Seamus Heaney: The Hedge School of Glanmore 18th April to 30th August

"No bit of the natural world is more valuable or more vulnerable than the tree bit" - Seamus Heaney speaking at the launch of the Michael Warren sculpture Antaeus, in 1998 as part of the Sculpture in Woodland project, located in the Coillte forest, Devil's Glen, Co Wicklow.
Irish Farmers Journal 7th September 2013
Ashford Community & Heritage Centre

Seamus Heaney: The Hedge School of Glanmore.   Exhibition & Programme of Events.

Consisting of a mix of original manuscripts, articles, and personal photographs, kindly lent by the Heaney family , this exhibition charts the late poet’s close association with Glanmore near Ashford as a retreat, residence and place of inspiration. Visitors may also hear the poet read from his own work at specially designed listening posts.

As part of the exhibition, there are  a series of scheduled activities taking place over the Summer, all are welcome to attend. This initiative is supported by the Heritage Office of Wicklow County Council and The Heritage Council as an action of the County Wicklow Heritage Plan.The exhibition and all activities are FREE unless otherwise stated. Any  donations received go towards the running of the centre.


22nd April: Professor Kevin Whelan, Seamus Heaney- The Life and The Work.

27th May: Professor Nicholas Grene, John Synge- Playwright of Glanmore.

24th June: Donal Magner, Seamus Heaney’s Approach to Trees and Woodlands.  This illustrated talk by long time forestry expert and journalist Donal Magner will discuss the legacy of trees and woodlands as themes in the work of Heaney and other artists.

26th August: Patricia Butler , Wicklow Through the Artists Eye  An illustrated  talk relating to areas surrounding Ashford  which influenced the poet, together with a brief history of several  local  historic  demesnes and gardens (Killruddery, Kilmacurragh, Powerscourt, Mt. Usher).


The public can join guided walks in the Devil’s Glen Woodland owned by Coillte (and home to the Heaney Walk). Taking approximately two hours you are advised to wear walking shoes and appropriate clothing for weather conditions. The walks will take place every Sunday at 2.30pm leaving from the main car park in the Devils Glen from 7th June to 30th August.


Saturday 6th June: Alan Nolan, Graphic Novel illustrator shall use Heaneys themes of animals, birds and trees to create artwork with kids. Session 1@ 11 am for 5-10 year olds and Session 2 @12.30 for 11 years +. Fee of €3 per child.

Sunday 23rd August: Calligraphy Script Workshops inspired by Heaney’s Early Irish Translations for kids and adults. Session 1@ 12.00 for children 8 years + and Session 2@ 2.00pm for adults. FREE HERITAGE WEEK EVENTS

For further information see  or


Seamus Heaney guarded the privacy of the place he credited with inspiring his writing- Glanmore, County Wicklow. He called it his “hedge school” and for forty years the local community left him to his own devices.

Now the first exhibition to be held in Ireland since the poet’s untimely death in 2013 will be officially opened by poet Theo Dorgan on Friday 17th April in that community.

Housed in the new Ashford Community and Heritage Centre, the exhibition will open to the public from Saturday 18th April and will run each Tuesday to Saturday from 11.00 am to 4pm until the end of August.

Seamus Heaney’s relationship with Wicklow is well documented. The exhibition will reveal his unique association with Glanmore as a home and workplace, a retreat and a place of inspiration. It will focus on Glanmore in his life and in his work.

Seamus Heaney moved with his wife and young family to a rented cottage in Glanmore Co. Wicklow in 1972. His wife Marie taught at the local national school in Ashford. He worked as a poet, freelance writer and broadcaster. He resumed his teaching career at Carysfort College, Dublin from 1975-1981. In 1976 the family moved to Dublin, which became their permanent home. In 1988 the opportunity arose to purchase the cottage in Glanmore and he took it. It was used as a place to write during the week and as a family retreat at weekends. It is here that he wrote the famous Glanmore Sonnets, here too, he penned his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

In 2007 he donated the typescripts of the poem, ‘Forecast’, from ‘Glanmore Sonnets’, to the Ashford Development Association to help fund-raise for the planned community and heritage centre. The typescripts were sold at a subsequent auction and copies are shown in the exhibition. .


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