Seamus Heaney Home

Meet our Education Officer

Seamus Heaney HomePlace Education Officer, Brid McGuinness.

Tell us about yourself

I am a qualified primary school teacher. I studied Theology and Modern History at Queen’s Belfast before completing my PGCE in St Mary’s University, Twickenham. I later took a career break from teaching to study a Masters in Irish-American Studies at New York University, and returned to classroom teaching before taking this new role.

What is your favourite Seamus Heaney poem?

It is hard to choose just one; I think my favourite changes with how I’m feeling and what’s going on in the world. That said I love ‘Station Island’, the ‘Clearances’ sonnets and the well-known excerpt from ‘The Cure at Troy’.

What are you most excited about in your new role at Seamus Heaney HomePlace?

I’m excited to develop our programmes for third level students, from both local universities and colleges and visiting international student groups.

What is your main focus in your new position at HomePlace?

I want to get as many people of all ages engaged with our Education Programme as possible. Alongside our school programme, I hope to welcome visitors to mid-week, weekend and evening workshops.

How do you think the primary programmes benefit students?

Our primary programmes are all cross-curricular and so touch on a range of subjects such as The World Around Us, the Arts and Personal Development and Mutual Understanding – pupils don’t just receive a lesson solely focused on literary. We use Seamus Heaney’s work as a springboard for our workshops to include an engaging interactive activity, whether it is creating and flying a kite, or learning the process involved in churning their very own butter. It’s also great to see how engaged pupils are when visiting our exhibition.

How do you think the post primary programmes benefit students?

Our post-primary programme is multi-pronged- we have a workshop suitable for KS3 students, again interactive and cross-curricular, and we also hold a series of lectures for GCSE and A Level classes. These lectures allow for more in-depth study of poetry and are held in our Helicon theatre. ‘A’ Level lectures are  delivered by professors from Queen’s and Ulster University and include a break-out seminar with post-graduate students to further explore themes, thereby offering pupils  a first experience of university-style education.