On Thursday April 20th at 6.30pm a tapestry created in response to one of Seamus Heaney’s best loved poems, ‘Lightenings viii’, was be unveiled at Poetry Ireland’s new headquarters at 11 Parnell Square. The tapestry – woven at the Atelier Pinton in Aubusson – is designed by renowned artist Peter Sis and is being donated by Marie Donnelly, Kathy Gilfillan and Bill Shipsey. An identical, larger version hangs in Dublin Airport’s Terminal 2.
The unveiling marked the establishment of the Seamus Heaney Estate and the generous donation by the Heaney family to Poetry Ireland of Seamus Heaney’s Working Poetry Library – the volumes by other poets that he read and consulted day to day. The Library will be located in a specially designed space within the Poetry Ireland Centre at 11 Parnell Square. Poetry Ireland and their partners, the Irish Heritage Trust, are jointly engaged in a fundraising campaign to raise the funds necessary to develop, restore and enhance this outstanding property. When complete, 11 Parnell Square will play a crucial role in the plans to establish a literary quarter in the north inner city.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Catherine Heaney said: ‘We are so delighted that this beautiful tapestry will hang in Poetry Ireland as a memorial to my father, and that his poetry library has found a future home in this magnificent building. It is the culmination of a long and close relationship, and one that his Estate is proud to carry into the future.’
Chairperson of Poetry Ireland Ciarán Benson commented, ‘We are immensely grateful for these remarkable gifts. They will be consulted, admired and treasured for decades to come in our new Poetry Ireland Centre’.
The unveiling included a performance by cellist Neil Martin and the poem on which the tapestry is based was read by a recent winning student from the Poetry Aloud competition.