Tony Brady tells us about Fermanagh Writers contribution to the Heaney tribute at the William Carleton Summer School:
Tuesday 5th August 2014, William Carleton Summer School, Public Open Session, to receive Personal Appreciations of Seamus Heaney, Corick House Hotel, Augher, Tyrone.
Fermanagh Writers were asked to participate at the planning stage in January. The organisers were aware of our proposed booklet and invited readings from it. In the event, it was not ready but I had a contingency specimen. By the day, our small team of planned readers was reduced to just Teresa Kane and me. I was not prepared for what became an (initially) quite nerve rendering time…
We were due to read in the session running from 4pm to 5pm. I got there at 2.00pm having arranged to link up with Teresa at 3.45pm. However, a serious hitch in the techno side of the presenter due on at 3.00pm meant the sessions were switched. The first 20 minutes passed as the well known quartet of poets/writers on the panel gave their memorial impressions. When the public contributions began, I was pitched up on stage to perform first off, without Teresa who of course being en route, was unaware of the programme change.
I laid down a marker for Teresa – telling the audience about her – while hoping the session would not be over by the time she arrived: for it started 15 minutes late. About 50 people looked up at me, slightly puzzled, as they were there principally to hear a presentation from a distinguished architect about renovating classical buildings in Ireland. I read The Forward, JDK’s poem – Looking Upstream – and Seamus Heaney’s poem – From The Republic of Conscience.
With about 15 minutes to go Teresa arrived (on her scheduled time) and without waiting for the Chair of the panel, I introduced her from the floor and to my relief, he invited her up to the mike and she read her Tribute superbly: best of the lot as it turned out. The audience were very warm and appreciative.
A bonus was that Teresa brought her mother along, so we went for coffee in most splendid surroundings. There was a wedding on, and as I stood at the bar to make our order, I commented to the groom that he has a lovely bride and conveyed my best wishes. He was pleased and said to me: “She’ll do rightly!”
Later, we went out onto the terrace and one of the organisers took pictures of Teresa, her mother and me. Behind us and out of sight, four foot high letters spelling out L O V E were framed by beautiful shrubbery and admirable view.
All was well and ended well.