Heaney's funeral mass planned for Dublin; Clinton joins tributes

The funeral mass for Seamus Heaney will take place on Monday at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook, south Dublin followed by burial in his birthplace of Bellaghy, Co Derry.

Heaney's funeral mass planned for Dublin; Clinton joins tributes

The funeral mass for Seamus Heaney will take place on Monday at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook, south Dublin followed by burial in his birthplace of Bellaghy, Co Derry.

The farmer’s son died in hospital in Dublin aged 74.

Heaney is survived by his wife, Marie, and children, Christopher, Michael and Catherine Ann.

Nobel poet laureate Seamus Heaney has been remembered as one of Ireland’s finest literary minds following his death after a short illness.

Friends, contemporaries, admirers and politicians revealed a humble, warm, funny and open man as tributes flowed in from around the world.

Former US president Bill Clinton praised Seamus Heaney as "our finest poet of the rhythms of ordinary lives'' and a "powerful voice for peace'' in a tribute tonight.

Mr Clinton and his wife Hillary said they were saddened to learn of the death of their “friend”.

“Both his stunning work and his life were a gift to the world. His mind, heart, and his uniquely Irish gift for language made him our finest poet of the rhythms of ordinary lives and a powerful voice for peace. And he was a good and true friend,” the Clintons said.

“We loved him and we will miss him. More than a brilliant artist, Seamus was, from the first day we met him, a joy to be with and a warm and caring friend - in short, a true son of Northern Ireland.

“His wonderful work, like that of his fellow Irish Nobel Prize winners Shaw, Yeats, and Beckett, will be a lasting gift for all the world.”

The 1995 Nobel prize-winner was born in April 1939, the eldest of nine children, on a small farm called Mossbawn near Bellaghy in Co Derry, Northern Ireland, and his upbringing often played out in the poetry he wrote in later years.

The citation for the award praised Heaney “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”.

Hollywood actor Liam Neeson said Ireland had lost a part of its soul with the death.

“With Seamus Heaney’s passing, Ireland, and Northern Ireland especially, has lost a part of its artistic soul,” said the Co Antrim-born star.

“He crafted, through his poetry, who we are as a species and the living soil that we toiled in. By doing so, he defined our place in the universe. May he rest in peace,” he told the BBC.

EU Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso described Heaney as one of the great European poets of our lifetime.

“I had the privilege to meet him on a number of occasions and hear his work first-hand,” he said.

“The strength, beauty and character of his words will endure for generations to come and were rightly recognised with the Nobel Prize for Literature. I would like to extend, on behalf of the European Commission, my condolences to his family.”

Provost of Dublin’s Trinity College Dr Patrick Prendergast said he is deeply saddened by the poet’s death.

“Seamus Heaney was a literary and cultural ambassador for Ireland, defining our artistic sensibility through the depth and scope of his poetry,” he said.

“He was an iconic figure in world literature and brought to his work a uniquely Irish perspective situated in a global literary and intellectual context. He will take his place among other great Irish writers of his generation and before, and inspire the minds of those who want to capture with words the ordinary in extraordinary ways.”

Books of condolence are also to be opened at Belfast City Hall on Monday and the Guildhall in Derry city.

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