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Seamus Heaney (pronounced /ˈʃeɪməs ˈhiːni/) (born 13 April 1939 ) is an Irish poet, writer and lecturer who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. He currently lives in Dublin.

Seamus Heaney was born on April 13, 1939 into a family of nine children at the family farmhouse called Mossbawn, between Castledawson and Toomebridge in Northern Ireland. In 1953, his family moved to Bellaghy, a few miles away, which is now the family home. His father, Patrick Heaney, owned and worked a small farm of fifty acres in County Londonderry, but his real commitment was to cattle-dealing, to which he was introduced by the uncles who had cared for him after the early death of his own parents. Seamus' mother came from the McCann family, whose uncles and relations were employed in the local linen mill and whose aunt had worked as a maid to the mill owners' family. The poet has commented on the fact that his parentage thus contains both the Ireland of the cattle-herding Gaelic past and the Ulster of the Industrial Revolution; he considers this to have been a significant tension in his background.

Heaney was educated initially at Anahorish Primary School in Toome, County Antrim. When he was twelve-years-old, he won a scholarship to St. Columb's College, a Catholic boarding school situated in the city of Londonderry. At St. Columb's, he was taught Latin and Irish, and these languages, together with the Anglo-Saxon which he would study while a student of Queen's University, Belfast, were determining factors in many of the developments and retrenchments which have marked his progress as a poet.

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