Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again
Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again is the National Library of Ireland exhibition about the life and work of the poet Seamus Heaney, housed in the new Cultural and Heritage Centre at the Bank of Ireland, College Green. It is the first major exploration of the poet’s work since his passing in 2013 and the first time the NLI has held an exhibition in a space outside the Library. The exhibition’s core idea is one Heaney prized—that the transformative power of language can help us “listen now again” to our world and our surroundings.
RAA designed the exhibition around an evolving thematic progression that leads from the ordinary origins of Heaney’s birth through to his success, skill, and dedication to the transformative power of poetry. Driving the progression from one theme to the next is the idea of transformation—from earth to air, dark to light, beginnings to completion, and the ordinary to the extraordinary.
A recurrent motif in Heaney’s poetry—the four elements—form RAA’s guiding design principle “From Earth to Air.” The four elemental themes of earth, fire, water and air each convey a period in Heaney’s life, and inform the visitor experience: Excavations looks at Heaney’s early life and poetry; Creativity explores his influences and process of writing; Conscience looks at Heaney’s struggles to write about violence in Northern Ireland and his engagement with global politics and justice; Marvels explores his later poetry, moving towards a sense of uplift.
The exhibition draws together photographs, readings, video footage, original artworks, interactive displays and personal artifacts—including Heaney’s own writing desk—to create a multi-sensory, immersive experience.
Size 500 square metres
AwardsMuseums + Heritage Awards: Shortlisted, The International Project of the Year