Family 'moved' by Seamus Heaney stamp

Family 'moved' by Seamus Heaney stamp

The family of late poet Seamus Heaney have said they are moved by the issuing of a commemorative postage stamp marking a year since his death.

Irish postal service An Post has produced the commemorative 68c stamp, which features a black and white portrait photograph of the Nobel laureate from Co Londonderry.The picture was taken by renowned Irish photographer John Minihan, who has also captured the likes of Samuel Beckett, Andy Warhol and Lady Diana.A specially commissioned envelope also on sale is inscribed with an extract of Heaney's 1969 poem 'Bogland'.Both the stamps and envelopes can be viewed and purchased at all main post offices in the Republic of Ireland, at the GPO Stamp Shop in Dublin's O'Connell Street and online.Seamus' son Michael said his family was honoured by the gesture."We are immensely moved that An Post has chosen to mark Dad's memory with the issue of this stamp," he said."The year since he died has been a sad time for our family, but this is not only a wonderful testament to his life and work, but also a reminder of the generosity and support people have shown since Dad's passing."We would like to express our deepest thanks and appreciation to everyone involved in bestowing this rare honour on the husband, father, grandfather and poet we miss so much."Seamus Heaney died on 30 August last year aged 74.Leading politicians and figures from the arts world turned out to his funeral in Dublin, where he had been living with his family. He was laid to rest in his native Bellaghy.Heaney was born near Castledawson, Co Londonderry on 13 April 1939.His first book Eleven Poems was published in 1965 for the Queen's University Festival, with his first major collection Death of a Naturalist following a year later.Throughout his career as a writer, he has achieved critical acclaim and numerous prestigious awards - not least the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. The award praised Heaney "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past".In April a tapestry in honour of Heaney, titled Out of the Marvellous, was unveiled at Dublin Airport's terminal two, which will be seen by an estimated 10 million passengers each year.SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has welcomed the latest tribute to the poet."The issuing of this special stamp and envelope by An Post is a tremendous tribute to Seamus and a mark of what he means to people throughout Ireland," he said."I am sure Marie and his family will be very touched by it - just as they have been touched over the last year by all of the expressions of sadness and condolences from people throughout the world."It is a poignant way to remember such a brilliant poet and a good Derry man."


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