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Poets, literary figures, extended family and friends joined the family of Seamus Heaney last night at a celebratory event at the new Seamus Heaney HomePlace.
The new arts and literary centre in Bellaghy was officially opened yesterday and was followed by an evening of tributes to the late Poet Laureate.
Marie Heaney, together with children, Michael, Christopher and Catherine, were joined by almost 200 guests at the event to mark the completion of the £4.25 million building which will celebrate the life and literature of the world renowned poet.
Many of those in attendance had travelled specially to be present with prominent politicians among the guests which also included acclaimed singer-songwriter, Paul Brady, who performed ‘Slieve Gallion Braes’ as part of the opening ceremony.
In her address Marie Heaney said, “It is a great honour for me to be here this evening to officially open this magnificent building, dedicated to Seamus’s memory, to his work and legacy. I have watched in amazement with the rest of my family as it has taken shape – from plans on a computer screen, to a construction site, and into the wonderful space we are standing in this evening.
“It is a place to be proud of, a place that acknowledges and celebrates history and the past while looking to the future. I hope that it will become a meeting place for neighbours, friends and visitors – a congenial space for the local community as well as a cultural destination for those from further afield.”
A passion for ‘real bread’ and home baking and a background in hotel and catering have been grist to the mill for Olive Nicholson and her guests for the best part of two decades.
Owner of the four star rated Ravenhill House in South Belfast along with her husband Roger, Olive has been serving her own wheaten bread since she started the business in 1997. Just three years after the ceasefire and with a tourism industry in its infancy, accommodation was then in short supply along the Ormeau Road. However, the couple’s dedication to quality, authenticity and ‘local’ was ingrained in those early days and remains core to their food offering today.
“I had worked in Philadelphia, London and Dublin and wanted to set up my own business when we returned to Belfast after Roger had been offered a job” explains Olive. “I bought the house to convert to a guest house and Roger later joined me in running the business. Here we are, 19 years later and there have been a lot of changes. However, we’ve always focussed on the quality of the food we offer to guests, and not just with our bread but also with our home made muesli, granola and fruit compotes.”
One of Ireland’s leading independent hospitality guides has awarded Armagh’s 4 Vicars restaurant with its Best Casual Dining award for 2017.
The Georgina Campbell Guides reviews the best places to eat, drink and stay across the island of Ireland.
The team at 4 Vicars is confidently led by husband and wife, Gareth and Kasia Reid. Gareth is head chef and Kasia manages the quaint and stylish restaurant. Situated on the hill of Armagh, the beautifully converted Georgian style listed building has three intimate dining rooms and an outdoor garden with views to Navan Fort.
The family of Seamus Heaney today performed the official opening of the new arts and literary centre dedicated to the life and literature of the late poet and Nobel Laureate.
The Heaney family were in his native Bellaghy to officially open the Seamus Heaney HomePlace at a special event in the presence of 200 guests. Today’s official ceremony will be followed by the admission of the first public visitors tomorrow (Friday 30 September) and a weekend of special events as part of the opening programme.
Developed by Mid Ulster District Council, the Seamus Heaney Man and Boy exhibition is arranged over two floors and filled with personal stories, artefacts, dozens of family photographs, video recordings from friends, neighbours, world leaders and cultural figures.
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