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RTÉ announces new and archive material to honour 10th Anniversary of Seamus Heaney’s death

Poet seamus heaney

RTÉ announces selection of new and archive radio, television and online material honoring the 10th Anniversary of the death of Irish Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney

From the late-1960s until his death in 2013, Seamus Heaney regularly contributed to RTÉ. Marking his tenth anniversary, RTÉ presents a selection of new and archive radio content, as well as television and online programmes.

RTÉ Radio 1

Arena (Wednesday 30th August, 7pm) presents a show dedicated to the life and legacy of Seamus Heaney.

Presenter Kay Sheehy is joined by friends, peers, and colleagues of Heaney, including fellow writers Paula Meehan and Blake Morrison, composer and musician Neil Martin, and leading academics Professors Chris Morash and Geraldine Higgins and Dr Rosie Lavan.

Arena will also feature selected interviews with the poet from RTÉ Archives, in addition to readings of his poems from the RTÉ Lannan Seamus Heaney Collected Poems CD boxset, made in 2009 to mark his 70th birthday.

Sunday Miscellany (3rd September 9.10am) will broadcast new short writing specially gathered from contributors including Marie Heaney, Gerry Dawe, Mícheál McCann, Grace Wells, Denise Blake, as well as Seamus Heaney himself from the programme archive.

RTÉ lyric fm

Niall Carroll's Classical Daytime (Monday 4th to Friday 8th September, and Monday 11th to Friday 15th September 2023, 12.30 daily) will feature a daily selected Heaney poem with an archive recording of the poet reading it.

The poems include Mid-Term Break and Digging and range in theme from family and childhood, music and landscape, to history, human rights, and the violent years of Northern Ireland.

Introducing poems are Heaney’s lifelong friend Michael Longley, journalist and presenter Olivia O'Leary, Cailín Ciúin actor Andrew Bennett, 2022 Leaving Certificate student Luke Dolan, winner of the annual Poetry Aloud student competition, Nicholas Allen, Director of the Willson Center and the Baldwin Professor in Humanities at the University of Georgia in the United States, activist and artist Orla Tinsley, poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin, former Wexford hurler and facilitator Derek Lyng, Irish-Syrian journalist and activist Razan Ibraheem and painter Colin Davidson who made a portrait of Seamus Heaney not long before the poet’s death. and RTÉ Player

On, audiences can enjoy10 Selected Archive Broadcasts, in which Seamus Heaney is either the person being interviewed or whose work is its focus.

The selection begins with an in-depth conversation between the poet and presenter Mike Murphy in 2000 for Reading the Future. Also in the selection are an edition of Sunday Miscellany saluting the poet’s 70th birthday in 2009, and the two-part series called Professor Heaney, made after his death and first broadcast in 2014. Here the focus is on Heaney the working man, the teacher at two of the world’s most prestigious universities: Harvard and Oxford.

On RTÉ Player, the 2023 television documentary Untameable journeys into Seamus Heaney’s bog poems and Ireland’s wild bog landscape. It navigates his 'bog poems' in tandem with exploring the dilemmas in Ireland's contested boglands, amidst the climate crisis. Written by Colm Tóibín, narrated by Ciarán Hinds and with readings of Heaney’s poems by Michelle Fairley, Untameableis directed by Alex Verner.See: The power of the bog - Heaney, Toibin & Hinds are Untameable (

RTÉ Concert Orchestra

John Kelly introduces Neil Martin's Sweeney live from the Kilkenny Arts Festival 2023. Seamus Heaney performed at the first Kilkenny Arts Festival in 1974.

This year, to mark the 10th anniversary of his death, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra presented Sweeney, a song cycle based on Heaney's Sweeney Astray. Heaney's poem is a version of Buile Shuibhne, a 7th-century Irish saga about the clash between the natural and man-made world, and the role of race, religion and family, that still speaks to us today.

Conducted by David Brophy, with vocals from Iarla Ó Lionáird and narration by Ciarán Hinds, Sweeney brings Heaney's words to life in a memorable tribute.


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