President Michael D Higgins is among those leading tributes to Kerry poet Brendan Kennelly who has died at the age of 85.
Mr Kennelly, who was one of the Ireland's most acclaimed poets and who was a former professor of modern English at Trinity College Dublin, died yesterday evening at Aras Mhuire nursing home in Listowel. Brendan Kennelly was born in Ballylongford on April 17th, 1936 and studied at Trinity College where he wrote his PhD thesis.
He published more than 30 collections of poetry, was a popular broadcaster, and was also a talented Gaelic footballer. President Higgins praised Mr Kennelly for his "special charm, wit, energy and passion", and said, "As a poet, Brendan Kennelly had forged a special place in the affections of the Irish people".
Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley has also paid tribute saying Brendan was a proud Kerryman and giant of the world of literature. She said he was a wordsmith beyond compare blessed with a noble heart and infinite well of creativity and that many, many happy hours had been spent with her students studying his wonderful poems.
President Higgins also paid tribute to the poet Máire Mhac an tSaoi, whose death was also announced. One of the most important Irish language poets of the 20th century, she died on Saturday at the age of 99.
President Higgins said "she made a profound and distinctive contribution to our society in terms of literature, diplomacy and above all poetry."