IN life he was too modest to describe himself as anything other than a civil servant – but it was as a world-class poet that Dennis O'Driscoll was rightly lauded in death.
Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney – whose friendship with Mr O'Driscoll spanned almost 40 years – hailed his works as brave, bold and original – "a tonic response to a changing Ireland".
But for all the grief of his poems, he was capable of "wonderful merriment" – and of "righteous anger at corruption and injustice", Heaney said in a moving eulogy.
"His style was without airs but with many graces," he said.
In a private capacity as a friend and fellow poet, President Michael D Higgins attended the funeral Mass at the Church of Our Lady and St David in Naas, Co Kildare.
Through beautiful soaring violin music, Mr O'Driscoll's beloved plain chant and the steady flicker of candles, the New Year's Eve funeral Mass managed to capture the same sense of beauty that Mr O'Driscoll himself had achieved in the spare elegance of his works.
Mr O'Driscoll, who was born in Thurles, Co Tipperary in 1954, died unexpectedly last Thursday.