Seamus Heaney figures in Vote Yes campaign

Seamus Heaney has lent his electronic presence to the Ireland for Europe campaign, an assembly of notables who aren’t leaving it to the politicians this time. The move to give the campaign a wider platform seems to have paid off. Tim Garton Ash the foreign affairs academic and commentator picked up on the launch event in Dublin at the weekend for a Guardian comment piece. A video reading of Heaney reading out his poem Beacons at Bealtime (a May festival) was shown, to lift the sights in the debate. It was written for the Phoenix Park ceremony to commemorate the enlarged EU of 27 during the Irish Presidency in 2004.

Beacons at Bealtaine

Uisce: water. And fionn: the water’s clear.
But dip and find this Gaelic water Greek:
A phoenix flames upon fionn uisce here….

We can see how “Phoenix” as in Park refers to clear water, not the mythical bird. For Heaney, the two meanings link up to express the common European heritage and make “new meanings..

“Move lips, move minds and make new meanings flare.”

Garton Ash displays modern British sensitivity towards the Irish campaign.

Irish voters have a very understandable allergy to being bullied by the rest of Europe into giving the “right” answer. So we, their fellow Europeans, have to be careful what we say and how we say it – perhaps especially if we speak with a British accent.

I wonder how the knock-on effect of a making a UK referendum more likely will figure in the Irish debate?

  • Ray

    Where will Ireland hold the Third Referendum on the Nice Treaty?
    The second referendum on the Nice Treaty was illegal since the Irish government illegally and secretly spent money to influence the outline.
    Perhaps we should go the best 3 out 5 referendums.
    When the will the electorate is dismissed when the people vote “no,” you do not have a democracy, you have a farce.
    Seamus Heaney is being totally anti-democratic.
    He shames himself for going along with government farces where only the Irish goverment wins to maintain the Dublin political corruption and graft and extravagent lifestyles of the politicans and the people always lose by paying for that corruption and decadence.

  • “Bealtaine” not “Bealtime” 🙂

  • Big Maggie

    Beacons at Bealtime!

    Heaney is working on a follow-up:

    Mekons at Mealtime.

  • Brian Walker

    Sorry, corrected, monoglot fingers can’t copy across properly..