There is a collection of sonnets set in the middle of Seamus Heaney’s 1979 book, Field Work. The 10 poems take a house in county Wicklow, Ireland, as their subject, the Heaney family domicile for four years.

I’ve been to Wicklow. A Priest named Gerry introduced me to Robert, a zealous Catholic convert my age and—like me—aspiring seminarian, and mere weeks into our friendship Robert proposed a weekend trip to Avoca, in Wicklow, to haunt the setting of the hit show “Ballykissangel.” We stayed in a bed and breakfast, drank at Fitzgerald’s, and, of course, attended a mass (everywhere we went together it was a mass) at St. Mary and St. Patrick’s parish.

Today, the passing observer would take us for a couple. But I spent the long Saturday afternoon of that weekend greeting the approach of dusk while finishing a Russel Banks novel as Robert snored through an interminable nap.

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