Lamenting the great bard

John McNamee at his shop in Portlaoise where an art installation of Seamus Heaney takes pride of place.
Portlaoise book seller and publisher John McNamee has lamented the passing of the Seamus Heaney recalling his meetings with the great bard

Portlaoise book seller and publisher John McNamee has lamented the passing of the Seamus Heaney recalling his meetings with the great bard

Mr McNamee met the Nobel prizewinning poet on a number of times the first of which was in a packed hall in the old Killeshin hotel in 1987, an event organised then by the Portlaoise Writers group.

“On that evening I had brought with me a copy of his “Selected Poems”, and followed his words on the pages as he read his work. Afterwards he talked to everyone in the crowd and spent longer than would have been expected with the writers group.

In 2011 Mr McNamee was fortunate to be there when the poet was honoured at the Bord Gais Irish Book Awards.

“On the few occasions I met him I was always struck by his humility and generosity and his ability to connect with everyone he met. He always wore the mantle of greatness and fame very lightly and was as accessible as his poetry. We will all miss him,” he said.