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UK & World

Poet Seamus Heaney’s last message not to be afraid

September 3 2013

Nobel Laureate and poet Seamus Heaney’s last words to his wife were “don’t be afraid”, one of his son’s revealed at his funeral. Family and friends joined contemporaries and dignitaries of the world-renowed writer and hundreds of mourners at a church in south Dublin to pay last respects to one of Ireland’s literary greats. The 74-year-old writer died unexpectedly in hospital on Friday after a short illness. Mourners at his funeral at the Sacred Heart Church in Donnybrook were led by his widow Marie and children Michael, Christopher and Catherine Ann. “His last few words in a text message he wrote to my mother minutes before he passed away were in his beloved Latin and they read ‘nolle timere’ (‘don’t be afraid’),” Michael said.

Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Obituaries

Tributes to poet Seamus Heaney who has died aged 74

August 30 2013

Nobel poet laureate Seamus Heaney has been remembered as one of Ireland's finest literary minds following his death after a short illness. The farmer's son died in hospital in Dublin aged 74. Friends, contemporaries, admirers and politicians revealed a humble, warm, funny and open man as tributes flowed in from around the world. Heaney is survived by his wife, Marie, and children, Christopher, Michael and Catherine Ann. Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it would take Heaney himself to describe the depth of loss Ireland would feel over his death. "He is mourned - and deeply - wherever poetry and the world of the spirit are cherished and celebrated," he said. The 1995 Nobel prize-winner was born in April 1939, the eldest of nine children, on a small farm called Mossbawn near Bellaghy in Co Derry, Northern Ireland, and his upbringing often played out in the poetry he wrote in later years. The citation for the award praised Heaney "for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past". His publisher Faber and Faber issued a statement on behalf of the family and went on to describe the poet as a world great and an inspiration for the company. "We cannot adequately express our profound sorrow at the loss of one of the world's greatest writers," a spokeswoman for Faber and Faber said. "His impact on literary culture is immeasurable. As his publisher we could not have been prouder to publish his poetry over nearly 50 years. He was nothing short of an inspiration to the company, and his friendship over many years is a great loss." Funeral arrangements are to be announced later. Heaney was educated at St Columb's College, Derry, a Catholic boarding school, and later at Queen's University Belfast, before making his home in Dublin, with periods of teaching in Oxford University and in the US, including at Harvard. Heaney was an honorary fellow at Trinity College Dublin and last year was bestowed with the Seamus Heaney Professorship in Irish Writing at the university, which he described as a great honour. A year earlier he donated his maNuscripts to the National Library of Ireland, a move which caused consternation in some academic circles In Belfast for overlooking his alma mater Queen's. In 1994, a year before he was elevated to the ranks of WB Yeats and Samuel Beckett with the Nobel award, Heaney was asked while teaching in Harvard if his poetry suffered as a result of academia. "For better or worse - I now feel for worse, earlier on I felt for better - I believed that poetry would come as a grace and would force itself through whenever it needed to come," he said. Poet Theo Dorgan said today that poetry flowed into Heaney and through him, rather than being created. Irish President Michael D Higgins said his contribution "to the republics of letters, conscience, and humanity was immense". "As tributes flow in from around the world, as people recall the extraordinary occasions of the readings and the lectures, we in Ireland will once again get a sense of the depth and range of the contribution of Seamus Heaney to our contemporary world, but what those of us who have had the privilege of his friendship and presence will miss is the extraordinary depth and warmth of his personality," he said. Mr Higgins, himself a published poet, described Heaney as warm, humourous, caring and courteous. "A courtesy that enabled him to carry with such wry Northern Irish dignity so many well-deserved honours from all over the world," he said. "Generations of Irish people will have been familiar with Seamus' poems. Scholars all over the world will have gained from the depth of the critical essays, and so many rights organisations will want to thank him for all the solidarity he gave to the struggles within the republic of conscience."

