Archbishop of Armagh pays tribute to Seamus Heaney

Heaney in 1970

The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland has said he is "very saddened" to hear of the death of poet Seamus Heaney at the age of 75.

Dr Richard Clarke described Heaney as a man "with a great generosity of spirit". 

Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, Heaney was credited as one of Ireland's best poets.

A stroke in later life inspired his 2010 poem Miracle and the poetry collection it was published as part of, The Human Chain.

A statement released by his family said he had died in hospital on Friday morning "after a short illness".

"The family has requested privacy at this time," the statement said.

Archbishop Clarke said in a statement: "I am very saddened to hear of the death of the poet Seamus Heaney, particularly having enjoyed hearing him give a wonderful poetry reading along with Michael Longley only two weeks ago.

"By any standards, he was one of the greatest poets writing in the English language of our time.

"A man with a great generosity of spirit, his poetry illuminated aspects of Irish life North and South which perhaps many of us would not have understood without his writing."

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