* Richard Tillinghast *
I’ve always felt that Seamus Heaney would have preferred not to be the poet of the Troubles, Irishman for the World. Like his friends Robert Lowell and Derek Walcott, he relished friendship, among people with whom he was able, as Lowell wrote in a completely different context, “to joke cruelly, seriously, and be himself.” For all his benignity, for all his capacity to be “the smiling public man,” in private he could be beautifully acerbic. But most of all, he had a huge gift for pleasure. One of my favorites of his in this vein is “Oysters,” which takes place in Moran’s on the Weir in County Galway, that lovely thatched cottage of a restaurant in Kilcolgan. I’d like to remember him there, in the second snug on the right, drinking a creamy dark pint and eating Galway Bay oysters.