Gallery staff saddened by Heaney’s death

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 27/3/98: Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney returned to his home village of Bellaghy, Co. Derry today to launch the 'Poetry, People, Place' event at Bellaghy Bawn.'30/08/2013 Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday. He was a legendary Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature
PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 27/3/98: Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney returned to his home village of Bellaghy, Co. Derry today to launch the 'Poetry, People, Place' event at Bellaghy Bawn.'30/08/2013 Seamus Heaney passed away yesterday. He was a legendary Irish poet, playwright, translator, lecturer and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature

The staff at F.E. McWilliam Gallery & Studio have expressed their saddness at the recent death of renowned poet and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney.

Mr Heaney and his wife visited the gallery last year to the delight of the gallery. A spokesperson for the gallery said: “All at the gallery are deeply saddened by the news of the death of Seamus Heaney and send our deepest sympathy to his wife Marie and all of his family.

“We, at the Gallery, were privileged by a visit from Seamus and Marie in October last year. As with many others throughout Ireland and the world, we mourn his loss.”

Mr Heaney’s funeral took place in Dublin yesterday (Monday). Bono and U2, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and Irish President Michael D Higgins were among the mourners in the Church of the Sacred Heart, Donnybrook. He was later buried later in his native Bellaghy, in County Londonderry.

Heaney, acclaimed by many as the best Irish poet since Yeats, died on Friday aged 74. Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell and former Irish president Mary McAleese also attended the service.

The mourners were led by the poet’s widow, Marie, and their three children, Christopher, Michael and Catherine Ann. In an emotional tribute, his son Michael said the family had drawn strength from the many messages of support they had received in the days since his father’s death was announced.

“His generosity in spirit as well as obvious gifts as poet left everyone who met him feeling lucky to have known him,” he said.

Michael Heaney also revealed details of the poet’s final words to his wife of almost 50 years.

“In his last few words, in a text message he wrote to my mother minutes before he passed away, were in his beloved Latin, and they read: ‘Noli timere’; Don’t be afraid.”

Monsignor Brendan Devlin, principal celebrant, said the family were suffering an “immeasurable sense of loss”.

Over his long career he was awarded numerous prizes and received many honours for his work.