Mourners at Seamus Heaney’s funeral were told his final words to his beloved wife were ‘don’t be afraid’, delivered in his beloved Latin.
Son Michael revealed the poet’s last words following his funeral at the Sacred Heart Church in the Dublin suburb of Donnybrook.
Hundreds of mourners gathered to pay their final respects to the Nobel prize winner before the long journey north to his final resting place in his native Derry.
At his graveside in Derry , Fr Andy Dolan, parish priest of local church St Mary’s, said: “Seamus Heaney chose to lay here. The name Seamus Heaney and this place will be forever intertwined.
"Today we proudly and warmly welcome him back, back home to Derry. We are privileged to be able to fulfil through this rite of burial Seamus’ deepest wish, that he be buried here, in the place that he never really left, among the people who influenced him so much.”
He was buried in a family plot beside his mother Margaret, his father Patrick and his brother Christopher, whose death as a 3-year old child deeply influenced his work.
The 74-year-old literary genius died unexpectedly in hospital on Friday after a short illness.
Mourners were led by his widow Marie and children Michael, Christopher and Catherine Ann.
The Irish Independent reports that son Michael thanked those who cared for his father and those who have offered support and praise since his death.
He said: “His last few words in a text message he wrote to my mother minutes before he passed away were in his beloved Latin and they read - ‘nolle timere’ (‘don’t be afraid’).”
Irish president Michael D Higgins, Prime Minister Enda Kenny and former president Mary McAleese and her husband Martin were amongst the star studded crowd.
U2 frontman Bono and his wife Ali Hewson along with his fellow band members The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen heard Paul Muldoon, a teacher, poet and friend of Heaney, gave the eulogy following the service.
Muldoon said: “We remember the beauty of Seamus Heaney as a bard and today in particular in his being.”
Former US president Bill Clinton has also paid tribute to Heaney and said: “He was our finest poet of the rhythms of ordinary lives and a powerful voice for peace.”
Chief celebrant of the Mass, Monsignor Brendan Devlin remarked that Heaney might have liked to have his funeral celebrated by someone with a Northern accent.
“He could speak to the King of Sweden, an Oxford don or a south Derry neighbour with the directness of a common and shared humanity,” he said.
The Mass was ended with a reading of one of Heaney’s poems, The Given Note, from his second published collection.
Here’s the Channel 4 footage from Seamus Heaney’s funeral:
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