Seamus Heaney is one of the world's best-known poets. His work also includes literary criticism and translation, and he held prestigious teaching positions in the UK and the USA throughout his lifetime. His poetry is uniquely popular, creating in the words of the Nobel Academy "works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past".
Heaney appeared regularly on radio and television to talk about himself and his work and to read his poetry. He first appeared on RTÉ on 'The Late Late Show' in the 1960s when he read 'Mid-Term Break', a recording of which no longer exists. In the following years, Heaney presented a number of book and poetry programmes for the national broadcaster and was interviewed many times. The archive material presented in this online exhibition draws on these recordings to take a look at Seamus Heaney in his own words, from his childhood in 1940s Derry through the different stages in a very full life.
Heaney's death in 2013 was mourned throughout Ireland. The final section of the exhibition looks at what Heaney meant to the Irish people as well as to the literary community.
The accompanying image shows Seamus Heaney in 2008. The photographer was Mark Stedman. Image reproduced with kind permission of Photocall.
Seamus Heaney recalls his earliest childhood memories and a young boy's fascination with the place names on the radio dial.
Heaney describes the geographical boundaries of his home place and talks about his parents.
Heaney talks about his mother and her generation of religious faith.
Fairy tales, new copy books and learning to write are all stong memories for Heaney from his early school days.
As a child, Heaney read adventure stories and comics but was taught to write in a formal, conventional style.
Heaney describes what it was like to grow up in a mixed community.
Heaney recalls his days at St Columb's College in Derry.
Heaney reminisces about going to Belfast to study at Queen's University.
On leaving university, Heaney got to know Irish literature and other writers.
Heaney recalls literary life in Belfast and the publication of his first book.
Heaney describes the circumstances that led him to leave Belfast for Wicklow
More than 20 years later, Heaney looks back on his decision to leave Belfast and recalls the political conditions of the time.
Heaney talks about his year teaching in Berkeley, California in 1970.
Heaney shares his first impressions of Harvard University.
A Harvard student and Heaney himself discuss his creative writing workshops.
Heaney explains how the bog is part of the environment he was born into.
Heaney explains his fascination with bogs.
Heaney recalls exactly when the phrase 'no prairies' came to him.
Eavan Boland suggests that Heaney is in danger of artistic repetition in the bog poems.
Heaney reflects on the continuing significance of the bogs in Irish society.
Heaney shares an early memory of visiting the bog with his great-uncle.
Heaney explains how he has worked out the conflict between art and life.
Heaney talks about the purpose of poetry and art in our society.
Heaney discusses reading to an audience.
Heaney talks about finding his voice as a poet.
Heaney talks about the relationship between the written and spoken word.
Heaney talks about how poetry can move beyond a personal response to having a broader effect.
Heaney reflects on how most people's introduction to poetry is in the classroom.
Heaney shares a glossary of north-east Antrim words from a poetry collection by John Hewitt.
For the second time in the series, Heaney discusses reading poems aloud and the issue of poets reading their own work.
Heaney talks about Shakespeare's play 'Macbeth' on RTÉ's school programme.
Heaney is asked if he feels conscripted to writing about Northern Ireland.
Heaney argues that when dealing with the situation in Northern Ireland, "people set terms that are too simple".
Heaney reads a poem about the violent death of his second cousin.
Heaney answers an accusation that he has side-stepped issues of the troubles in Northern Ireland
Unable to locate Heaney, 'Morning Ireland' speak to Harvard president Neil Rudenstine about the poet's Nobel win.
Heaney's children and others in Dublin talk about the poet's win.
Heaney's family, friends and neighbours react to the news that he has won the Nobel prize
Heaney is interviewed in Greece, where he was unaware of all the excitement.
An introduction to Seamus Heaney given by fellow-poet Dennis O'Driscoll in 2004.
Danny Quinn describes a late-night visit to Heaney's grave.
Croke Park applauds Heaney at the All-Ireland football semi-final.
Literary critic Harold Bloom on Heaney's place in the pantheon of poets.
Hundreds sign books of condolences while fellow-poets pay tribute to Heaney.
Heaney's funeral mass is held in Dublin followed by burial in his native Derry.
Mary Robinson pays tribute to Seamus Heaney following the announcement of his death.
Heaney celebrates his 70th birthday.
Heaney donates his literary archive to the National Library of Ireland.
On the publication of 'Human Chain', Heaney talks about his 2006 stroke.
Heaney receives the David Cohen Prize for Literature.
Seamus Heaney and Dennis O'Driscoll give a public interview on the publication of 'Stepping Stones'.
Heaney talks about the poem 'Anything Can Happen', which was widely read following the destruction of the Twin Towers.
Heaney talks to John Kelly about linking memories of the 1940s to the present .
Heaney talks about 'District and Circle'.
Heaney is presented with the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Seamus and Marie Heaney tell Gay Byrne how they heard the news.
President Mary Robinson welcomes Heaney to Áras an Uachtaráin.
Heaney steps off the plane to be greeted by a crowd including the Taoiseach and Swedish ambassador.