Published Friday, 20 September 2013
The death of the poet, playwright and Nobel Prize winner last month robbed the town's annual poetry festival of its star attraction.
Heaney was to give the opening address of the event at Laurel Villa.
"The title of his talk was 'Important Places: A Reading with Commentary', and it's obvious he was going to emphasise the importance of 'place', in this case south Derry, what I would call Heaney Country," explained organiser Eugene Kielt.
"So he touched people, so many people that maybe never bought a book of his."
Much of the three-day festival will become a tribute to Seamus Heaney, with famous poets from Britain and Ireland in attendance over the weekend.
A particularly poignant moment will be a reading given by one of Heaney's oldest friends, the Belfast poet Michael Longley.
There will also be a series of talks, performances, exhibitions and activities which aim to highlight the role poetry can play in peoples' everyday lives.
The festival will be closed on Sunday by the National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke.
© UTV News