A special edition of Imeall, which will be broadcast on Christmas Day at 8.45pm on TG4, celebrates Seamus Heaney – the man and the poet; the father and the sibling; the friend and the confidant.
Combining humorous stories with more emotive reflections we get to know a man who always seemed familiar to us.
Beginning in rural Derry we meet his brother Hugh amd get a sense of his childhood on the family farm which was a contsant source of inspiration for him.
In his alma mater Anahorish National School we see where he first put ink to paper while schoolchildren read from his poems and tell us about their hero. Visiting Barney Devlin whom we meet in the poem ‘The Forge’we hear annecdotes that vividly describe a man who never forgot where he came from.
Mick Heaney tells us about the family trip to Stockholm in 1995 when he accompanied his parents to the Nobel Prize ceremony.
Not your typical family holiday, it remains one of his proudest and fondest memories.
Poet Theo Dorgan recalls how thrilled Irish poets were when their friend was awarded the highest honour in the literary world.
In Belfast we hear some of his former students share how he encouraged their own efforts as young poets and generously helped them form their own voice. Former student and close friend Paul Muldoon tells how he fell under Heaney’s spell at a young age and how
Heaney became a global star as a poet and would help his fellow poets whenever he could.
Michael Longley, one of Heaney’s closest friends, reflects on how as young men they caroused in Belfast together and recently spoke about what doting grandfathers they had both become.
With readings from the man himself dating back to the 1960s we hear the new voice on the scene that would over the course of the following 45 years explain aspects of our country, our identity, our past and our present, and help us understand ourselves even more.
Whether dealing with the sudden death of a sibling to the mystery of falling in love, in his poems we connect with the most basic of human emotions.
That is why everyone knows at least one line from a Seamus Heaney poem.