute to her friend Seamus Heaney who died on Friday.
In a piece for The Paris Review Daily (www.parisreview.org), Ms McKeon recalls how, after taking over Poetry Now, the Dun Laoghaire Poetry Festival, she was appoached by a third party who told her that Seamus Heaney would be delighted to help in any way he could.
She writes: “Over the years that I ran the Dublin festival, Seamus was always there; attending every reading, himself giving wondrous readings or introductions to other poets, giving glowing encouragement to the younger ones.”
She continues: “He was loved. Beloved. Whether he was met with as a name on a page, or as a voice from a podium, or as a cherished friend or fellow artist, Seamus Heaney moved into the lives of those who encountered him—those countless lives—and he made a difference that will matter forevermore. The difference, for many, was poetry itself.”
Speaking to the Leader this week, Longford County Librarian Mary Carleton Reynolds recalled a visit to Longford by Heaney in 2002 to launch Vona Groake’s new edition of Oliver Goldsmith’s The Deserted Village.
“ He sat and chatted for ages, he was a lovely, lovely man,” she said, concluding “he could chat with kings or with the ordinary people.”