Renowned Irish poet Seamus Heaney has described a new professorship in his name at Trinity College Dublin as a great honour.
The Seamus Heaney Professorship in Irish Writing was announced on Friday and, when filled, is expected to become one of the country's most prestigious academic appointments.
"It was a great honour when Trinity proposed that my name should be associated with the new Professorship in Irish Writing," Heaney said.
The Nobel Laureate said he was particularly grateful the new post was named after him because of his high regard for the university's contribution to Irish writing.
"The gratitude I feel is all the greater because of my high regard for the work being done in Trinity's School of English, and my friendship over the years with the writers and scholars who have contributed to the study and practice of Irish writing," Heaney said.
The position, which is expected to be filled some time in 2013, will be funded by several of Trinity's major donors, who Heaney also thanked. "I greatly appreciate the generosity of the benefactors, which is clearly underpinned by their special interest in poetry," he added.
Provost of Trinity, Patrick Prendergast, made the announcement during a charity read-a-thon of John Milton's epic mythological poem Paradise Lost, which Heaney was taking part in at the university.
He described the new post as a significant event in writing in Ireland. "Trinity College Dublin is enhancing its extraordinary literary tradition with this new professorship," Dr Prendergast said.
While he was educated at Queen's University Belfast, Heaney has been an honorary fellow at the Dublin institution for around 14 years.
Other noted Irish poets and writers who attended Trinity, which is one of the oldest universities in the world dating back to the 16th century, include Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Jonathan Swift and Samuel Beckett.