Paul Simon Praises Irish Poet, Unveils Amnesty International Tapestry at Dublin Airport (Video)
Paul Simon praised the late Irish writer Seamus Heaney as a "poet for all the world" during the unveiling of an Amnesty International-commissioned Aubusson tapestry at Dublin Airport Wednesday, designed by Peter Sis.
U2's Bono and The Edge, as well as Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey, issued statements marking the occasion.
Friends and admirers from the worlds of music and the arts joined members of the late Irish poet's family to introduce the tapestry, "Out of the Marvellous," designed by world-acclaimed N.Y.-based Czech artist Sis and constructed over the past five months by master weavers in Atelier Pinton in Aubusson, France. The work will be hung from the ceiling of Terminal 2 on the departures floor.
The tapestry project was conceived and commissioned by Shipsey on behalf of Amnesty International. The late Heaney was a great Amnesty supporter for over 30 years and dedicated a poem to Amnesty titled "From the Republic of Conscience," which inspired the Ambassador of Conscience Award -- the global organization's most prestigious international award.
Among the donors were Simon, Bono, The Edge, former U2 manager Paul McGuinness and Kathy Gilfillan, as well as the Dublin Airport Authority.
Shipsey dubbed Seamus "the unofficial poet laureate of the Amnesty International global movement. He was a great friend and supporter and showed us by his life and with his writing what art in the light of conscience was all about."
Unveiling the tapestry, Simon teased that the airport should be renamed Seamus Heaney Airport. "How wonderful that the memory of Seamus Heaney be celebrated with a work of art. It speaks not only to the great affection with which his country holds him, but also to a love of poetry that is a sacred part of the Irish soul. Travelers would do well to carry Seamus Heaney's words with them as they journey around the globe."
U2's Bono said: "With my life, I pass through a lot of airports. Seamus' poems are my companion on every journey … they come with me wherever I go. Now, when any of us travel -- be it leaving our home or our visitors returning to their own homes -- Seamus will be there to bid us all farewell."
The Edge added: "Seamus Heaney was an inspiration to our band as well as to politicians, artists, dreamers and all in between, from every corner of the world. I love the idea that the words of this great poet -- and Sis' beautiful tapestry -- will send travelers from Ireland and beyond safely on their way 'out of the marvellous.' "
Padraig O Riordain, chairman of Dublin Airport Authority, said: "We are delighted to have the opportunity to showcase this wonderful tapestry to millions of travelers at Dublin Airport, in honor of a man who was uniquely of Ireland but who wove our stories so vividly for the world."
Heaney died in August 2013 at age 74.