Dundee

Former Dundee postman dodges prison after stealing mail

February 2 2018

A pilfering postie who stole mail in an attempt to pay off his debts has narrowly avoided jail. Paul Heaney has been ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work after he admitted stealing gift cards and letters from Royal Mail’s Dundee West delivery office between 2014 and 2016. Sentencing him, Sheriff Hughes said he had come "so, so close" to a prison sentence. He added: "This is a matter of the utmost seriousness. "Very reluctantly I'm not going to jail you but you must be aware that you were so, so close to facing a custodial sentence." Heaney, who was sacked following an internal investigation by Royal Mail, said he had committed the thefts to help his family's financial situation. He pleaded guilty by letter at Dundee Sheriff Court. The 38-year-old admitted stealing a quantity of cards between August 1 2014 and March 31 2015, as well as 
intentionally delaying or opening 89 packets between August 15 and 28 in 2014. He also admitted stealing a quantity of gift cards between August 1 2014 and October 19 2016, in addition to three packets on October 19 2016. Bosses at the sorting office received an anonymous tip off about Heaney's behaviour in June 2016. Items described as “mis-sort” greeting cards were later found in his pouch. Fiscal depute Joanne Smith said: “An investigation manager arranged a mis-sort greetings card test. “Observations were carried out on the accused’s conduct. Extensive searches were carried out but no trace was found of the test cards. “The accused was approached upon his return to the office. He admitted to 
opening the mail and taking the money. “He said he had been going through financial problems and said after the death of his father, his mother had lost a substantial amount of money on bingo.” Heaney’s home address in Gillburn Road, Dundee, was searched and a number of items were recovered. He said he had stolen around £80 from the packets. The mail, recovered from Heaney’s shed, was forwarded on to its intended recipients along with apologies from Royal Mail. After Heaney was sacked, Royal Mail said it had a “zero tolerance” approach to dishonesty. Heaney was sentenced to 200 hours of community work and was given a restriction of liberty order for four months, meaning he has to stay at his home address between 7pm and 7am.

UK & World

I am not afraid: How Tessa Jowell’s powerful speech broke convention

May 13 2018

Dame Tessa Jowell was given a standing ovation after making an emotional plea for more cancer treatments to be made available through the NHS months before her death.The Labour peer, whose death was announced on Sunday, called for more opportunities for “adaptive trials” in which patients can undergo different treatments, and if one does not work they can immediately move on to the next.Baroness Jowell, whose voice cracked several times during her House of Lords speech in January, told fellow peers of her cancer diagnosis and subsequent battle to beat the disease.She said: “On May 24 last year, I was on my way to talk about new Sure Start projects in East London.“I got into a taxi but couldn’t speak, I had two powerful seizures. I was taken to hospital.“Two days later, I was told that I had a brain tumour, glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM. “A week later the tumour was removed by an outstanding surgeon at the National Hospital in Queen Square.”Baroness Jowell, who was one of the Labour Party’s best known faces during Tony Blair’s era, went on to say how she had taken solace from Irish poet Seamus Heaney.She said: “Seamus Heaney’s last words were do not be afraid. I am not afraid, but I am fearful that this new and important approach may be put into the ‘too difficult’ box.”She added: “All we now ask is that doctors and health systems learn to do the same. Learn from each other.“In the end, what gives a life meaning is not only how it is lived, but how it draws to a close.“I hope this debate will give hope to other cancer patients like me.“So that we can live well with cancer, not just be dying of it.”As Baroness Jowell concluded her speech peers, members of the public and Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who was also in the chamber, rose to applaud.The tribute was thought to be the first of its kind in the House of Lords.

Books

Diverse line-up for StAnza poetry festival

October 9 2010

Organisers of St Andrews' poetry festival have announced a diverse programme for next year's event. StAnza 2011 will feature Scotland's most eminent poet Douglas Dunn, who is tipped as a possible successor to Edwin Morgan as Scotland's Makar. Northern Ireland's acclaimed Ciaran Carson, who was shortlisted for the Forward Prize in 2003 and is director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at the Queen's University Belfast, will make an appearance. Children's author and Gruffalo creator Julia Donaldson will head the festival's children's programme. Others poets on the line-up are playwright and broadcaster Paul Farley, award-winning Selima Hill, Yang Lian, originally from Beijing, prolific editor and translator Fiona Sampson, Italian Antonella Anedda, Iraqi Adnan Al Sayegh, Belgian sound and visual poetry group Krikri and poets from the USA, Georgia and Australia. Also for Scotland will be John Burnside, Stewart Conn, Helena Nelson, Rab Wilson, Hugh MacMillan and Tom Pow. The festival will run from March 16 to 20 and take two themes Scotland's history and animals.

Dundee

Dundee postal worker caught stealing money and cards following ‘sting’

