Airport artwork honour for Seamus Heaney

Published Wednesday, 23 April 2014
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American singer Paul Simon was at Dublin Airport on Wednesday to unveil a tapestry in honour of the late poet Seamus Heaney.

Airport artwork honour for Seamus Heaney
Paul Simon with Catherine (left) and Marie Heaney (right). (© PA)

The 16m sq work, titled Out of the Marvellous, was commissioned by Amnesty International and part-funded by Simon as well as U2 frontman Bono and guitarist The Edge among others.

Singer-songwriter Simon, who was a friend of Heaney, also headlined a commemorative concert as part of a day of celebrations in tribute to Heaney's life.

He said: "It's always a good day when you can give a gift and today I think is particularly lovely because of the magnitude of the gift and the recipients who are all the people of the world really, or at least that portion that passes through Dublin airport.

"Seamus' poetry, although it springs from the Irish soil, has a beauty and a wisdom that nourishes anyone who reads it and in all the languages that it's printed."

Seamus Heaney died in hospital in Dublin last August after a short illness, aged 74.

His funeral was held in Donnybrook, south Dublin, but he was buried near his childhood home in Bellaghy, Co Londonderry.

From publishing his first book of poetry in 1966, he achieved critical acclaim and numerous prestigious awards throughout his career, including the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995.

The poet's widow Marie and daughter Catherine were present to see the wall hanging being installed.

The tapestry work in terminal two will be seen by an estimated 10 million passengers each year as they pass through the airport.

It was designed by acclaimed Czech artist Peter Sis and woven over the past five months by master weavers in Ateliers Pinton in Aubusson, France.

The idea was conceived by Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey on behalf of Amnesty International as Heaney had been a great supporter of the human rights organisation for more than 30 years and dedicated a poem to it titled From The Republic of Conscience.

© UTV News
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