Seamus Heaney was announced as the winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year on 25 January 2000. Earlier that month, he had won the poetry category of the award, which put him on the shortlist for the overall prize. His 2000 victory was for his version of the Anglo-Saxon epic poem 'Beowulf'. He had won the Whitbread Book of the Year before, for his 1996 collection 'The Spirit Level', and had won the 1987 Whitbread Poetry Award for 'The Haw Lantern'.

Colm Connolly investigates how popular Heaney's poetry really is in the RTÉ News report. Can the general population quote it as readily as political leaders like Bill Clinton and Mary McAleese? Theo Dorgan of Poetry Ireland shoots down suggestions of poetry as elitist.

An RTÉ News report from 25 January 2000.

Seamus Heaney