January 5 2018

A postie caught stealing money and cards from mail he had been entrusted to deliver blamed his mother's bingo habits for his crimes. Paul Heaney had worked for Royal Mail for 20 years as a delivery worker based in Dundee before an anonymous tip-off stopped him in his tracks. He pleaded guilty – via letter – to four charges of stealing items of mail over a two-year period at the city's sheriff court on Friday morning. His haul included money, gift cards, surcharge cards and postal packets. Depute fiscal Joanne Smith told the court Heaney was rumbled after staff at the Dundee west delivery office were alerted by a concerned and anonymous source. Heaney came clean during a subsequent investigation, after "dummy" envelopes planted in the delivery office were found open in his mail bag. Ms Smith said: "The accused started working with Royal Mail in July 1996 and was latterly employed as a post man in the city centre area. "In June 2016 officials obtained information regarding the accused's behaviour." Royal Mail managers set up a series of test packets, with gift cards placed inside them, and waited to see where they turned up. Ms Smith continued: "Observations were conducted on the accused and an extensive search was carried out throughout the delivery office. "No trace could be found of the test packets. "The accused was approached on his return to the delivery office and it was explained to him the nature of their inquiries. "He was cautioned by the investigators and it was noted that two of the test packets were in Heaney's delivery pouch in the open position." She said Heaney was interviewed and admitted opening and stealing the contents of the test packet, explaining that he had financial problems. "He told the investigating officials since the death of his father, his mother was losing money at the bingo and that he was in debt," she added. A search was conducted at Heaney's home and 89 undelivered parcels were discovered in his garden shed. He told investigators he had been stealing from the mail "sporadically" for a period of about two years, taking about "£80". Heaney, of Gilburn Road, admitted stealing a quantity of surcharge cards between August 1 2014 and March 31 2016. He also admitted intentionally delaying or opening 89 postal packets, contrary to the Postal Services Act, between August 15 2014 and August 28 2014 at Dundee west delivery office. Heaney pleaded guilty to stealing a quantity of gift cards between August 1 2014 and October 19 2016, as well as stealing three postal packets from Dundee west delivery office on October 19 2016. Sheriff Thomas Hughes deferred sentence until February 2, for background reports and for Heaney to attend court in person.

Peers rise to applaud Dame Tessa Jowell after emotional cancer speech

January 25 2018

Former Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa Jowell was given a standing ovation after making an emotional plea for more cancer treatments to be made available through the NHS.The Labour peer, who has brain cancer, called for more opportunities for “adaptive trials” in which patients can undergo different treatments, and if one does not work they can immediately move on to the next.Baroness Jowell, whose voice cracked several times during her House of Lords speech, told fellow peers of her cancer diagnosis and subsequent battle to beat the disease.She said: “On May 24 last year, I was on my way to talk about new Sure Start projects in East London.“I got into a taxi but couldn’t speak, I had two powerful seizures. I was taken to hospital.“Two days later, I was told that I had a brain tumour, glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM.“A week later the tumour was removed by an outstanding surgeon at the National Hospital in Queen Square.”Baroness Jowell told peers that GBM strikes less than 3,000 people in England every year and generally has a very poor prognosis.She added: “Less than 2% of cancer research funding in the UK is spent on brain tumours.“No vital new drugs have been developed in the last 50 years.”Baroness Jowell, who was one of the Labour Party’s best known faces during Tony Blair’s era, went on to say how she had taken solace from Irish poet Seamus Heaney.She said: “Seamus Heaney’s last words were do not be afraid. I am not afraid, but I am fearful that this new and important approach may be put into the ‘too difficult’ box.”She added: “All we now ask is that doctors and health systems learn to do the same. Learn from each other.“In the end, what gives a life meaning is not only how it is lived, but how it draws to a close.“I hope this debate will give hope to other cancer patients like me.“So that we can live well with cancer, not just be dying of it.”As Baroness Jowell concluded her speech peers, members of the public and Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who was also in the chamber, rose to applaud.The tribute is thought to be the first of its kind in the House of Lords.

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Fife

Former St Andrews University principal speaks of “puerile” behaviour by R&A members

June 3 2016

The first female vice-chancellor of St Andrews University has spoken of the childish behaviour of some members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club who mocked her over its all-male membership policy. Professor Louise Richardson told Kirsty Young, presenter of BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs that a number of individuals had been "waving their ties in this puerile way boys do sometimes". Professor Richardson was a guest on the popular weekly programme and spoke about her time in St Andrews from her arrival in 2009 until she left for Oxford in January. Ms Young pointed out that one of the perks of being vice-chancellor was an honorary membership of the R and A which was, until last year, a male only club. "Goodness me, to use use a good Scottish word, what a stooshie there was about that," she said. Asked how much the policy had bothered her personally, Prof Richardson replied: "It didn't bother me personally that I couldn't join these particular men and have lunch with them but it bothered me that women who wanted to be members of the oldest, most prestigious golf club in the world could not be." She added: "They have now voted to admit women so I see that as a result and I'm absolutely delighted." Prof Richardson's desire for gender equality began at a young age. Educated by nuns who taught her how to iron handkerchiefs and men's shirts, she said she had vowed then: "I am never going to marry anyone who expects me to iron his shirts." Professor Louise Richardson's song choices The songs chosen by Professor Louise Richardson were: St Andrews Girls by St Andrews a cappella group The Other Guys Brian Boru's March performed by James Galway Carolyn's Concerto performed by The Chieftans and the Belfast Harp Orchestra How Many Women from the musical Chess The theme music from Cinema Paradiso, composed by Ennio Morriconne The Green Green Grass of Home by Joan Baez Prelude from Bach's Cello Suite No.1 in G Major performed by Yo Yo Ma Bring Him Home from Les Miserables performed by Colm Wilkinson Her chosen book was a collection of Seamus Heaney's poems.

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