His Royal Highness reads Seamus Heaney’s poem 'The Shipping Forecast' to launch National Poetry Day

October 06, 2016

National Poetry Day will be launched with the premier of a new recording of Seamus Heaney’s poem 'The Shipping Forecast' read by The Prince of wales on BBC radio 4's Today programme.

The recording was made for the newly opened literary centre in Bellaghy, Northern Ireland dedicated to the poet and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney.

His Royal Highnesses’ voice will be heard by visitors to Seamus Heaney HomePlace, as they journey through the building’s exhibition which has been created to celebrate the life and literature of one of Ireland’s greatest writers.

The Prince of Wales is a Patron of the arts and a great admirer of the work of Seamus Heaney whom His Royal Highness met on several occasions.  Seamus Heaney was a regular teacher at the annual Summer School run by The Prince’s Teaching Institute’s (PTI) which was setup by His Royal Highness over 10 years ago. The Summer School provides unique residential courses for secondary school teachers to focus on improving their subject knowledge, and teaching expertise.  During the Summer Schools, Seamus Heaney inspired the participants by sharing his own and other poets' work, often quoting extensively from memory.    
The recording will be played in HomePlace among those of friends, family, neighbours, cultural and global leaders who have recited a favourite poem or recounted their memories and feelings about Seamus Heaney, while the poet’s own voice is also heard reading his own work.
HomePlace has been developed by Mid Ulster District Council and stands at the heart of the area where Seamus Heaney spent his formative years and which was a source of inspiration for his poetry across almost six decades.
Filled with personal stories, photographs, poetry, artefacts in an exhibition over two floors, HomePlace also boasts a 191-seater performance space ‘The Helicon’ which is a venue for artistic events, including music, song, drama, readings, talks and discussions.
 Chair of the Council, Councillor Trevor Wilson, said:
“To have a contribution from Prince Charles is testament to the esteem in which Seamus Heaney was held and the great influence of his work. This is a wonderful addition to our exhibition and when better to announce it than on National Poetry Day when we celebrate writing and our great writers”.

To listen to the recording click here.
For further information about the exhibition and the events programme at Seamus Heaney HomePlace, visit www.seamusheaneyhome.com or call 028 7938 7444.

Photo credit Alan Howard.