‘We may still have the verse but a lovely man has left us’
Hundreds sign book of condolences for Heaney in Dublin
Members of the public sign book of condolences for Seamus Heaney at Dublin’s Mansion House. Photograph: Collins
Some penned heartfelt tributes, others chose lines from their favourite poems, while many simply wrote “thank you”.
Hundreds turned up at Dublin’s Mansion House today to sign the book of condolence for poet Seamus Heaney, who died on Friday following a short illness.
It was an outpouring of national grief, seen only on rare occasions, for a man admired as much for his creative genius as for his warm, generous spirit.
Perhaps the mood was best summed up by Gerry O’Hara, from Ashbourne, who said, “we may still have the verse but a lovely man has left us.”
Mary MacDonald from Templeogue described Heaney as “someone who we all really identified with. Despite being a Nobel laureate, he was one of us”.
The book of condolence was placed in between a picture of the poet and a framed copy of his poem, Mid Term Break.
It was simple, unembellished just the like the man himself.
The first name in the book was that of Mayor Oisin Quinn, who wrote, “his legacy will sustain us”.
Hugh Mulrooney from Lucan, a former colleague of Heaney’s when he taught at Carysfort College in Dublin, said: “Apart from his international standing as a poet and a writer, he was a lovable man. You couldn’t be in his company without feeling entirely at home.”
Laurence Bond from Raheny said: “I just found him a great example of decency and wisdom”.
Peter and Barbara McDonnell from Drumcondra described the poet’s passing as a “tremendous loss” for the country.
Meave Flynn from Terenure said she had seen him, in passing, in a hotel in Sligo when she was 10-years-old and that he had given her “the biggest smile ever”. It was only later that she was informed by her father who the nice grey-haired man was.
“After that, I was introduced to some of his poetry and he always stuck in my head. He struck me as a warm soul as well as an amazing writer.”
Books of condolence for Heaney were also opened in Derry, Belfast, Galway and Sligo.