Higgins praises Brendan Kennelly’s contribution to Irish life

Retired Trinity academic and poet receives inaugural Kerry association arts award

Poet Brendan Kennelly has been presented with the Kerry Association in Dublin's inaugural arts award by President Michael D Higgins.

“In his public readings in towns all around this island he both restored poetry to the lives of those descended from a rich culture and removed barriers between the senses and literature,’’ the President said at the presentation in Dublin.

Kerry Association chairperson Leesha Duffy described the poet and retired Trinity College academic as "a national treasure''.

Mr Kennelly, a native of Ballylongford, was chosen by a committee chaired by former minister for the arts Jimmy Deenihan.


Mr Higgins said it could be no surprise that Mr Kennelly had been chosen as the first recipient of the award.

Admired poet

“Brendan has lived, of course, for very many years in Dublin as a highly esteemed professor of modern literature at Trinity College as well as a much admired poet,” he said.

“Brendan’s has been a familiar and cheerful presence in our city centre streets, an experience he has beautifully evoked in his writing, as he captured the many shades and moods of this ever-changing place that became his adopted home.’’

Ms Duffy said the association was honoured that such a distinguished Kerry man was the first recipient of the award.

She said the annual award would recognise excellence in the visual and performing arts by someone who was either born in Kerry or had spent a significant part of their life in the county.

Michael O'Regan

Michael O'Regan

Michael O’Regan is a former parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times