At 5.00pm, Niall Carroll of lyric fm's Classic Drive hands over to John Kelly, from The Baroque Chapel of Dublin's Royal Hospital Kilmainham, for the premiere of the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet's performance of three new pieces by Rachel Holstead, Kevin O'Connell and Ian Wilson, commissioned by RTÉ Performing Groups as musical responses to Seamus Heaney's work. Seamus Heaney himself takes part in the broadcast concert, reading the poems which inspired the music.
And just after six o'clock, in a live Arts Show Special on RTÉ Radio 1, presenter Seán Rocks and reporter Kay Sheehy talk to some of the invited guests (including RTÉ Radio and Television audience members), as well as to the poet himself. The high point of the programme is a speech by Seamus Heaney to mark the occasion and brought live to radio listeners in Ireland and online throughout the world. And from Tuesday 14th April, you can read LOOK AND LISTEN? Seamus Heaney's birthday speech here on the RTÉ Heaney At 70 website, as well as watch the RTÉ News reports of the occasion.
The birthday celebration also marks the launch of the 15-CD box-set Seamus Heaney: Collected Poems, produced by RTÉ Radio with the support of The Lannan Foundation, and of the new RTÉ Television documentary Seamus Heaney: Out of the Marvellous, an intimate and all-embracing portrait of the poet and the man.
And the day of Seamus Heaney's birthday sees the opening of the Irish Museum of Modern Art's Artists/Heaney/Books: An Exhibition. Throughout his career Heaney has developed friendships and collaborated on imagery with a variety of artists, including Barrie Cooke, Felim Egan, Hughie O'Donoghue and many others. The exhibition, running at IMMA until 14th June 2009, features an extensive display of the poet's book collaborations, as well as selected artworks from IMMA's Collection by the artists in question, with loans from the Ulster Museum and other sources. In Heaney's honour, Barrie Cooke has worked with Stoney Road Press to produce a new IMMA limited edition print, with passages in the poet's own hand, included in the exhibition.