In 1972, Jean McConville, a mother of ten from Northern Ireland, was taken from her home by the IRA, a paramilitary group that suspected McConville was an informer after neighbors saw her help a wounded British soldier. McConville's disappearance emerged as one of the most notorious killings of the Troubles—a deeply traumatic period in Irish history defined by sectarian tensions between Protestants and Catholics. Over the course of the Troubles, Seamus Heaney traces his own poetic cartographies, bridging the imagined and real landscapes that connect the work of representation and commemoration in Northern Irish poetry. Following a renewed interest in McConville's case, this article brings together analysis of popular culture and contemporary poetry and shows Heaney's particular investment in representing the personal and political complexity of the period. This article argues that Heaney's poems map Jean McConville's journey to the grave and back again, enabling readers to see how this poetic remapping of McConville's disappearance has been tied to the fate of a nation, both during the troubles and in post-reconciliation Northern Ireland.

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