Our final poetry news round up of the weeks takes a look at the centre dedicated to the life and works of the poet Seamus Heaney. We also have an article about a creek which has been renamed in honour of a poet.
The “Jewel in our Crown” – HomePlace
Since it opened in September 2016, HomePlace the centre dedicated to the poet Seamus Heaney has attracted over 73,000 paying visitors.
Even though the centre costs around £500,000 per year to keep up and running the chair of the Mid Ulster District Council has reaffirmed the council’s commitment to the centre which is located in the village of Bellaghy, County Londonderry – the poet’s home village. In 2018/19 it is expected that the centre will generate around £251,800 in income, but the running cost will be £768,778. The balance is provided by the council. However, this is a price that they agreed on before the centre opened and they believe it is a reasonable price to pay to promote the arts.
The centre has on its books 20 members of staff, and despite the number of visitors it has attracted in the years – 2 and a half – since it has opened, it is subsidised heavily by the Council. It is however estimated that the has been a significant increase in the revenue brought into the area through overnight accommodation and through visitors to the area.
The council have come under fire over a planned trip that five of its members are due to make to Dallas shortly. It was believed that the purpose of the trip was to secure financing for HomePlace. However, members of the council were quick to quash these rumours, saying that it was merely a promotional exercise.
A New Identity for Pine Spring Creek
Pine Spring Creek, which is in the Town of Westport, has been renamed and will now be known as the Wheeler Wilcox Creek. The new name is in honour of the famed author and poet of the 19th century Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
The name change was approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names at their meeting on 14th February.
For a number of years, the creek did not have a name; it was simply referred to by a number. It was given the name Pine Creek by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) a couple of years ago, but they wondered if there was a more fitting name that might be chosen instead. The creek flows close to the property where the poet once lived, and after some consideration, it was felt that this would be a very appropriate choice of name.
Wilcox is the poet who coined the phrase “Laugh, and the world laughs with you” which formed part of the poem “The Way of the World” a part of her most well-known work which was published in 1883.
The Wilcox family lived in their home near to the creek for around 60 years, in 1921 the house which was at the time abandoned burned down.