On Tuesday, November 27th, 2018, the Seamus Heaney Lecture Theatre at the DCU St. Patrick’s Campus was officially opened along with the unveiling of a new portrait drawing of Seamus Heaney by renowned Belfast artist, Colin Davidson.
In attendance were members of the Heaney family, Seamus' wife, Marie, and his children Catherine, Christopher and Michael.
An address was delivered by Fintan O’Toole and a number of Seamus Heaney’s poems were read by playwright Marina Carr, accompanied by harpist Sile Denvir, both DCU staff members.
Speaking on behalf of the Heaney family, Catherine Heaney said "Our family is so grateful that Dublin City University has chosen to honour my father in this way, with the naming of a lecture theatre, and an accompanying portrait by Colin Davidson. It is a fitting tribute to someone who was a committed teacher for over forty years, and it marks his long association with St Patrick's College and DCU."
President of DCU, Professor Brian MacCraith said “We are very pleased that the Heaney family has allowed us to name the most prominent lecture theatre on our St. Patrick’s Campus in honour of Seamus. It will serve as an inspiration to 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.
We are also delighted to unveil a magnificent portrait drawing of Seamus Heaney by the renowned artist Colin Davidson to mark the occasion and to adorn the lecture theatre. We wanted an appropriate image or symbol that would attract the passing student or visitor by its power and beauty. The result is a stunning image of Seamus that will have a permanent location at the entrance to the lecture theatre.”
Speaking about the portrait, Colin Davidson said “It is my hope that this drawing of Seamus traps the power of our encounter, and indeed the greatness of the man, within the fabric of the physical crayon marks. I congratulate all at Dublin City University on the opening of this new lecture theatre - may it be a place of true learning and enlightenment, in the spirit of the great Seamus Heaney.”
Seamus Heaney and DCU:
In 2000, Seamus Heaney agreed to lend his name to a public lecture series to be hosted by St. Patrick’s College, now incorporated into Dublin City University. The series has taken place every second year, each series exploring a different theme. The next series will take place at Dublin City University in 2019.
Seamus Heaney was conferred with an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy by DCU in May 2011.
Speaking at the conferring of his honorary doctorate in 2011, Seamus Heaney said:
“Over the years I have come to feel at home in St Patrick’s College, having been invited here on several occasions to read poems, hear lectures, and enjoy the honour of that lecture series in my name. The welcome from staff and students has always been a warm one and their commitment to their teacherly calling of the highest order.”
About Colin Davidson:
Colin Davidson is a contemporary artist, living and working near Belfast. Since 2010, his focus has been on painting grand scale portraits. Among the people who have sat for him include Brad Pitt, Liam Neeson, Brian Friel, Sir Kenneth Branagh and Dame Mary Peters. In December 2015, he was commissioned by TIME Magazine to paint the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, for the cover for its 'Person of the Year’ issue. He was also invited to paint an official portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II, which was unveiled in November 2016.
Photo: Left-right: Seamus Heaney's wife, Marie, and his children Christopher, Catherine and Mick, attending the official opening of the Seamus Heaney Lecture Theatre and unveiling of a new portrait drawing of Seamus Heaney by renowned Belfast artist, Colin Davidson, at DCU St. Patrick's Campus (Tuesday, November 28th, 2018).