In his interviews with Denis O’Driscoll that make up ‘Stepping Stones’ Heaney reveals his fascination, as he grew up, with Lough Neagh and his experiences of the eel trade (pp.93-4). The title of this 6-poem sequence refers to the familiar local name for the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative with which his future wife’s grandfather and father were connected. Heaney takes us into the fairy-tale period of courtship (win the hand of the princess). i Getting his feet under the table (being invited into a girl-friend’s family home for the first time) was seen as a significant stepping-stone. In fairy-tales the male aspirant, a standard figure, had to jump through hoops (tasks the youngest son had to perform) to prove he was worthy […]