DCU honours Seamus Heaney with new theatre

Mary Ryan

The late Seamus Heaney received an honourary doctorate in DCU while he was alive. In his death, DCU honour his memory with the opening of a new theatre. Credit: DCU

A lecture theatre named after renowned poet Seamus Heaney was officially unveiled in St Patrick’s Campus on Tuesday, November 27th.

At a formal ceremony attended by Heaney’s wife Marie and children Catherine, Christopher and Michael, DCU President Professor Brian McCraith opened the Seamus Heaney Lecture Theatre in the Cregan Library.

A portrait of the late poet by, drawn by Belfast artist Colin Davidson, was also unveiled at the ceremony and will hang outside the lecture theatre.

Heaney’s daughter, Catherine, told the assembled audience that her family was “so grateful” that DCU had chosen to “honour” her father by naming the lecture theatre after him.

“It is a fitting tribute to someone who was a committed teacher for over 40 years, and it marks his long association with St Patrick’s College and DCU,” she said.

Professor McCraith, speaking at the unveiling ceremony, said that they had not considered naming the “most prominent” lecture theatre on the campus after anyone but the former Nobel Laureate, who fulfilled the theatres “driving principles” of “excellence, inspiration, and connection.”

“I am very grateful to the Heaney family for allowing us name the lecture theatre in honour of Seamus,” he said.

“It will serve as an inspiration to many, many thousands of students and remind them not only of the beauty and power of his art but also of his affinity to teaching and the institution in which they study.”

McCraith said the college made the decision to hang a portrait of the beloved poet outside the lecture theatre, in order to “attract the passing student or visitor by its power and beauty.”

Heaney, who died in 2013, had given permission for his name to be used in a lecture series established by the college in 2000 and held every two years with a different theme.

He also received a honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from DCU in 2011, where he commented that “over the years” he had “come to feel at home in St Patrick’s College.”

Mary Ryan

Image Credit: DCU