Mrs L Montgomery B.A., P.G.C.E.
W J Jennings B.A., P.G.C.E.
Miss FD Symth M.A., P.G.C.E
Mrs CEA Day M.A., B.A., P.G.C.E., Dip Mus
The following examinations are offered:
•English Literature to ‘A’ Level CCEA)
•English Literature at G.C.S.E. Level (CCEA)
•English Language at G.C.S.E. Level (CCEA)
•English at KS3 Level (CCEA)
Visit to Bellaghy Bawn
I must confess that despite having taught the poetry of Seamus Heaney for almost three decades I was somewhat bewildered when Mrs Montgomery suggested a trip to Bellaghy Bawn. Why would Form Four Literature want to go there? It wasn’t until she explained that this was an educational centre in a bawn or plantation house dating from 1622 and ‘just down the road’ from the Heaney home farm Mossbawn that enlightenment dawned. Next question was almost predictable – who’s going to drive? As was the answer – me!
And so we set off on a sunny Tuesday 24 June in the school minibus – sixteen teenagers in high spirits, one very hesitant driver and our ‘guide’, Mrs Montgomery. The journey to the Bawn proved uneventful and we arrived as scheduled to a warm welcome and a genuinely interesting lecture on Seamus Heaney. Then we toured the Bawn itself and marvelled at the Heaney memorabilia it contained – his first schoolbag, his favourite duffle coat (which I was ‘persuaded’ to model) and a library containing a remarkable collection of his broadcasts, films and manuscript drafts of his work, published and unpublished.
Lunch was al fresco and a variety of delicacies emerged as we enjoyed the sunshine in the Bawn garden before boarding our reliable minibus driven by a slightly less hesitant teacher! On our way home Mrs Montgomery suggested a detour which would take us past the forge immortalised in Heaney’s sonnet in the collection ‘Door into the Dark’ where he describes it as,
“Outside, old axles and iron hoops rusting;
Inside, the hammered anvil’s short-pitched ring,
The unpredictable fantail of sparks
Or hiss when a new shoe toughens in water.”
Pulling up on the roadside beside the forge we photographed the exterior and were just about to leave when the blacksmith, Barney Devlin, came across from his house opposite, opened the forge for us and gave us a tour of the inside as well as the benefit of his wit and wisdom. He still works the forge and his hospitality set the seal on a really memorable day out. Suffice it to say that Bellaghy Bawn and the forge will be revisited on an annual basis for many years to come.