Seamus Heaney centre plan approved

Plans for a new centre to commemorate Seamus Heaney have been given the go-ahead, the North’s Environment Minister has announced.

The 2,036 square metre facility will be built on the site of a former police station in the late poet’s native Bellaghy, Co Derry.

Mark H Durkan said he hoped the new centre, which will create five jobs, would be a fitting tribute.

“I would expect that people from all corners of the world will visit it,” said Mr Durkan.

“As we approach the first anniversary of Seamus’ passing, I hope that, through this centre, his spirit will continue to inspire everyone who come here to the heart of his home place.”

The 2,036 square metre new Seamus Heaney Interpretive Centre will include exhibition areas, library, arts studio, a cafe, amphitheatre and outdoor public space.

Heaney, who was awarded the 1995 Nobel prize-winner died last August aged 74.

Although he had settled with his family in Dublin, his last request was to have his remains returned to Bellaghy for burial.

The rural village in the heartland of Co Derry was a major influence on his writing and provided material for some of his best loved work.

In 2009 a bronze sculpture depicting one of his most famous poems, Digging, was unveiled on the edge of the village.

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