Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

Poet Seamus Heaney degree ‘a rare distinction’

Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney

Ireland's most celebrated living poet has described receiving an honorary degree from a leading Irish university as “a rare distinction”.

Nobel Laureate Dr Seamus Heaney was conferred with an honorary doctorate from Dublin City University (DCU) at a ceremony at St Patrick's College in Drumcondra yesterday.

The Derry-born poet was conferred with the award of doctor of philosophy by DCU president Brian MacCraith.

"The first thing to say is how much this degree means to me," Dr Heaney said. "The roll call of those previously conferred with honorary doctorates by DCU is an impressive one.

"It includes several names destined to be historical, so to have my name inscribed in that roll book is a rare distinction."

St Patrick's College president Dr Pauric Travers said Dr Heaney's acceptance of the award was welcomed by all those "who valued the arts, creativity and the imagination in education".

Considered by many as Ireland's elder statesman of poetry, Heaney was born in Bellaghy, Northern Ireland in 1939, the son of a farmer and the eldest of nine children.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1995, and has twice won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award. In 2007 he was awarded the prestigious TS Elliot prize for poetry for his collection 'District and Circle'.

He has lived in Dublin since the '70s and has spent regular periods teaching in the US, most notably at Harvard University.

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