Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, one of the few poets writing exclusively in Irish, received the £10,000 American Ireland Fund Literary Award at a ceremony held at the American Ambassador's residence in the Phoenix Park, Dublin.
Established in 1972 the annual award is for those who have enriched the literary heritage of Ireland. Previous winner poet Seamus Heaney and author and chairman of the award committee Tom Flanagan were among those who attended the ceremony.
Although one of the most distinguished living poets in the Irish language tradition, Ní Dhomhnaill has faced financial difficulties.
It's quite terrifying if you don't have a steady income and if you're depending on your writing, which is at the best of times a precarious existence, especially for a writer in Irish, almost doubly a precarious existence.
US Ambassador Richard Moore introduced Shane O'Neill, son of board member Thomas F O'Neill, who initially supported the award in 1972 made the presentation. Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill is thrilled to be the first recipient of the award to work solely in the Irish language but says that,
I'm also delighted because financially it saves my bacon.
An RTÉ News report by Fionnuala Sweeney broadcast on 9 August 1991.