Tandem Design

Seamus Heaney | Man & Boy

Visitor Experience

Seamus Heaney  |  Man & Boy


"This HomePlace is a perfect reflection of all Heaney was in life."

Michael D Higgins
President of Ireland


Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) is one of Ireland’s cultural giants, a poet of international standing and a much loved personality.

Tandem were commissioned by the Mid-Ulster District Council to develop a visionary interpretive experience based on Heaney's life and work, in the place where he grew up and from which he drew so much inspiration.

The aim was to provide a fitting tribute to one of the area’s greatest sons, which could be used to reflect and inspire creativity in all its forms across the generations and,  geographically, both a local and a global audience. Our ‘Man & Boy’ exhibition is the focal point of the larger centre HomePlace.

Interpretation and delivery

Working with members of the Heaney family and a small panel of Heaney experts, Tandem developed an engaging, interactive and multi-sensory exhibition with broad appeal. There is something here for everyone, from the school child encountering poetry for the first time, to a Heaney expert with extensive specialist knowledge.

We planned a thematic journey for visitors through different phases of the poet’s life and work, from his family and experiences growing up, to his global impact and the immense achievement of winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The exhibition was enhanced by a carefully curated selection of artefacts and historic photographs, complimented and enhanced by input from his family, friends and the public figures inspired by him.

‘Man & Boy’  features opportunities for aural, visual, physical and social interaction and opens up the subject of poetry for all. 

Key features include:

  • Sensitive display of artefacts belonging to the Heaney family and the Heaney archive. 
  • Atmospheric AV projections seamlessly blending still and moving image and audioscapes.
  • Provision of an audio tour to listen to the poet reading his own poetry.
  • Audio and video recordings from a range of people including school pupils, family members, cultural figures and global leaders.
  • A reinterpretation of Seamus Heaney’s work space which showcases the reaction to his Nobel Prize win.
  • Illustrations to reflect Heaney’s poetic imagery, and new artwork by a leading contemporary artist.

Seamus Heaney Man & Boy includes creative areas featuring hands-on activities for both young and older visitors: dress-up, ‘thinking caps’, jigsaws and tile puzzles, kite building and word play games.

AHI Awards 2017
Man & Boy Exhibition
Seamus Heaney HomePlace
Winner in Best Visitor & Interpretation Centre
NI Travel & Tourism
Awards 2017

Man & Boy Exhibition
Seamus Heaney HomePlace
Winner of Best NI
Visitor Attraction

"I expected it to be special. But I didn't expect it to be so deeply moving."

Catherine Mack
Travel Writer


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