Seamus Heaney is to be buried beside the little brother who inspired one of his most famous poems.
The poem “Mid Term Break” tells the story of Seamus’s return home from boarding school for the wake of his brother Christopher.
The toddler was just three and a half years old when he died in 1952 and Seamus Heaney is to be buried next to him after his sudden death.
Fr Andy Dolan, priest at the Heaney’s parish of Bellaghy in County Derry, is to welcome the body home on Monday.
He told the Sunday Independent that the village had greeted news of the death of its most famous son with ‘shock, tears and grief’.
Fr Dolan said: “A foot for every year,” as he quoted from Heaney’s poem ‘Mid-Term Break’, regarded as one of his finest pieces of work.
The parish priest, a personal friend of the poet, added: “They will be bringing Seamus home on Monday.
“The world has lost a huge talent and we have lost a wonderful friend.”
Pointing to a corner of the graveyard at St Mary’s Parish Church, Fr Dolan said: “That’s where he wanted to be buried, in the same graveyard as Christopher.”
Local blacksmith Barney Devlin, now 95, also paid tribute to Heaney who used him as inspiration for the poem ‘The Forge’, penned in 1969.
Devlin said: “I was shocked to hear of Seamus’s death. He was only a young man – compared to me anyway. It’s certainly a big loss for the area.”
Teachers and students at Anahorish Primary School where Heaney began his life in education will also remember Heaney on Monday.
Principal Danny Quinn admitted: “I was in a complete state of shock when I heard the news. He never forgot his roots and people here are all the sadder for his passing.”