Poet Seamus Heaney was on holiday in Greece with his wife Marie when the announcement was made that he had won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Blissfully unaware of all the excitement back home, Heaney only learned of his honour when he phoned home to speak to his son Christopher the following day.

He is still coming to terms with the news and finds the honour bewildering and incredible saying

It is an awesome dimension of a thing to have happened

Heaney agrees the award is a celebration not just for him, but for the whole country, building on the new mood generated by the Good Friday Agreement of 1994.

At a time like this his family and close friends are the ones he holds dear. The first people he phoned after speaking to his children Christopher, Michael and Catherine, were his siblings and friends in the North. He also contacted writers, artists and other friends who have provided him with a valuable sense of friendship and verification over the years.

When asked if there is a particular poem that springs to mind at this time, Heaney recites 'When all the others were away at Mass' an early memory of peeling potatoes with his mother. This is one of his most popular poems, and one he likes best himself.

An RTÉ News report by Tommie Gorman broadcast on 7 October 1995.