Tributes pour in after death of poet Cronin
President Michael D Higgins led the tributes to 'master of long poem' Anthony Cronin, after the literary genius died at the age of 88.
Cronin - a columnist for the Sunday Independent - was also a novelist, memoirist, biographer, critic and cultural activist.
Having spent time in hospital recently, he is understood to have returned home to his wife for Christmas, but died in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Cronin's legacy includes heavy involvement in the creation of 'Bloomsday' - a celebration of James Joyce - along with the highly acclaimed novel 'The Life of Riley'.
He also served as a cultural adviser to former taoiseach Charlie Haughey.
President Higgins said he was saddened at the passing of a friend.
"I have learned with great sorrow of the passing of Anthony Cronin, poet, novelist, biographer of Samuel Beckett, essayist and critic," Mr Higgins said.
"A master of the long poem and faithful to the scholarly tradition of understanding the poem, the poet and history, Anthony Cronin made an immense contribution to Irish life and sensibility."
The president also commended Cronin for his role in establishing the Aosdána - the Irish association of artists - in 1981. He became chairperson of the association in 1993.
Chair of the Arts Council Sheila Pratschke said Cronin was "a rare example of the public intellectual in Irish life".
"Appalled by the penury faced by so many senior Irish artists in their later years, he persuaded then taoiseach Charles Haughey, to whom he was cultural adviser, to establish Aosdána," she said.
Sunday Independent editor Cormac Bourke said the newspaper would be printing his final selection of poetry this weekend.
"Anthony Cronin was a poet and philosopher; he was an intellectual powerhouse of the 20th century," he said.
"One of the must influential culture figures in modern Ireland, he was a regular contributor to the Sunday Independent across three decades, including his popular weekly poetry column.
"We will be proud to publish his final selection for that column this Sunday.
"Our deepest condolences to his wife Anne and daughter Sarah - and his many colleagues and friends."
Arts Minister Heather Humphries commended Cronin's "cultural activism" in Ireland and his representation of artists.
"I was very sorry to hear today of the passing of Anthony Cronin," she said.
"Anthony loomed large in Ireland's cultural life, both as a prolific poet and an acclaimed author."