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Poet Seamus loved his time in Tiptree
A TEACHER has revealed how Irish poet Seamus Heaney and his future wife enjoyed strawberry picking in Tiptree as their romance blossomed.
Brenda Johnson-Dennehy, of Shrub End Road, Colchester, struck up a student friendship with Marie Heaney who later married the world famous wordsmith.
Heaney died at end of last month, aged 74 and his funeral in Dublin on Monday was attended by rockstars, writers and politicians.
Mrs Johnson-Dennehy met Marie, who later married Seamus, at University College Dublin in 1974.
At the time, Seamus was lecturing at a teacher training college in the city and the girls lived in a rented cottage in County Wicklow.
Mrs Johnson-Dennehy said: “Neither Marie or I had a driving licence at the time and Seamus would collect both of us after lectures in an old and battered Volkswagen Beetle.
“From my memory of him he was a very down to earth, unpretentious man with great generosity of spirit and humility.
“He was a warm person with a good sense of humour as well as being a brilliant wordsmith.”
After she left Dublin, Mrs Johnson-Dennehy lost touch with Marie and Seamus.
She said: “It was not until August 2009 whilst listening to the radio in Ireland, I heard Marie Heaney being interviewed. I immediately thought how nice it would be to rekindle our friendship and dropped her a note via the RTE radio station, which they kindly forwarded onto her.
“Within days, I received a long ‘newsy’ letter from Marie thanking me for getting in touch, together with a signed copy of her latest book entitled ‘Heart Mysteries’ published by Townhouse Publishing.”
In her letter, Mrs Heaney told how she and Seamus spent many happy hours picking strawberries as students at Tiptree.
Mrs Johnson-Dennehy said: “To quote exactly from Marie’s letter: ‘I picked strawberries in Tiptree near Colchester at a student camp in 1963 - I had just met Seamus and he came to Tiptree to see me that summer - we both have happy memories of the place."
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