1939 – Poet, Seamus Heaney, is born in Castledawn, Co Derry.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

“Even if the hopes you started out with are dashed, hope has to be maintained.” –Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney published his first poetry book in 1966, Death of a Naturalist, creating vivid portraits of rural life. Later work looked at his homeland’s civil war, and he won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature for his globally acclaimed oeuvre, with its focus on love, nature and memory. A professor and speaker, Heaney died on August 30, 2013.

Seamus Justin Heaney was the first of nine children in a Catholic family. He received a scholarship to attend the boarding school St. Columb’s College in Derry and went on to Queens University in Belfast, studying English and graduating in 1961.

Heaney worked as a schoolteacher for a time before becoming a college lecturer and eventually working as a freelance scribe by the early ’70s. In 1965, he married Marie Devlin, a fellow writer…

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