Seamus Heaney drew on his background, his place of origin and its history throughout his career.

The outbreak of the troubles in Northern Ireland coincided with his early writing. A number of his poems addressed the political and social conflict in Northern Ireland, but he always steered clear of any simplistic analysis of the situation. Heaney referred to himself as part of the troubles and set out to comment on the deeply complex historical and cultural life of Northern Ireland. He was constantly asked to state and restate his own position in relation to its political situation. The award of the 1995 Nobel prize to Heaney came at a time of renewed hope in Northern Ireland due to the 1994 ceasefire.