Seamus Heaney receives lifetime achievement award

Seamus Heaney Seamus Heaney received his award from the Irish president

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Seamus Heaney has been given a lifetime achievement award at the Bord Gais Irish Book Awards.

The Londonderry-born poet received the honour from Irish president and fellow poet, Michael D Higgins.

The Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award was in recognition of his contribution to Irish literature over the past six decades.

The poet continues to write after publishing his first collection of poems in 1966.

Mr Higgins said the former winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature "truly understands the Irish people and their historical landscape".

"By delving into the images and memories of a rural Irish childhood, he weaves a journey back to our future selves and the scenery of a few truths," he said.

Mr Heaney also had kind words for the newly-elected president describing him as the "president of the republic of conscience and president of the republic of letters".

In a pre-recorded video message, former US president Bill Clinton also described Mr Heaney as "one of the world's favourite poets" and praised his poetry as "a gift to the people of Ireland and to the world and a gift to me in difficult times".

He joked he had named his dog Seamus after the poet.

The awards took place in the RDS and were hosted by RTE's Claire Byrne.

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