Worth a trip: Seamus Heaney Home Place
Nobel Prize–winning poet Seamus Heaney's home town of Bellaghy, 54km northwest of Belfast, is the location of a wonderful museum and arts centre, Seamus Heaney Home Place. References in Heaney's poetry to the local landscape, everyday village life and the people who influenced him are highlighted in a creatively laid-out exhibition, which places his work in the context of his home and surroundings. Audio guides allow you to listen to poems read by Heaney himself as you walk around, bringing his words to life.
The centre also hosts regular poetry-reading events and writing workshops; see the website for details. It's easiest to drive here, but the 127 bus from Ballymena stops in Bellaghy (six daily; 50 minutes) and continues to Magherafelt (15 minutes).
The museum can be visited on a day trip from Derry or Belfast, but Heaney fans should consider spending the night at Laurel Villa in nearby Magherafelt. Owner Eugene Kielt offers recommended Seamus Heaney Tours of the surrounding area, and the characterful B&B contains his extensive collection of Heaney poetry and memorabilia.