Seamus Heaney, the Derry born Nobel laureate has donated his literary papers to the National Library of Ireland.

The collection, which includes early drafts of some of his most famous words, manuscripts, and rewrites and 16 bound notebooks, is expected to be open to the public in the near future.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny received the papers on behalf of the nation at a ceremony in the Reading Room of the library. Honoring Heaney, whom he described as "a visionary" and "a patriot", Kenny said the poet was "one of the world’s foremost word sculptors".

"Two weeks ago, Dr Heaney, you spoke of your friend Ted Hughes as being visionary and patriotic. You called him a poet of England. Today, this nation and its people’s library are honoured to receive the literary archive of another visionary and patriot. This time the poet is of Ireland," Kenny said.

Dr Heaney (72) said he was delighted to donate the documents and told the crowd he was overwhelmed by the ‘majesty’ of the Prime Minister’s address.
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"It is a privilege and an honor to have my own worksheets, drafts, manuscripts and typescripts in our National Library, joining the great writers of the past and present who have also contributed. It is all part of a written, human chain.

"And it is a happiness to feel no regret at the removal of the stuff from the house. Rather, it is a cause for gratitude and pride," he said.

National Library of Ireland director, Fiona Ross, said the documents would be of huge interest to the 200,000 people who visit the library as well as the one million online visitors the institution attracts.

“It is likely to attract many researchers, cultural tourists and other visitors to Dublin for many years to come. The library is proud to become a centre for Heaney scholarship and we look forward to making this collection available to scholars and researchers from all over the world," she said