The Arts Council today honoured poet Seamus Heaney, joining with the Lord Mayor of Dublin and poet Paul Durcan to unveil a bust of the poet by sculptor Carolyn Mulholland in Sandymount Green.
Heaney lived in Sandymount for many years and had strong connections with the village before his death in 2013. The short ceremony, which also commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of publication of his seminal first collection, Death of a Naturalist, saw the bronze unveiled facing directly across the green to a similar bust of fellow poet and Nobel laureate William Butler Yeats.
Ardmhéara Bhaile Átha Cliath Críona Ní Dhálaigh said: “I am honoured to offer Seamus Heaney’s memory a resting place in this park and to give my fellow citizens the opportunity to view this work by Carolyn Mulholland. It is my wish, and that of Dublin City Council, that both Dubliners and visitors may take their ease and feel at home in the company of the immortal W.B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney. Tar anseo agus lig do scíth i gcomhluadar na fíli sárchumasach cosúil le W.B. Yeates agus Seamus Heaney.”
Speaking about the unveiling, the Heaney family said, “We are deeply honoured that this bust of Seamus will be on public display in Sandymount, the place where Seamus called home for many happy years.”
Sheila Pratschke, Chair of the Arts Council remarked: “Seamus Heaney was ever a friend to artists, to the galleries, academies and public art buildings of this city and this island. His sense of social duty was generous and exemplary, and the Arts Council benefited constantly from his wisdom, his friendship and support.”
She continued: “We are delighted that this elegant and sensitive piece of sculpture by Carolyn Mullholand will be on public display in Sandymount Green. It is more than fitting that Heaney be remembered in a place of public resort, he who did so much to build a ‘Republic of Conscience’, he who was conscientious in so many ways, so committed always to the idea of the civil and the civic.”
Poet and friend of Seamus Heaney, Paul Durcan said, “After the last time I met Seamus Heaney on Sandymount Strand I wrote to him a letter-poem entitled 'Sandymount Strand Keeping Going':
We knew where we had come from, the medieval kingdoms
Of the 1940s, the ballrooms where he obeyed his mother's pleas
‘Be sure and dance with the girls who are not asked.’ “
Also present at the gathering were many Heaney family members and friends, Arts community figures, public representatives and other well-wishers.
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