The Blackbird of Belfast Lough

Int én bec
ro léc feit
do rinn guip

fo-ceird faíd
ós Loch Laíg,
lon do chraíb
9th Century Irish

This sculpture depicting a girl and blackbird reading a book is outside the library on the Ormeau Road, Belfast.

It was inspired by Seamus Heaney’s poem “The Blackbird of Belfast Lough” which, I believe, has been based on the ninth century poem above, translated by Seamus.

The small bird
yellow neb,
a note-spurt.

Blackbird over
Lagan water.
Clumps of yellow
Seamus Heaney

Another version of the Blackbird of Belfast Lough

the little bird
that whistled shrill
from the nib of
its yellow bill:

a note let go
o’er Belfast Lough –
a blackbird from
a yellow whin
Ciaran Carson

Unfortunately I was unable to find any information about the sculptor of this piece.

11 thoughts on “The Blackbird of Belfast Lough

  1. gigi-hawaii

    It’s a good thing you mentioned the black bird, because I would have missed it. I’m glad I clicked on the picture to get a larger view. Lovely sculpture and poem!

  2. Grannymar Post author

    With the tree and the buildings all around it was difficult to get a clear picture. I was also trying to keep up with a Toyboy! I wonder if Paul remembers that day?

  3. Grannymar Post author

    Tilly – I know a few wonderful native Irish speakers and love to listen to them even though I struggle with the language myself.

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  5. Mr Mark Doherty

    This is a lovely sculpture, best photographed early on a spring morning when the Apple blossom is in bloom. I was unaware that it related to the ancient Gaelic poem. My favourite translation is ‘What little throat has framed that note, and cast it across the bay?


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