31/08/2013

Seamus Heaney RIP

I met Seamus Heaney when he was an honorary graduate of the
 University of Dundee
I was really sorry to hear of  the death of the great Irish poet Seamus Heaney.  First and foremost this is a great loss to his family and friends.

I heard him give an amazing lecture in Dundee when he was receiving an honorary degree from the University of Dundee.  I was delighted to meet him just after the graduation ceremony.  He took a great interest in what I had been doing at the University of Dundee and the topic of my thesis on Irish immigration to Dundee.  It was great to get the chance to spend a few minutes talking to such a great man.  One of my prized possessions is the graduation programme which Seamus signed for me.  He was a humble man who wore his learning and success lightly but who clearly made a great contribution to twentieth and twenty-first century culture.

I have previously said that Dundee's close links with Ireland should be celebrated in our bid to take over the title of City of Culture from the City of Derry.  I had envisaged that one of the main ways this could have been done would have been to have Seamus Heaney  who was educated in Derry and was an honorary graduate of Dundee University come to Dundee, sadly this suggestion can no longer be made.

Seamus Heaney's poetry remains though and I hope that people will read it and be inspired by it and remember this great man, may he rest in peace.