Dublin-born poet Harry Clifton has spoken of his surprise at being named as the new Ireland Professor of Poetry.
The 57-year-old was picked by a panel of top academics and arts figures for the role, which will see him deliver readings, workshops and university lectures.
Making the announcement at a special reception in Dublin, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said the honour was well-deserved.
"He is a most worthy champion of our country's long poetic tradition," Mr Cowen added.
"I would like to wish him every success during his tenure."
Clifton is the fifth person to take on the role as Professor of Poetry, replacing Belfast writer Michael Longley.
The award-winning poet, who is married to the Irish novelist Deirdre Madden, said the news was completely unexpected.
"To succeed Michael Longley, one of the most admired poets in the language itself, let alone the country, is especially wonderful," he added.
During his three-year tenure, Clifton will be attached to Trinity College, Queen's University in Belfast and University College Dublin in turn.
There is no obligation to compose any poetry, but holders are required to make three formal presentations and hold other informal workshops, lectures and public readings.